Benji is seven months old. Mischievous, fearless and surprisingly, faster than Murray. The two dogs were having fun in the park, frolicking, sparring and humping each other. Their obvious delirious attraction and enthusiasm for each other, chasing and licking each other on their first meeting was the kind of innocent joy that I have not felt for a very long time. Benji’s owner smiled at me as she disengaged herself from her phone and terminated her conversation with the person at the other end of the line. A telephone line will be a thing of the past in a few more years, I thought.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink will be the disruptive technology that ultimately spells the end of phone companies such as Apple and Samsung. Neuralink is poised to undergo a human trial to study the effectiveness of their brain implant as an interface with our brain. The goal is for the brain to communicate directly with our computers. Children in the future will no longer need to study the subjects we used to learn in school, since all knowledge will be available not at their fingertips but at the tips of their synapses via this implant.
As if the goal of bypassing damaged spinal nerves via his chip isn’t enough to enable quadriplegics and paraplegics to control their body movements, Elon Musk reckons his chip will one day also control the brain’s hypothalamus to control appetite and therefore morbid obesity.
“You’re the owner of the dog?” Benji’s owner asked.
A nice opening line, I reminded myself to use that in the future. She was youngish-looking and rather attractive. I should confess I find most blondes attractive. I almost stared at her, but was quick enough and turned my eyes skywards to avoid embarrassing myself. Arrested by her beauty, the balance in my universe was disturbed momentarily as I stumbled on my own words.
“Er, who, yes, he is mine,” I said absent-mindedly before realising I mis-spoke.
“Er, no. I mean, he is my son’s dog,” I corrected myself.
“His name is Murray, from Murray Bridge,” I said.
“Isn’t it strange how we end up looking after someone else’s dog?” she replied, and informed me Benji was her son’s dog.
“But, Murray is my pal, he is never an inconvenience,” I defended him.
“Besides, he treats me like I am his owner!” I added.
“He honours me like I am his owner,” I beamed with pride as I made that irrefutable fact known to her.
Murray does honour me like his owner. In his eyes, I am blameless. He was doing the downward-dog pose whenever he leapt off my lap the other day. Unusual, I thought. Later that afternoon, I found out why. He wasn’t his usual excited self when I showed him the leash and teased him, “Wanna go to the park?” His eyes did not light up, and he did not jump up to grab the leash with his teeth. Anyway, I sort-of had to drag him to the reserve across the street which he treats as his toilet. After that, we would habitually embark on an hour’s walk to anywhere he fancied. But, no. He dragged me straight home instead. “No? You don’t want to go for a walk?” I asked incredulously. It didn’t take me long to realise Murray had abdominal pain. He had his tail between his legs as he insisted we crossed the street back to the house. He did not whimper even as he suffered many bouts of diarrhea that evening. First Son asked accusingly when he came to pick up Murray, “What did you feed him?!” Murray did not accuse me, not even once. I am blameless, that is how he honours me.
Her phone rang, quite loudly, at the most inopportune time as I was about to pat Benji. As she picked up her phone and began to start another conversation, I knew our conversation had ended before I had the chance to talk about Elon Musk’s chip. Yeah, that is the nature of my conversations with beautiful strangers, from dog ownerships to neurological chips in one sentence.
Talking about owners and honouring them, I must not forget to mention the owner of the house next door to me. They normally reside in Malaysia and only visit Adelaide once in a blue moon. Infrequently here, they have unknowingly allowed me the total enjoyment of their garden without their explicit permission. Tasked with looking after their garden during their long absence which was annoyingly extended by the pandemic, I had become somewhat possessive of it. When The Lady said she knew the garden like the back of her hand, I gave myself a loud chuckle. She may think she knew it so intimately but she did not. I know her garden like the back of my hand, I corrected her sentence, without communicating it to her.
