Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Einstein Speech

For as long as I can remember I've had a talent for ad libbing. I remember with particular fondness one incident in my youth. When I was in sixth grade my teacher, Mr. Malachowsky, asked me to give an impromptu speech on Einstein's theory of relativity. Knowing nothing of the subject I got up in front of the class and gave the following speech.

As Albert Einstein, the famous scientist and one of the many great Jews who have contributed so much to the weltanschauung of class 6-11, so rightly proclaimed, E=MC2. But what did he mean by that? It is not a matter easily understood by the undeveloped mind, so I ask you to listen closely, Mr. Malachowsky.

It is essential that we understand the terminology involved, so let us begin with the letter E. E is fifth letter of the alphabet. It is also the letter given to a vitamin reputed to heighten the libido, though my stepfather tells me this is merely an old wives' tale. What else can we say about E? That it's the fifth semitone of the C chromatic scale? That ought to be worth something. But let's move on. Next we come to the equal sign. Two parallel horizontal lines. Stop snickering, Mary Jo. Now, as Abraham Lincoln, whom my mother informs me also had Jewish blood, once said, "All men are created equal." Now that statement gave me pause when I first heard it because according to the rules of grammar drilled into me and many of my esteemed colleagues in this class by Mrs. Horstwessel, the she-wolf of the fourth grade, the proper phrase should be, "All men are created equally." But who am I to argue with a man in a top hat?

Let us review. We have the letter E, which is clearly Einstein's clever way of disguising what he really meant, which is the number five, or, if you believe old wives, heightened libido. And then we have the equal sign, which stands for all men. Contrast that with time and tide, which wait for no man. That Einstein was certainly a smart cookie.

Scanning from left to right the next cohesive unit we come across is the letter sequence MC. As I pondered that element of Einstein's famous equation I was convinced that I had stumbled upon the true soul of the matter, the poetry at its core, as it were. For aren't M and C the first two letters of the name McCormick? And didn't Miss Langostino tell us just last year, in this very building, that Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper? The reaper! Yes, the grim reaper, you reap what you sow. But shortly thereafter I realized the error in my reasoning. For the "c" in McCormick is lower case, whereas the "M" and the "C" in Einstein's equation are both upper case. So I returned to the drawing board and came up with another, more plausible, explanation for the letters MC--Master of Ceremonies! Now if any of you are unclear as to the meaning of Master of Ceremonies, I'd like you to think back to the Miss America pageant, which I know you all watched last week. Now I don't know about the rest of you, but I think Miss Tennessee should have won. She was gypped! She was definitely better than Miss Ohio. No contest. But that's neither here nor there. Remember that doofey guy who sang, "There she is, Miss America?" Well, that was Bert Parks, and he was the Master of Ceremonies--the MC.

So now all we have left is the squared. A square is a parallelogram with four sides of equal length and four right angles. I know this because my brother Harvey is in high school. But a square is something else too. A square can be a place, like Times Square, which is on 42nd Street. Stop snickering, Mary Jo. Times Square--a place with time in its name. Time and place, time and space--could Einstein have been thinking of Times Square? Perhaps, but I have another theory. Square is the opposite of hip. A square is someone who is not hip. And with that I thought I had solved the puzzle, except for one nagging detail, the number five. What could Einstein have meant by the number five? Everything else was so clear. For days I could think of nothing else. I was losing sleep, and this was adversely affecting my schoolwork. I had dropped back to third place in spelling bee, behind both Judy Kluger and Susan Lieberman. And then, one day, as I was trying to crack a jawbreaker, the answer came to me. If we discount the heightened libido theory of vitamin E, then we can subtract one from the number five, leaving us with four, which can be replaced with the homophone "for." And with that I had the solution to the true meaning of E=MC2:

"For all men, Bert Parks is not hip."


Blogger freddie said...

This is seven kinds of awesome.

11:07 AM  

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