Friday, March 3, 2017



So a week or so ago I'm in the old Princeton Cemetery walking along past the graves of Aaron Burr, his father the Reverend Burr, Jonathan Edwards, Sylvia Beach, Mayor Lindy Boggs, all the old Princeton University Presidents, and lastly the grave of US President Grover Cleveland himself (and his family members) and this guy comes up to me and asks if I can get him to the grave of Kurt Godel. I said I could, but it would be a walk - all along to the complete other end of the cemetary and past a little dog-leg in the grounds of the cemetery's layout. [Now I knew that NO ONE anymore really knows what a 'dogleg' is but I used it anyway and this guy didn't flinch]. After getting directions, he and his companion split up and he went on his way over to Godel's grave. In fact, because she didn't want to walk that far and back, he left his female companion with me, as I was still doing my viewing and walking on this way-other-side of the cemetery. All of which was OK with me.

He was little goofy-looking Jewish guy, I picked out immediately for a scientist or technician of some sort, and I actually could have cared less if I ever saw his sort again. They give me the willies, his sort - all precise, natty, neat, secure and thinking they're all knowing. And without a clue as to how nervously stupid they come across - like Woody Allen with a physics textbook or something. Nothing I care to deal with, 'cept for target practice (perhaps).

His woman, at the same time, was no prize either. Dumpy, eternally pleasant, pasted on smile, dressed like a frog. Turns out she was dying to lose him so she could sneak a smoke. He wouldn't allow her to smoke in his presence, and he was visiting from Maryland for the weekend and staying at her place - all the while, she said, complaining about it : 'it smells like smoke in here; you stink; your clothes stink; you shouldn't smoke'; etc. So she immediately starts puffing away.

I figured the visitation-sex must be so good for her (or him, or both) that she'd be willing to put up with it all for the sake of a penis - in this case, his. Just my thought, that was. That's not usually the stuff on my mind, and I could probably not care less actually, but the sickening sight of the two of them together in a form of enfouled joint-misery made me cringe. So I came up with the sex angle, OK.

While we were standing around making small-talk, not doing much, she noticed the nearby mausoleum. I forget the family name on it, maybe Murphy or something, but it was the usual - granite, boxy, with a heavy brass door, engraved, filigree'd, and seemingly left there for ages, untended. Inside, peering through the glass, one could see a crypt or two, two wooden chairs for seating, and a large stained-glass window letting in yellowish light. Rather nice, if not morbid. I told her, mock-seriously, that these things lately are being turned into great little coffee-houses and cafes. Very popular, especially in New England. She began to laugh uproariously. She said all it needed was a little neon 'Coffee' sign, a latte machine, and all that. We agreed it might probably just be the latest and newest trend.

Meanwhile Mr. Smokeless Himself comes sauntering back. He had satisfied himself by finding Godel's gravesite, as well as that of Sylvia Beach - whom he claimed not to know much about. I filled him in, cursorily - 1920's Paris, famed book-shop, Shakespeare & Company, where all the American literary ex-patriots hung out, Hemingway and all the rest - half the story. It worked well enough. He asked me if I knew of Godel. I said yes, and talked with him of Einstein, Princeton, Mercer Street, Einstein's house there, Godel's Princeton relationship with Einstein, their work together, their little rivalries, blah, blah. I said "not sure what I'd call him though - physicist, mathematician...". He piped up and said what I thought was a muttered "magician." I said "what did you say he was, a MAGICIAN!?". Aghast, my voice was. Sheepishly, he looked at me and said "No, no. I said 'Logician." Suddenly it all made sense.

We walked over to Grover Cleveland's grave - which they had requested seeing. He was surprised by the fact, as most people are, that there's not even a MENTION on his stone of the Presidency or his tenure there. I said "pre-media age; no one cared". They smiled. We said our goodbyes, it was nice meeting you, glad to help, etc.

I walked away. For all I know, they're still there. She's sneaking a smoke. He's staring at graves. Just like me. So logical, that is.

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