The Corner

Gremlins

Why gadgets won’t work for me, explained by a reader:

“Derb—[Quoting me] ‘Now, I’m not a big gadget freak. I have problems with

technology. Things don’t work for me.’

“You are a mathematician – and a pure one at that – so that’s why gadgets

won’t work for you!

“Did you ever hear the story about Wolfgang Pauli (I believe it was Pauli)?

The story has it that some important experiment was being done in Berlin by

a several competent German experimental physicists (can’t recall their names

at the moment) but it just wouldn’t work for them at that particular moment.

Eventually, the experiment did work, and yet they were unable to find out

why it failed in the first place. Some time later, they learned that Pauli

had been traveling through Berlin on a train at the moment, so they then

discovered why it had failed – a theoretician was in the vicinity!

“Moral of the story? Keep those abstract thinkers locked up in a

comfortable room located a safe distance away with plenty of paper, books,

food, and whatever else they may need to keep them reasonably happy!”

Thanks, guy. It’s not just gadgets that don’t work for me. Lots of thing

don’t. Glue, for example. I don’t think I have ever in my life succeeded

in gluing two things together with any permanence.

Oh, just give me the paper, books, food, and stuff, and shut me up in a

cozy, full-tech-equipped, wired-up, sheet-rocked, fully-finished, book-lined

attic room UTTERLY UNLIKE ANY IN MY OWN HOUSE.

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