The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

RSS feeds: v0.91; v1.0 (RDF); v2.0; Atom.

Previous entry. Next entry.

9:24am on Friday, 12th June, 2009:

One Away from Einstein


Pupils at public schools used to play a game (and may still do, for all I know) called "handshakes". The idea was to see if you could connect with some famous or historical figure through a chain of handshakes between individuals. One pupil would say, "the Duke of Wellington", and someone else might say "I can reach him in three", meaning they had shaken hands with someone who had shaken hands with someone who had shaken hands with someone who had shaken hands with the Duke of Wellington.

I can say is that I can reach Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in one, which has some kudos in gaming circles, and having shaken hands with Lord Puttnam once I'm one away from everyone he' s shaken hands with — but I don't know who they are. I can definitely reach Einstein in two (ie. I'm one away from him) because I shook hands with my Physics tutor at Essex, Lachlan Mackinnon, who had shaken hands with Einstein 25 years earlier while visiting Princeton (a fact that emerged on the 24th anniversary of Einstein's death, which he seemed to think was the 25th anniversary).

Anyway, at the weekend my mother shook hands with the Prime Minister. She shook hands with the Prime Minister of France, too.

As I've mentioned before, following a convoluted set of circumstances my mother is assistant to the Chairman of the Normandy Veterans Association, so she accompanied a coachload of veterans from Colchester to Arromanches for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings. It was raining and slippery, so she had to help the National Chairman (who is almost blind) up onto the stage; it turned out there were two seats there for him, and because the stage was covered she was persuaded to take one. Sitting in front of her was the wife of the head of the army, whom my mother has met before and really likes, so they struck up a conversation.

Gordon Brown arrived, shook hands with the wife of the head of the army, then extended his hand to my mother. She shook it, meaning I'm now only one away from him (ie. I can reach him in two). I guess I can also claim via mother—>PM—>wife—>husband to be four away from the head of the army.

My mother said that in real life, the PM is really good looking — he's a lot better than he appears to be on TV. I think maybe it went to her head...

Referenced by Out With the Fairies.

Referenced by One Away from Turing.

Referenced by Also in London.

Latest entries.

Archived entries.

About this blog.

Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).