A posthumous interview with Albert Einstein
Heavily laden with the earth-shattering events of the past week—SEC coaching announcements, the Egg Bowl, Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle (obviously a pseudonym for security purposes)—I sequestered myself on Sunday in my astrophysics lab behind my home, deep in Faulkner Woods.
I was having a blast, flipping the space-time continuum on its side and tying quarks and Higgs boson particles to it with sub-atomic vibrating strings, claimed by some (erroneously, I think) to be the building blocks of all matter. I cobbled together a miniature particle accelerator/collider out of an old bicycle tire and cap pistol in between episodes of Property Brothers on HGTV. The accelerator has since produced a steady stream of God particles, which I keep cool in an old Yeti ice chest out back. If you ever need any, just holler.
In an incredible coincidence, after I closed my lab for the night, I got a call from an old friend, Momo, with whom I had done a nickel in Angola. Momo died unexpectedly last year from injuries received in a limbo challenge in St. Barts. He heard I had been trying to break into the posthumous interview racket. Turns out he’s been spending a lot of time lately with Albert Einstein. With little warning, Momo put the Mensa Mensch on the phone. I asked the late genius if I could record our conversation. He said “ja wohl,” and off we went. Here are excerpts.
MH: Thank you for your time, Herr Einstein.
AE: Sure, you are welcome, young man. My spacetime is your spacetime.
MH: Herr Einstein, I was…
AE: Call me Bert. Everyone here does.
MH: All right, uh, Bert. Just exactly where are you now?
AE: In one of the many alternative universes spun from spacetime.
MH: Could you explain that to me? Is it like heaven?
AE: What size hat do you wear?
MH: Seven and seven-eighths.
AE: Then no, I cannot explain it to you. You would need at least fifty percent more brain to understand. Look at the size of this dome of mine. Size 12. Big, big brain. It’s still there in your United States in a museum near D.C., where they seem to have nothing but small brains running your government.
MH: This is a telephone interview, Bert. I cannot see your big head.
AE: Pity. Did you know I changed my hair?
MH: I did not know that. No more wild white hair sticking out everywhere?
AE: (Laughing) No, no. I was smoking a lot of, uh, well I was going through a hippie stage when all those photos were taken. I wear a big pompadour now, very smooth. Like Joel Osteen with white hair. You would not recognize me.
MH: That explains why there are so many photographs of you with your pipe?
AE: Ja. How did you think I could come up with my theory of general relativity, in which I concluded that gravity warps space and time in the cosmos? I was so loaded. That train speeding past with people moving inside…man-oh-man.
MH: Momo suggested I ask you about the rock band you put together back in the day. I’ve read about your life but never saw any mention of your musical adventures.
AE: We were called The Emcee Toos. That was so much fun. Just a bunch of quantum shade tree mechanics jamming on weekends. Heisenberg played accordion and Schrodinger was on drums. We did a syncopated oompah number we titled “Unified Theory” that went to the top of the charts. I wrote a waltz I called “The Singularity” that I had high hopes for, but when we released the single, it just kind of blew up on us. How do you say it? With a bang?
MH: Your theories led to the creation of the first atomic bomb. Any regrets about that?
AE: Ach du lieber! Many, of course, but one that bothers me most—please tell your people it is pronounced “nook-lee-er” and not “nook-you-ler.”
MH: Will do, Bert. Thanks for talking.
AE: You bet. Gott mit uns.
I ended the call and looked up Bert’s last comment in my German language OED. Best I can tell, I think it means “Don’t forget your gloves.” I don’t think it’s cold enough for my mittens, but I guess he does. Just goes to show you how everything is relative.