Saturday, July 20, 2013

Maybe I've Been Had

You may recall that last week I ran across a quotation attributed to Albert Einstein, never heard it before, laughed out loud, felt apologetic because I wasn't interested in probing the deep existential or scientific implications -- and then shared it with you, even finding a photo of The Genius looking quizzical to post with it. 
So okay -- had never run into that sentence in all of 87 years.  Then two days ago, out in a Chinese restaurant with a friend (excellent egg foo yong, enough take-home for the next morning's breakfast) and behold --!

And here I got all excited last week.  I'll bet it isn't even Einstein at all.  Had you heard it before?  I suspect  I've been had.


  1. Don't feel bad about it. The Internet is absolutely awash with misattributed quotations, and it's easy to get snookered. I've been had a time or two myself.

    In an area we're both well familiar with (Jane Austen's works), you'd be amazed at what goes on--particularly at sites such as CafePress and Etsy, where aspiring craftspeople are (1) slapping quotes from the films onto mugs, t-shirts, etc., and attributing them to the novels; or (2) attributing quotes to the wrong works. An example of (1) is attributing "You have bewitched me body and soul" to the novel Pride and Prejudice when it's actually from the 2005 film. And an example of (2) is attributing "Run mad as often as you chuse, but do not faint" to Mansfield Park when it's actually from Love and Freindship. (I suspect that the latter quote was used in the Patricia Rozema film version of MP.)

  2. The coincidence with the fortune cookie is one of those odd things...improbable events happen from time to time, by definition...

    It has been attributed to Woody Allen, as well, perhaps he used it. But below may be real:

    "Time is nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once. Space is what prevents everything from happening to me.

    John Archibald Wheeler, a theoretical physicist who worked with Einstein at Princeton.