j robert oppenheimer thought isaac newton was his best friend.
one day he met isaac walking down a country road under a cloudy sky, and he said to him,
did you hear what that ass jean-jacques rouseau said the other day at madame ogleby’s afternoon tea?
isaac newton fairly bristled. do you realize that you are speaking of my best friend, sir?
what! rousseau your best friend? but i thought that i, j robert oppemheimer, was your best friend!
not a bit of it! you are sadly mistaken, my good man. i have always regarded you as an abject mediocrity, and a cunning backstabber, not to be trusted in a mixed gathering, or indeed in any gathering.
j robert oppenheimer was crushed, and on the verge of tears.
how could i have been so wrong, he cried.
at this point isaac newton took a bit of pity on j robert oppenheimer. are you familiar with the recent researches of professor sloth-juggernaut? he asked.
why no, i am not. in fact, i have to confess i have never been aware of that personage’s existence.
he has published a most interesting paper on the subject of memory, speculating that there is really no such thing, and that virtually all so called memories, at least among humans, who are so far the only species who have been tested with any rigor, are no more than collective dreams or fantasies.
interesting! and where might i peruse the details his most singular hypothesis?
i am not sure. but professor sloth-juggernaut is delivering a lecture on his subject next tuesday evening, at joe’s elite coffeehouse, down the street from city hall, if you care to attend.
thank you. i just might do that.
all human brains are connected by an invisible thread, professor sloth-juggernaut began his talk to his rapt audience, but the threads are fragile and easily frayed. this is why some things are truer than others.
this is why certain events, like jonah being swallowed by the whale, or columbus discovering america, or napoleon losing the battle of waterloo, or lincoln freeing the slaves, or that dirty little coward bob ford shooting jesse james in the back, or the bombing of pearl harbor, which are known to a large number of people, can be considered to be more or less true. on the other hand, something which is only known to one person, such as whether you put blueberry jam or strawberry jam on your piece of toast in the morning, is easily forgotten or misremembered, and so there is little possibility of its being true in any sense.
at this point j robert oppenheimer raised his hand. may i ask a question?
certainly, sir. what is your question?
who am i?
who do you think you are?
i am j robert oppenheimer, of 457 maple st, apartment 6-c, the bronx.
do you have a wallet with you?
j robert oppenheimer felt in his back pocket. yes, i do.
take it out and look in it. is there some form of i d in it, such as a drivers license or a pilot’s license or a hairdresser’s license?
yes, there is.
and what does it say?
it says that i am theodore roosevelt, of 105 winding way, westchester, new york.
there you have it. any other questions? yes, madam?
i had a baby thirty years ago and left it in a basket outside a fire station. now i see this fellow on tv running for president or mayor or something and i am sure it is my child. what should i do?
hmm, that is a tricky one. you might need a private consultation. see me after the presentation is over.
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