That seemed a bit odd. I didn’t yet know that taking a long walk was his preferred way to have a serious conversation. It turned out that he wanted me to write a biography of him. I had recently published one on Benjamin Franklin and was writing one about Albert Einstein, and my initial reaction was to wonder, half jokingly, whether he saw himself as the natural successor in that sequence. Because I assumed that he was still in the middle of an oscillating career that had many more ups and downs left, I demurred. Not now, I said. Maybe in a decade or two, when you retire.
When Ben Franklin died, it was a loss, I have to imagine. But did they know, back then, that they’d lost Ben Franklin? Albert Einstein? Thomas Jefferson? Nikola Tesla?
It feels like that’s something of substance this morning, as I tap away on my MacBook Pro. Because we know that yesterday, in so many ways, we lost our Ben Franklin. Albert Einstein. Thomas Jefferson. Nikola Tesla.