Wednesday, April 06, 2011

844 An Open Letter to Al

844 An Open Letter to Al:

We’re fast approaching the anniversary of Albert Einstein’s death, April 18, 1976. Since it’s unlikely that he reads his mail these days, we’ll send it to your eyes, instead.

Dear Dr. Einstein,

Some of us are a little concerned about your well being, even though you’ve been dead for going onto 56 years. Lately, people have started to notice you, probably in a way that would either tickle you or anger you.

Even though your theories of relativity are each more than 100 years old, people still study them. Most of us have no clue about what you said back then. But we know YOU, or at least we know pictures and cartoons of you.

The custodian of your estate, Hebrew University of Jerusalem is raking in bucks in return for renting you out as pitchman for soft drinks, cable channels, watches, computers and t-shirts.

The school says it earns over one million dollars a year in fees from use of your name and likeness. Dead as you are, you have become one of the universities most generous and reliable donors.

As dead celebrity earners go, you’re no Elvis, John Lennon or Sinatra. But still, what you bring in is a decent amount.

So, would all this attention please you? Or would it honk you off? It’s no secret you were unhappy with your fame while living and you said so on more than one occasion, taking sharp-tongued aim at all the folderol generated by newspapers and magazines. Fortunately for you and for the people who thought as you do about public attention, you missed the media storm that was gathering about the time you died and has since grown to hurricane strength.

But if you think newspapers were loud, you should only hear what 500 channels of television, another 500 of radio, plus the internet can do in the decibel department.

Some of the hyper- and uber- academics look down their noses at these seemingly frivolous product endorsements. Pay them no mind. They’re just jealous. Almost no one knows them by name. Few of them have made an Einsteinian-size contribution to knowledge. Their names aren’t household words if they’re known at all.

Today, you’d be psychoanalyzed from a distance. You’d be castigated for your hair do, your fashion sense and your violin playing.

In some ways it’s better to be a photo, a cartoon or a label.

Shrapnel (Premium edition):

--Followup to Wessay™ 843, “Opting In-Opting Out: Apparently this space has started a small wave of Opters-out from Verizon’s “Premium Messages” “service.” Glad to be of help, folks, and thanks for the kind words.

--Actually, the board of directors here was thinking about starting Premium Wessays.™ Going to double the price and not tell you. Oh, wait, $0 x 2 =$0... so never mind.

--We might all consider not buying anything with the word “premium” attached to it and that isn’t a saltine cracker. Overwork has killed the concept. Maybe decent words should unionize to improve the number of times each is called upon to exceed heavy lifting standards.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to
© WJR 2011

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