I was initially excited by The Bloke’s enthusiasm to improve their garden’s lighting. During the lockdowns, he was stuck at home in Kuala Lumpur. So, he surfed the internet and went shopping for all sorts of gadgets for their garden there. Electronic door locks and garden lighting caught his attention. Night lights create a nice mood in any garden, and in theirs, they surely accentuate the beauty of the landscaping and choice of plants. But, horrors! The Bloke told me he had trimmed off much of the undergrowth and a lot of the young branches of shrubs that had blocked the beams of light now emitting from the newly installed spotlights. Personally, my preference is for the lights to create a mood rather than brighten the garden like a tennis court, but hey, I gotta honour the owner! He is the owner, he can very well do whatever to the garden as he pleases, and if a shrub displeases him, he has every right to just destroy its existence. I will refrain from arguing with him that the plant will suffer unnecessary trauma! But, when I discovered where he had conveniently dumped the cuttings, I felt the plants’ pain too. The Bloke had piled up the unsightly garden refuse in a back corner, unknowingly burying my precious turmeric plant that is doing poorly as the nights start to turn cold.
“Hush, honour the owner,” I reminded myself.
“Honour the owner,” I reminded The Mrs again and again weeks ago.
It is their garden. Although The Mrs and her sister get along really well, it is only proper that we respect them as the owner of the garden, and thus “we must constantly remind ourselves of that,” I said to The Mrs. But, The Mrs loves persimmons, especially the ones that are slightly astringent, oblivious of The Lady’s and The Bloke’s repeated statements that they prefer ripe ones. “We like it sweet,” they said again and again. The Mrs, somewhat hard of hearing, did not stop harvesting a handful each day. “Yum, I love these crunchy ones,” she said as she walked past her sister. The following day, the plant was totally bare of fruits. The Lady wisely harvested them all before the possums and her sister did. Honour the owner, I pretended not to know that there was a competition for persimmons that day.
The Bloke caught the bug for keyless entry systems for his house in KL a few months ago. You know the ones, biometric readers such as facial recognition, retina scans or fingerprint readers, some with built-in alarm systems. I was a little worried that he would bring a few sets for his house here also. The Federation-style house here does not lend itself to modern gadgets for the doors. I mean, have you seen the monstrosity of the Made-in-China gadgets? They are cold and hard and bulky, in contrast to the warmth and inviting looks of his beautiful timber door. Honour the owner. Honour the owner! “Do not mention they would look horrible on his door,” I reminded myself.
Honour the owner, I reminded myself again today. Crypto owners across the globe have been decimated these past weeks. The gurus I follow still front up on their Youtube channels daily, looking stoic and with brave faces and strong voices, continue to preach the goodness of Bitcoin. Some have proven their honesty by confessing they have lost huge sums of money, “equivalent to the value of a house,” George of Cryptosrus said. Luckily for me, I focus on learning about Bitcoin only, whenever they stray into ‘degen’ mode, I turn off. The most erudite Bitcoin maximalist, Michael Saylor, continues to ‘hodl’ and imagine Bitcoin becoming the only money worth anything. The young ‘degens’ harped about the Terra blockchain and its crypto coin Luna, and the stable coin it powers, TerraUSD, for many weeks. During that short time, I watched the Luna price go up from $35 to almost $120 just a few weeks ago. “High risks, high returns,” I observed without a tinge of regret of missing out. The last time I checked, the Terra blockchain has been halted, and the Luna price is worth maybe 2 cents. Phew, do I not regret missing out! Another headline boldly claims, ‘Bitcoin is dead’. But then, we have had over 400 Bitcoin obituaries in its short history. “Honour the owner,” I reminded The Mrs. There is no need to criticise their decision-making. There is no need to mock their philosophy about real money and fiat money. There is enough blood on the streets all over the world. “Will Bitcoin become worthless?” The Mrs asked. Hoping that she had not heard Warren Buffet’s attitude towards Bitcoin, I firmly said “NO!” The best investment guru of all time, the nonagenarian recently said he would not pay $25 for all the Bitcoin in the world. I did not dare share my thoughts with her. If someone can attack the UST stable coin, causing a manic panic that destroyed it in four days, much like a run on a bank that killed off the British bank Northern Rock and Bear Sterns in 2008, then that someone can also wreck much damage to the King of all crypto coins. It has not escaped my mind that there is a high probability that the IMF and central banks could easily print money at zero cost, buy Bitcoin over the counter, (OTC transactions do not affect the price) and dump the coin via the exchanges at vastly lower prices causing a rout to the crypto market. Will Bitcoin become zero? Honour the owner, do not frighten them. Do not frighten The Mrs!