Derivatives in the Wilderness

Derivatives in the Wilderness

Zenas Leonard Albertson had no earthly interest in the interests of the earth.

That is to say to live meekly and dutifully from the bounty of the earth in pursuit of natural treasures, as his namesake did more than a century prior. No, Zenas Leonard Albertson shared but one connection with Zenas Leonard, his name. It was not of his choosing. His father, Morris Albertson, saddled Zenas with the moniker in honor of the legendary fur trapper and mountain man of the early 19th century. Morris fancied himself a mountain man, at least after being widowed. This pursuit gave him solace. it gave him escape from his linear world and the loss of his wife during childbirth.

Morris Albertson was a man of numbers, calculations and derivatives. He was an accountant, to say it more succinctly, A profession Zenas Leonard Albertson inherited, albeit indirectly. Both Senior and Junior Albertson found employ in the fiscal stable of the 2nd largest accounting firm in Pennsylvania, some decades apart. With offices in Pittsburgh and DuBois, their firm was well known in the Pennsylvania accounting community as a behemoth with a heart. The latter locale was home not only to the Albertson clan, but also the birthplace of one Zenas Leonard, fur trader and mountain man.

Zenas Leonard Albertson earned his keep in the company in spite of his father, and had progressed to the admirable title of Associate Director of Clearfield County Operations. His business card was impressively long, with his name gilded in font, a pleasure normally reserved for only a full Director. It was a clerical error in processing, not worth the effort and cost to resolve.

Morris Albertson had once been Managing Director of Clearfield County Operations, a title since retired. He was perhaps the most diligent, focused young executive in the firm, destined some had said for exaltation as a future Vice President. Morris Albertson was in truth a terrible Manager, and had not the soft underbelly of corruption fit for a Vice President. Morris was however a mathematical savant. His rigid thought process produced extraordinary work in both accuracy and speed.

Morris Albertson made a name for himself by calculating derivatives in his head that required reams of paper from three man teams. He was an aficionado of the exercise in fact. The company staged internal events that would pit Morris against small sub-departments in calculation races. His record in such contests was sterling.

Each team was given the customary tools - calculators, indexes, reference books and reams of white paper for manual tabulation. Morris used his paper to write explanations in scathing detail of derivative notation practices. He needed something to pass the time while waiting for his opponents to finish.

Leibniz, LaGrange, Newton, Euler - Morris Albertson had mastered each methodology. In fact, it was quite simple to master, A trait his colleagues perpetually bore against him. His knowledge of the subject was instinctual, his capacity for comprehension sponge like.

Socially speaking Morris was inept. He simply was not wired to be a leader of men or interesting at parties. He despised parties and attended only as a result of insistence. He rarely spoke in his own meetings. Morris lead through silent action, a technique which proved difficult to reconcile with the mentoring requirements of a Managing Director. He was a poor Director actually. But his mind was too valuable to be lost to the competition, so he was as such promoted summarily through the ranks.

At the tender age of 47 Morris Albertson became a father, and also a widow. His wife, the dear Ellen Anne Albertson bled to death as their only child entered the world. Morris was nonplussed, almost to the point of being stoic. Truth be told Morris had little interest in offspring, it was Ellen Anne that vehemently sought a child. Morris was a fine provider, and a decent man, but affection and love were rare missives from his cache of numerology. Ellen was lonely. Morris coalesced to her need. A boy was born. A woman died. A zero sum equation anything but tidy.

Continue reading