We have lost Stephen Hawking, one of the great men of our time. I don’t pretend to understand much of what he conceived and articulated. I’m a writer: I have black holes of my own to contend with.
What I do appreciate is that he made science interesting and relevant to a large audience. He shredded any preconceived notions we might have had about what a guy in a wheelchair could contribute to society.
Today, at a Parisian cafe, an English-American friend and I commiserated over his passing. Her father owns a bed and breakfast near Cambridge, and she spent summers there, in Hawking’s fiefdom.
She chuckled in her coffee as she related the more-than-occasional instances she would be driving her car, turn a corner, and almost run over one of the greatest intellects of our time. “He’d be going full blast, hell on wheels, literally. He stopped for no one and nothing in that damn wheelchair,” she related, “and I’m hitting the brakes and screaming like a child, thinking, Oh my god, I almost killed Stephen Hawking! Again!”
We laughed, then, after a moment of silence, agreed that he had lived well, given mightily, and would be remembered always.
Well played, sir. Adieu.