We bought Will an Albert Einstein Funko Pop for his birthday. Before opening it, he shook it, turned it around in his hands, listened to the package, and declared he knew what it was. We asked him how he could be so sure.
He remarked that the Albert Einstein edition was the only Funko Pop he had requested. Thus, it followed that upon receiving a box fitting the dimensions of previously gifted Funko Pops, he would conclude that this, too, was not only a Funko Pop but a Funko Pop in the image and likeness of one Albert Einstein.
He opened the box, and the figure was, indeed, that of Albert Einstein. Will basked in his gift guessing skill, but I reminded him: the gift could easily have been the image and likeness of Elbert Ainstein, little known and forgotten first developer of E = MC2, otherwise known as the theory of special relativity.
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What’s that? You haven’t heard of Elbert Ainstein either? Well, pull up a chair and prepare yourself to be shocked, entertained, intrigued, and edified to an understanding of a dark tale of jealousy and greed the scientific community would just as soon remain buried.
Elbert Ainstein grew up in a small house behind the patent office in Bern, Switzerland. He was a curious boy, always conducting experiments, such as determining if riding a bicycle on a powerline would cause enough falling velocity to beat his electric blanket net to the ground. It didn’t.
Elbert’s designs from early childhood were tight, efficient, and error-free. The electric blanket net would emit from particle beam generators mounted on telephone poles above which Elbert would ride his bicycle. He programmed the emitters to activate if they sensed not only his unique chemical signature nearby, but also his velocity, trajectory, and probability of walking away from the incident without needing to visit an emergency room. The emitters produced their particle-woven electric blanket every time, satisfying Elbert, and catching the attention of a young patent clerk with dark eyebrows and wild let’s-use-a-power-line-as-a-jump-rope hair.
The patent clerk, whose real name has never been discovered, shadowed Elbert, recorded his actions in notebooks, copied his designs, and concluded: this boy was brilliant but not suited to academic or public life. He would never bring the wonder of his designs to the world, for he was happy, as the patent clerk observed, devising new ways for quantum mechanics to improve his play time.
For example, the patent clerk observed Elbert generating a wormhole to transport product from the ice cream truck directly into Elbert’s hands, all while Elbert continued swinging on his backyard playset; altering the nature of recorded images to give them life and personalities beyond mere recordings—to, essentially, create new life each time light and sound met on the same vectors; and to bend space and time at will—this last one being the well-known theory of special relativity.
Of all Elbert’s impressive inventions and theories, the patent clerk homed in on relativity, which he saw as his ticket to achieving his life’s goal: bending space and time to steal and hoard all the gold in the world and allowing for free-floating exchange rates, as the patent clerk was a disciple of John Maynard Keynes. He also wanted to corner the market on teeth grills before they became popular in rap and hip-hop culture, but that was a secondary ambition.
Elbert, the patent clerk concluded, would only use his genius to continue wormholing to himself the same ice cream over and over, so the patent clerk borrowed Elbert’s wormhole generator, constructed a gateway between him and Elbert, devised a system to catalogue and rate Elbert’s ideas, changed his name to Albert Einstein as an homage to the source of his ideas and success, and became the world-famous theoretical physicist we all know and whose image and likeness some of us own in Funko Pop form.
Elbert continued living long after Albert’s death, never knowing he was famous by extension, and by another name.
But he sure enjoyed his replicated free ice cream.
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Who else’s life might have been fodder for a famous imposter? Tustin Jimberlake? Gel Mibson? Dichael Mouglas? Jteve Sobs? Lim Berners-Tee? Fenry Hord?
Hold onto those Funko Pops, folks.
Reality may value fake history.