Occam's Razor

As you travel on through life, Brother, whatever be your goal,
keep your eye upon the donut, not upon the hole!
                        --Anonymous, and as seen at the Mayflower Coffee Shop, White Plains, NY

A few years back I got a listing above Barnes and Noble on Lower 5th Avenue. The B&N building had always been a favorite of mine since childhood. It was one of my stops when leaving my suburban sanctuary to visit NYC (along with the Museum of Natural History, F.A.O. Schwartz, and the Manhattan Chess Club where I remember getting trounced by Bobby Fischer, an intimidator of the first order who, just before the kill (actually about 6 moves before the kill) pointed to a piece and rhetorically ask "Why is this knight different from all other knights?" [sic...in more ways than one]). Also, my mother had worked for Mr. Barnes as a clerk and translator during World War II while pregnant with my sister. Twenty years later my sister returned as a young adult to work there with some of the same employees who had last "seen" her in lump form. Twenty-five years after that she returned again to see copies of her first book put on display. Evidently this building held great Karma for my family and now I had a chance to do my fifth sale there. Each unit is exceptional and my four previous sales there had gone off without a hitch--I was hoping number 5 would be no different.

A fellow broker who worked with her husband at the Corcoran Group had a son who was about to be married. Mom and Dad loved the apartment and thought it would be a great first home for the newlyweds. All went well until a couple of days before the contract signing. Then the buyer's brother, knowing there was a large restaurant across the street, said he thought there had to be a loud racket every morning around 4:00 AM when the garbage was being picked up. The buyer felt this would be unbearable and couldn't live there under such conditions. I asked if his brother had actually ever been around to hear the noise he was talking about. He said no, but they all assumed he was right.

When trying to move from theory to reality Occam's Razor states one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed, and this was one assumption ready to be converted from conjecture to a known truth. I asked the buyer and his fiancee what were their plans for 3:00 AM that coming morning, and they said to be asleep of course. I invited them to have a picnic in the apartment instead--the owners were no longer living there--and they agreed. So, that night we all returned to the apartment in the early hours (my wife brought lots of coffee, some donuts and other goodies) and the four of us sat there talking about marriage, information technology and doing renovations until the garbage trucks arrived. The noise simply proved to be negligible, and it was also agreed the cinnamon apple spice donuts were the best with the raised sugar glazed coming in a close second.