In Buddhism, the awakening of the young prince Siddhartha is said to have been triggered by "the four sights" he took in on his sojourn outside the palace, where he had for his first 29 years led a sheltered life of ease and luxury. The four sights were an old man, a diseased man, a corpse, and an ascetic. He was puzzled by all these, but his charioteer patiently answered his questions, setting him straight about much that is unpleasant, and Siddhartha was thus set on his way to establishing The Four Noble Truths and The Eightfold Path.
While doing a little banking today, I think I saw a 21st-century, western version of the first of the four sights. The bank has one of those coin-counting machines, and as I stood in the teller line I observed an elderly, stooped man work out a transaction with it. There was some pacing to and fro as he tried to determine what went where, but before I got to a teller, he had figured out where to pour in his coins--he carried them in a big plastic cup such as you might get a beer in at the ball game--and I could see on the machine's display that he had likely converted his cup of coins into a ten, a five, two ones, two quarters, a nickel, and three pennies.
Give me about five years.
Public service announcement for Minnesotans: if your property taxes aren't rolled into your mortgage payment, the first half is due tomorrow. Writing out that check reminds me that the new young energetic mayor of Minneapolis has not personally repaired all the potholes in East Forty-Second Street.