Rufus is a person that I have known for many years. He has a mixed Jewish-Italian heritage. His father is Jewish and mother Catholic. He is lost somewhere in between that...
His real name is not Rufus of course; this is something that only I call him, as he is a spitting image of the character 'Rufus Rowling' that appeared in the film The Minority Report. Rufus was the owner of the virtual reality pleasure dome where Chief Anderton (Tom Cruise) brings Agatha, to extract the minority report that was stored in her head.
My friend Rufus, or sometimes I call him “Rufus-the-Dufus” when I am displeased with him, is actually a very smart person. He is very funny looking as well. By funny, I mean physically funny looking features consisting of a large head of curly hair that is always in a constant state of flux, large “boggly” eyes that are always moving in circles, and a large pointed nose.
His mother dropped him on his head (accidental like…) a couple of times when he was young. It is no joke, and consequently he is always telling people to feel the flat of his head. It is so flat that you could put a vase over it and it would remain there perfectly balanced. Even more astonishingly, Rufus is very happy to demonstrate this little fact to anyone.
The dent on his head has given him some extraordinary capabilities. For one thing, he can convert hexadecimal numbers into binary without even using a calculator, which is impressive. He can also write you a message in pure ASCII binary without having to look-up the ASCII table. In addition, he is an absolute genius with encryption and code breaking.
For his hobby, he is completely obsessed with The Enigma Machine. He saw a BBC2 documentary about it once and has never been the same since. He has all the books, manuals, blueprints, and can draw you a diagram of its circuit from memory. He is always obsessing over how 'they made a mistake in the design', and 'this is how they should have done it' - most of it is way over my head, but interesting nonetheless.
Rufus is also a genius in programming. He once showed me an Internet based program that he wrote to track his MP to find out what he was getting up to... It was impressive. It is amazing what these people get up to and how much they actually care about new start-up businesses... Rufus was quick to point out that the current people would not give a fig about helping someone like me.
Rufus knows quite a lot about some politicians, he has access to many computer networks. He was writing base programs for UNIX mainframes in the 1990s that is still in use today. It is amazing how people can appear so respectable during the day, holding down responsible jobs, and yet have very questionable past times and leisure activities... It would make your hair curl if you knew about some of them. It is probably why Rufus's hair is always so curly as well. :-)
He always wanted to study at Cambridge, but they turned him down, as his parents did not have the money to secure a place there. He was quite miffed about that for many years, and always reminds people that the sons of dictators can study at Cambridge but he -- Loved by all -- cannot.
He always uses the phrase "loved by all" when he is describing himself. It is also associated with a dramatic winning gesture with both hands up in the air as footballers make after a goal. I think it is part of his superiority complex make up, but I dare not question it for fear of causing offence.
I always tell him that he does not need a piece of paper to be considered clever, he has far more intelligence in his little finger than all the rich talent-less “toffs” put together... Besides, he has skills that decent intelligent people will always recognise. The only problem is that there are very few at the top!
Sometimes I think it is such a waste. If you do not have the right name, the right looks, the right colour, the right money, then the doors of opportunity remains closed no matter how talented you are. These inequities of life are more common in UK. However, a qualification is worthless if you can gain it only if you had the right amount of money.
If you were an athlete, you would want to compete with everyone in the world, before you called yourself ‘the fastest in the world’. If you were a boxer, you would want to compete with everyone in the world before you would call yourself the ‘world champion’. More importantly, the competition must be open to the world, before the winner can call himself or herself a world champion.
Many articles on this site mentions Rufus hence I figured it was time to write a blog piece about him, and at some point, I will add a photograph of him as well if I can obtain permission.