By William Markiewicz

Animal societies, squeezed between instinct and the fight for survival, maintain their perfect equilibrium. We, humans, pay a price for being on a superior evolutionary scale by using philosophies and creeds to build and destroy our societies through trial and error. The result is, as Marx expressed it, that History constantly alternates between tragedy and farce.

Some examples of life under Communism:

1) I went to a bar. There were a few clients standing along the counter. I asked, "Where is the bartender?" A customer, guessing that I was a foreigner, replied, "Oh sir, it's not those times any more!" -- "Where do I order my drink?" They pointed to the far end of the room where several people were waiting and I joined them. Finally a serving window slid open and a big tray of glasses appeared, filled with totally flat beer; who knows how long they'd been standing. The window closed and a battle for the glasses started among us. One woman grabbed my wrist, trying to get my glass, but I held on. It was one of the most delicious beers I've had despite its flatness. I put my empty glass back on the tray and now the next question arose: who should I pay, and how much? The people around had disappeared. I was in a dilemma not knowing local customs. I didn't want to just leave and risk conflict with the police. So, I stood and waited until finally I left some money on the tray not knowing if it was too much or not enough, hoping for the best.

2) I sat at a table in a self-service cafeteria. There was a napkin holder but no napkins. The conscientious manager, in order not to leave it empty, filled it with pieces of cardboard, roughly napkin-size. Of course nobody could wipe his hands with them, but you could, eventually, scratch your itch.

3) In a big industrial complex, an open area was filled with crates undoubtedly brought by helicopter. They were unlabelled and the contents must have been heavy because the crates were embedded in the soft earth. Time passed and they continued to sink until they finally disappeared into the ground. At some point, bulldozers covered the area with gravel. The crates probably remain buried up to this day and nobody was ever preoccupied with what was inside.

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