A COLLECTION OF STORIES BY LUKE TAGG
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SMOKE: Email To Einstein

Originally published: 18 August 2004

I've been struggling with a few problems of late - the answers for which have not been forthcoming - and I've been racking my brains to think of someone who could help me out.

I mean - when those around me can't answer my questions, to whom do I escalate the problems?

The answer was pretty obvious, in the end - ask the smartest guy ever to have lived, which would be Albert Einstein. So I dropped him an email to see if he could help.

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Dear Al

I bet you get a lot of emails from people wanting to know stuff - it's the price of being a know-it-all, I guess. I bet none of them offer to pay you for your advice, do they? Cheap bastards.

So, Mr Relativity - you up for a few questions from the floor? Still got what it takes to crack the hidden underlying code of a seemingly impossible question? Let's see.

Firstly - the Polly Problem. I've got all the time in the world for a bloke who can take wickets, and that's what Polly does. The problem is that he giggles when he takes them, and I can't for the life of me marry the image of a fiery fast bowler with one of a castrati who would put Maria Callas to shame.

He's got a toothy, lop-sided, "aw shucks" sort of an attitude, and although I should worship him for bringing my country success and glory - I can't. It's the giggling.

So what would you suggest? Do I ignore the images of eunuchs and muslin and focus on the results instead, or should I emigrate to somewhere where a fast bowler is someone who strikes down with great vengeance and furious anger those that would dare to defend their wickets?

Help a brother out here.

Next: when a big company puts an advert on telly and tells us all they care about is our country and the fine people in it and how much progress we've all made together in a decade of freedom - do we believe them? Or is it just a ploy to increase their sales through emotive images and rolling hills and ethnic music?

On a related theme - can a car really care? And when Beares say they really care about me, do they mean it? Or are they just saying it to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside and thus spend millions and millions and millions of rands on their cheap floral furniture?

I mean - if Beares really cared about me they'd send a feller over with a pizza and a sixie of Labels, surely?

So many big companies really seem to care about me - particularly for my efforts in bringing unity to our nation through ten years of democracy - but sometimes I just get the feeling that someone is yanking my chain. I dunno. Maybe I'm just paranoid. Your thoughts please.

Acid. How many times can you take it before you go permanently mad? I had a girlfriend once who'd dropped over 100 caps before I met her, but I couldn't work out whether she was nuts because of it or whether she took it because she was nuts.

I'm all for the odd hallucinogenic journey, but this chick was Lucy in the bloody sky with diamonds, mate - she was the Walrus living in the yellow submarine. The doors of perception had swallowed her whole and it was a bad trip all the way down the drain.

Kesey, Ginsberg, Kerouac, Leary, Burroughs - amateurs, china. Fucken A-Ma-Teurs.

I mean - just because you see God's face on the ceiling doesn't mean it isn't there, right?

I'm almost at the end here, so bear with me a while.

Electric frying pans - how do you clean them? I know it's quite a hop from acid in one sentence to electric frying pans in the next but the swine has been festering with green, bubbling sores in a thin film of grease for two weeks now and I have no idea what to do.

Who designed the bloody things? Do you have his address or telephone number?

After using the pan once or twice the prong never comes out, which means you always have to have half the pan hanging in the sink and the cord trailing.

Since you never want to get the electric bits wet you never clean around the prong, and the grease builds up into a hard resin over time that glues the damn thing firmly in.

Why couldn't he have designed something that was possible to clean? Is it too much to ask for a little professionalism?

In a similar vein - what's with the little plug you get on the bottom of kicker-boards? Those yellow plastic boards you hold when learning to swim, with the little handles on the sides. They always come with a plug in the end, which is to allow water that gets in to drain out.

Now - why didn't they simply have no hole for a plug? No water would ever get in, then, which means you'd never have to drain it out.

You still following me here, guy?


Finally - what's the best way to hurt a Telkom support consultant? Chinese bangles, hair-pulling, throwing tiny pebbles viciously at their bare legs, or forcing them to lift heavy weights and knocking their elbows in?

You could also fork them, I suppose, or take a rock hammer to their toenails. Hmmm. What would you suggest? I'm still undecided.

Well - that's about it for now. I've got a few more questions in the pipeline for when you're done with these, but for now I'll leave you with something that's been troubling me:

If you take the square root of Y, as a compound fraction of the original sum of the combined solvent equation resulting from a hanging logarithm, and subtract the circumference of the diametrically opposing theorem, you are left with a result that perhaps even Pythagoras failed to consider.

Namely - an angle of 36.4 degrees - unvarying - that, placed in the context of a sub-fraction of a simple integer no greater than X and no less than R, would probably, if not mathematically, give you the rather improbable result of 0.0, recurring.

Which leads us to a rather interesting question.

If X and R are integers greater than or equal to zero and Y is a result of the aforementioned fraction, what sum are we left with if we take the cubed root of a random number and multiply - that's right, multiply - that number by AB over QC and square the lot?

In your own time. In your own words.

And if you get that one you're bloody Einstein.

Regards,
Luke Tagg

PS - you need to lighten up a fraction, dude, and to this end please see the accompanying attachment (brittersnude.jpg). Be sure the boss isn't around, though!

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I fired off my mail, but the reply was a little disappointing. It read simply:

Dear Luke

e=mc˛

Haha.

Love,
Al

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Thank goodness I didn't pay him anything. My grocer could have told me that.

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

Look at me now - all the way from Uitenhage to the bright lights of the big internet.

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Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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