Friday, May 25, 2007

Albert, Dance Around!

This afternoon my youngest is playing the part of Albert Einstein for a school project. He's had to research Einstein's background, put together a costume, prepare and memorize a speech about the man. There's nothing like a grade-schooler with white hair and pants yanked up to his chest. It's a nice look.

Last night after the ballgame (good guys won, yay for us), we were having ice cream and he was describing the project to some of his friend's parents. He talked about Einstein's life, where he grew up, where he died. One of them, half-jokingly, asked, "What do you know about the science?"

"Not very much," he answered, and then gave a reasonably correct explanation of why force equals mass times acceleration. Assuming I understand the concept well enough to judge.

Holy crap! I think. He's a genius! My nurturing's paid off. I'm the best parent ever!

Then he dropped half his cone down the front of his shirt. Easy come, easy go.

Anyway, I've been trying to help him with the presentation. For example, I just told him the other day, "I bet you weren't aware that Einstein wrote music."

"Really?" he asked, though warily.

"Sure. You know how he played violin, right? Well, he used to like to write music to play with his friends. That Avril Lavigne song, 'Girlfriend'? Einstein wrote that. She's just doing a cover version."

His head starts shaking.

"He did a lot of other cool things too. He loved to collect string. In fact, he had one of the largest balls of string in the world. That's why physicists talk about string theory. It's the theory that nothing can be bigger than Einstein's string ball."

His eyes begin to glaze. "That's not true," he says.

"Sure it is," I reply. "A lot of this stuff doesn't get into normal textbooks. That's why you're lucky to have a dad who knows so much."

He begins humming to himself, a tuneless, desperate noise.

"Quantum mechanics," I say. "That's another thing many people don't understand. There are these special spaceships called quantums that can fly faster than the speed of light. Einstein invented the tools the mechanics use to repair them. If you study very hard in school, you can be a quantum mechanic when you grow up."

The humming gets louder. Our dog Katie comes downstairs to see what's wrong. He clutches her around the neck and begins talking to her.

"Albert was also an animal lover," I note. "He had a ranch in Wyoming."

The boy looks at me for the first time in a few minutes. "He lived in New Jersey."

"Yes. New Jersey's in Wyoming. Remember when we went to Yellowstone when you were little? We stayed in Trenton."

He's back to talking to the dog.

"This ranch he had in Wyoming," I continue. "That's where he built his ark. Have you ever seen pictures of Moses? Looks just like Einstein, doesn't he? That's because they're the same person. 'Moses' is Hebrew for Einstein. It's all in the Bible. You can look it up."

He gets up to leave and Katie gets up too. They walk upstairs together. "Mom," I hear, "he's doing it again!"

"Just ignore him," my Lovely Bride tells him. "There's something wrong with him."

I turn on the television, tune in to the Discovery Channel. There's a whole world of science left to learn.


10 comments:

Kathleen said...

you have no idea how many crazy lies my dad told me that I believed until college.

billy pilgrim said...

Yea.

Lucky for the Snaglet that his pop's pretty much right all the way down the line.

Oh, and Einstein had a TV show. Called "Oh, that Albert!" most of the episodes revolved around his Crazy Neighbor, Turing, who'd disrupt the space-time continuum somehow and Albert would have to intervene to prevent the destruction of all creation. His signature move was to grab his hair in his fists and pull on it when exasperated, thus the hairdo.

BTW, you may be wrong about Wyoming. Last time I went to Canada, I stayed near Trenton.

Jennifer said...

My father stole Victor Borga's line about being 7 when he was born. I believed him. I told my 2nd grade class. I still feel the humiliation. :(

billy pilgrim said...

And now, Jennifer, you've misspelled Victor Borge's name.

Oh, the shame....

Pinko Punko said...

I know I got caught with something or other, but I can't remember the lie. I am still embarrassed and I can't think of what it is. Dad lies of this sort are OK, but the worst are the ones munchwad college campus tour guides tell the froshes. First of all, you are already the second lowest form of life if that is your job, because you should be telling the new students how much everything SUCKS and not how awesome it is.

Mandos said...

Why? I had a reasonably good experience as an undergrad.

Jennifer said...

Damn... I knew it the minute I clicked submit. Grrrr. I figured no one would NOTICE!@!!1.

The spelling portion of my brain used to be top notch. It's getting smaller every day... just the size of a raisin now... a raisin that was 7 when it was born. :)

Snag said...

Billy, don't forget that Canada's a suburb of Wyoming. That could explain the confusion.

PP must have fallen for the "free pizza and hot babes" line.

Righteous Bubba said...

I once convinced an adult that grapefruit explodes if left on trees too long and that's why people hired illegal aliens to pick them.

Your kid should be commended for ignoring you, and you can tell him so if he's listening.

Pinko Punko said...

No, these were the stupid lies- the "revolving restaurant on top of the chemisty building and the law library giant aquarium"- that kind of bullshit. I didn't fall for any of it. I just looked at the cobags realizing that there are two kinds of people in this world, chundernozzles and me.