Einstein is a nimrod.
At least in the future. Yes, there’s E = MC squared yes, yes. But nobody remembers that. Not here. Not in this future place. Call a person Einstein, everyone knows, and you’re calling them stupid. Stupid, but feigning smarts. Stupid, but deluded. Stupid as Einstein.
Today, of course—today being today, not the future—Einstein is a man and an insult. Einstein is the person who redefined our sense of the universe. Einstein also happens to be any person who tries to be brilliant and fails brilliantly.
Point the hose the wrong way: "Great job, Einstein!"
Burn yourself getting the toast out of the toaster: "Nice work, Einstein!"
Back your car into the mailbox—
Well, you get the idea. It’s sarcasm, of course—but sarcasm can be very dangerous to history. Or at least, what we remember as history. Ask any kid who Einstein is and you’ll understand what I mean. Or, better—ask Bugs Bunny.
Bugs is the one who suggested this post in the first place. Bugs himself is a very astute historian—which is no surprise considering he’s living history. It was back in 1937—sarcastic as ever, that Bugs first began bending the historical imagination. And it was with a simple jab at Elmer Fudd.
Fudd’s a buttoned up little man—hat down, gun up—ready to fire at a moment’s notice. He’s a sportsman—a hunter, or so he tells us. A hunter of great caliber, he considers himself to be. Like a Daniel Boon, a fierce warrior, a hunter-king.
But Bugs Bunny, of course—Bugs won’t stand for it. Bugs has to cut him down to size—what small size Fudd has—and so he calls him out: “A poor little Daniel Boon!” Bugs might say. “A poor little hunter.” But he does better than that—he reaches all the way back to one of the earliest greats of hunting, straight back to the Bible, to the great grandson of Noah himself: a regular hunter-king—Nimrod.
Yes, Nimrod was a great hunter. Not like the nimrods we know today, no. Nimrod; the King who built the Tower of Babel. A hunter of high stature, however lost in translation he may have been. A fine, genuine example of sportsmanship to sarcastically compare Elmer Fudd to.
Again. And again. And again. For 70 years, in fact! Elmer Fudd has been—sarcastically—called a Nimrod. Until Nimrod wasn’t sarcastic at all anymore. Until Nimrod wasn’t a hunter or a king, or a historical figure of any importance beyond the stain of his own name. Until Nimrod was himself a nimrod.
Reputations rise and fall, meanings shift—they even reverse with the passage of time. It’s good to know that, to take a moment and consider it now and then in the blur of daily crises. In the flash of familiar worries, when you’re thinking all so much of how much you’re being thought of. Are you remembered as smart? Thoughtful? Kind? Maybe. Maybe that’s what people will walk away with. Maybe that’s what they’ll remember.
Or, maybe—like Einstein—they’ll think the exact opposite. Maybe they’ll think you’re a nimrod. Maybe they already do.
But who cares what they think? Einstein didn’t. Let the world think what they want. Let the bunnies have their sarcastic fun. Let your reputation go, and hunt your quarry. Find your MC squared.