Einstein's Last Words


          
Albert Einstein is widely considered to be one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, and his opinion on almost any subject is always given great respect. In fact, Einstein's letter to President Franklin Roosevelt warning of the possibility that Germany may have been developing nuclear weapons during World War II is credited with the beginning of the Manhattan Project, which ultimately led to the production of the first nuclear bombs several years later. When Einstein spoke, people turned their attention and took notice.

          
Small wonder, then, that historians and other experts have long speculated about exactly what was written on the blackboard in the room where Albert Einstein was discovered dead in 1955. The blackboard had all manner of writing on it, save for a swath that obviously had been erased. Many have attributed this to some sort of divine intervention, arguing that Einstein had just stumbled on a key equation or inspiration that man simply was not meant to know-- the knowledge of which would upset the smooth functioning of the universe.

          
New evidence on this matter has recently come to light in the form of a diary discovered in the dusty attic of a small cottage in Montpelier, Vermont. The cottage had been designated a historic landmark but was standing in the way of a new highway, so it was being prepared for relocation when historians cataloging the home's contents made the discovery. The information revealed in this diary upsets all existing theories on what secret the blackboard held.

          
"If only that blackboard could talk," began Jeff O'Connor, one of the historians who wiped the dust from the old diary. "Now it can," he continued, "and the world will never be the same." Kristin Bond, another local historian, agreed, saying, "What Einstein had to say is of grave importance to our culture today, and it has already had an impact on my own life."

          
Exactly what is this startling revelation-- this warning to the world that has lain buried for almost half a century? O'Connor explains, "The house we were moving belonged to Aloysius Composter, who was the majority stockholder in the Greater Vermont Clothing Company. Apparently, in late 1954, Einstein wrote an obscure article for a scientific journal in which he casually mentioned in kind of an off-handed, throwaway remark that he had never worn a pair of sweat pants. We found this article in the same box with the diary, so someone must have brought it to Composter, who immediately became suspicious of Einstein and began to have him watched.

          
"The diary records that the day Einstein died, Composter's spy, Herbert Short, called with an urgent message. Short read the contents of the blackboard to Composter, who wrote this in the diary:

I knew that this would be AWFUL for business and could not be allowed to be seen by anyone else, so I yelled into the phone, "Herb, ERASE THAT BOARD FAST AND GET BACK HERE!"


Short dutifully did as his boss ordered, not even considering the consequences to mankind."

          
The Greater Vermont Clothing Company, as everyone knows, has produced 50 million pairs of sweat pants over the years. According to the diary, this is the message that Einstein had written on the blackboard and until now could not be seen by human eyes:

GRUNGE MUST BE STOPPED!

          
Beneath that was a pile of ashes that was preserved by Einstein's family and recently tested at a laboratory using newly developed testing techniques. The lab technicians are 98% certain that the ashes represent all of Einstein's shorts, jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, and other assorted grunge he had accumulated over the years. Clearly Einstein had learned something about grunge that made him a convert to the anti-grunge cause.

          
This raises further suspicions-- was Einstein, in fact, the victim of assassins rather than just another old man who died a quiet death? "The diary is not clear about this," says historian Bond. "Even if Einstein died a natural death, Composter may well have had intentions of killing him sooner or later. The Grim Reaper may have just made Composter's job a bit easier."

          
Meanwhile, how has this discovery affected those closest to it? Bond says without hesitation, "The day after we found that diary, I went into my back yard and did just what Einstein did-- I burned every last scrap of grunge I could find in my home. My husband and children were aghast, but I knew it had to be done." O'Connor was equally convinced, saying, "My home is a grunge-free home now, thanks to the great Albert Einstein."