Friday, October 3, 2008

Populistic pandahands

I'm glad I'm not the only idiot out there. All anecdotes are from http://homepage.smc.edu/larsen_lyle/absentmindedness.htm

G. K. Chesterton was certainly one of the most absentminded of authors.
His wife once heard him in the bathroom taking a bath. She heard him get out of the tub; then after a long pause there was a splash, and she heard him say, "Damn, I've been here before."

The Reverend William Lisle Bowles presented a Bible to a lady parishioner as a birthday present. She asked him to write his name in the volume, and he did so, inscribing it to her as a gift "from the Author."

Sir Isaac Newton was sometimes very absentminded. One day a Dr. Stukely called at his house. A servant told Stukely that he would have to sit down and wait, for Sir Isaac was in his study and no one was allowed to disturb him there. Soon another servant brought in Newton's dinner--a boiled chicken under a cover--and sat it close to the visitor. After an hour passed and Newton still did not appear, the doctor found that he was hungry and so proceeded to eat the chicken. Newton finally came in and apologized for having kept his visitor waiting so long. He said, "Give me but leave to take my short dinner, and I shall be at your service; I am fatigued and faint." On removing the cover to his dinner he saw only a pile of bones. Embarrassed at appearing so ridiculous before a stranger, he put back the cover and said, "See what we studious people are: I forgot I had dined."

Clergymen are also noted for being absentminded. Perhaps it is easy to get so preoccupied with the everlasting life to come that you lose touch with the life passing before you at the moment. At any rate, the minister of Thames Ditton, Mr. George Harvest, used to get so absorbed in his thoughts that he would lose track of time. One Sunday he walked down to his church with a gun in his hand to find out what all those people were doing there.

Another clergyman, Canon Sawyer, once started out for the train station to meet a visitor. On the way he necessarily got lost in thought, arrived at the station, boarded a departing train, and disappeared.

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