[Ed. Note: Dr. KSS writes about medicine and biotech stocks for the Irregulars. He has agreed to our trading restrictions, and his words and opinions are his own. You can see all of his past articles here. Enjoy!]
Do you have quirky, enigmatic notions that hang with you? Douglas Hofstadter, writing in Godel, Escher and Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, recalls how as a child, he was obsessed with the number three, how it seemed magically imbued to him, and perfect. He would obsess for hours on end about the number three operating on the number three, as in 3 x 3, or 3 divided by 3. I confess to having had the same obsession in elementary school, and sometimes felt as if three acting on itself was an intimation of divinity.
I have always had a similar fixation on three iterations of the letter C or its sound. C is our alphabet’s third letter. In an episode of the overworn Gilligan’s Island, Ginger is being seductive to Gilligan: “Oh Gilligan, si, si, si.” You’ve seen me perseverate about cccDNA from hepatitis B. When I traveled in Russia, I bought an old piece of party insignia, the sort of thing one might pin to a jacket, on which was emblazoned “CCCP,” the abbreviation in Cyrillic letters for the old U.S.S.R. (“I’m back in the CCCP, you don’t know how lucky you be….”). When we learned about him in school, I used to speak of “Saint Francis of Asisisi.” My father was a cinematographer, and we always had films at home that I screened in a projection room growing up. On a favorite reel, during the SMPTE countdown leader on the film that ran through just before the film began, someone had etched “ccc” into a frame at the end of the leader…cryptic, enigmatic, its intent never apparent. My maternal grandfather worked one summer in the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps. When I lived in Taipei, I became friends with a doctor for whom the initials of the three syllables of his transliterated name were CCC. In The Hunting of the Snark, Lewis Carroll writes, “What I tell you three times is true,” thus a certain mystical sense I had that saying “CCC” aloud summons certain cherubim. Neurotical thinking along these lines may be what Leonard Cohen alludes to when he sings, in “Broken Hallelujah,” “I heard there was a secret chord, that ...
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