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Conversation with a Leg

Felix Dennis
January 9, 2003
Mandalay, Mustique
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‘So did you think great thoughts today, my dear?
    Now put away that nasty pipe and sit.’
He sat, removed a pencil from his ear
    And slipped away his only vice, unlit.

‘No, no great thoughts! — but Bucky just came by.
    They granted us our patent.’ ‘Well, that’s nice.’
She looked up from the bed and caught his eye:
    ‘Perhaps I’ll take some snaps of paradise —

I’m dying, Albert.  Get that in your head!
    Your silly toys can wait — until I’ve died.’
‘I’m looking for a miracle,’ he said.
    ‘The mirror is behind you,’ she replied.

In the summer of 1936 Albert Einstein and his friend Dr. Gustav Bucky were granted patent No. 2050562 from the U.S. Patent Office for an ‘automatic camera’.  Einstein’s second wife, Elsa, was already bedridden.  She died a few months later.  Their marriage had not been without difficulties but her loyalty to the great man was absolute.  She worried constantly about his inability to deal with the ‘real world’ and generally treated the most outstanding intellect of the 20th century as recalcitrant child.  Following her death Einstein wrote to fellow scientist, Max Born: “I think I’ve lost a leg.  It was a little crippled.  I limped a bit on that leg, but I’ve still lost a leg.”