dinner party

My dinner party with 5 famous people: #3 Sir Isaac Newton

I first learned about how crazy Sir Isaac Newton was from Bill Bryson’s amazing book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, and I’ve loved him ever since. (On a side note, my boy Bill was soooo close to making the guest list, but he can also be hyper-critical in his books, and I don’t want that vibe at my party. Sorry, Bill.) Besides for the fact that Newton helped us to understand force and motion, he also had an insatiable curiosity that led him to do such crazy things as stick a needle in his eye. My third dinner guest would have to be Sir Isaac Newton:

Me and Newton waiting for a seat at the trendiest new restaurant in NYC

Me and Newton waiting for a seat at the trendiest new restaurant in NYC

The night would start like this,

“Wow, Sir Isaac Newton, what an honor! May I call you Isaac?”

“I prefer Newt. Hey what’s that?” he asks, pointing to my microwave.

OK, after the initial enjoyment of explaining all the recent technology to a genius wears off, the real fun would begin. Newton was a crazy MoFo. When he didn’t think math was comprehensive enough he invented calculus! Who does that? But since he thought it would be too boring a subject (that’s my interpretation), he kept it a secret for 27 years. He learned Hebrew because he thought he could decipher clues as to the second coming of Christ. He was obsessed with figuring out how to turn base metals into precious metals. I just imagine him staring at his fork during dinner, willing it to turn to gold. It would give Louie CK a lot of great material.

Here’s a passage from A Short History of Nearly Everything:

“Newton was a decidedly off figure – brilliant beyond measure, but solitary, joyless, prickly to the point of paranoia, famously distracted (upon swinging his feet out of bed in the morning he would reportedly sometimes sit for hours, immobilized by the sudden rush of thoughts to his head), and capable of the most riveting strangeness… Once he inserted a bodkin- a long needle of the sort used for sewing leather – into his eye socket and rubbed it around “betwixt my eye and the bone as near to [the] backside of my eye as I could” just to see what would happen. What happened, miraculously, was nothing – at least nothing lasting. On another occasion, he stared at the Sun for as long as he could bear, to determine what effect it would have upon his vision. Again he escaped lasting damage, though he had to spend some days in a darkened room before his eyes forgave him.”

I’ve watched many things fall without having a single intelligent thought. Newton observes an apple falling and suddenly our whole world makes a lot more sense. We understand why things move or don’t move because of him and his three laws. He gave us the reflective microscope and the color and light theory. The least I could do is invite him over for dinner. I would serve him Turducken, baked apple and wine, and as I said before, he’ll sit next to Louie CK.

 

My dinner party with 5 famous people: #2 Louie C.K.

As I wrote in my last post, I’ve decided to take a cue from the classic college application question: If you could have dinner with five famous people (alive or dead) who would they be and why? It’s a good question because it shows what you value in a person, and what you hope to gain from the interaction. So without further ado, here’s the second person I would invite: Louie CK.

Louie and and me at a diner

Louie and and me at a diner

I was pretty late to discovering the comic genius that is Louie CK. I kept hearing his name mentioned, and sometimes when someone would say “you know, like on Louie,” I would smile and nod, having no idea what they were talking about. Netflix had been suggesting his show for months, and finally one day I plugged my computer into the t.v. and sat down to watch the show. By the next day (embarrassing to admit) I was done with season one and ready for more.

The magic of Louie CK is that although he can be disgusting, he’s so earnest and full of heart. He puts all of his insecurities, fears, and desires on the screen and you can’t help but relate. Sometimes he just looks like a lost puppy and I want to wrap him up and take him home with me, but then he’ll talk about how much he masturbates and I change my mind. I like a man who keeps me on my toes 🙂

I would serve Louie CK pizza, french fries, a fried appetizer sampler, some milkshakes and some beer. I don’t think I could sit him next to Oprah, so you’ll just have to wait for the future posts to see who he will sit next to! I’ll leave you with my favorite clip from the show:

 

My dinner party with 5 famous people: #1 Oprah Winfrey

For the next 5 posts, I’ve decided to take a cue from the classic college application question: If you could have dinner with five famous people (alive or dead) who would they be and why? It’s a good question because it shows what you value in a person, and what you hope to gain from the interaction. So without further ado, the first person who came to mind was Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah and me on a picnic

Oprah and me on a picnic

What I love most about Oprah is that she treats life like one big classroom. She’s constantly learning, always asking questions, always looking at something in a new way. She could have taken the easy route and continued with her show for decades, but she needed something new and challenging so she started an entire television network. I don’t have cable so I don’t get to watch it :(.  People seem to want to bash the network and celebrate in its fledgling ratings, but I see it as an amazing act of bravery. How many people will risk their public brand like that? As the great lady herself said, “challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a new way to stand.”

Oprah introduced me to author’s I love (Jonathan Franzen, Isabel Allende, and Barbara Kingsolver to name a few), causes I care deeply about (The Fistula Foundation, Puppies behind bars, and The Grameen Bank to name a few), and questions of spirituality that I still grapple with. She asked questions and we all got to listen to the answers.

I would want Oprah to relax at the dinner party. No toasts, no stories, no pressure. She’s worked hard her whole life entertaining and challenging us that all I would really want is for her to sit, drink some wine, and receive a big fat hug from me at the end of dinner.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote of hers: “I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.”