Here's this year's Einstein Christmas story. I wrote it on December 24th and 25th, 2006. It's short, but I think you'll understand why it doesn't need to be any longer.
"Merry Christmas, idiot!" Einstein whispered at his bathroom mirror. Then he put the gun in his mouth and fired.
It jammed every year, because Jesus loved him, especially at Christmas.
Einstein was tired of having this Seasonal Affective Disorder, which he had caught while shopping at Wal-Mart. It made him depressed for seven months before Christmas and seven months after Christmas, so it was worst in the summer when the two periods overlapped. He decided to see a psychiatrist.
He typed "TELL ME THE NAME OF THE WORLD'S CHEAPEST PSYCHIATRIST" into Google. Before he pressed the "Enter" key he remembered that he was using an Internet search site, so he added "NO SCAMS PLEASE". When the results came back, he only bothered reading the top one because he knew he was smart enough to have entered a perfect query. The ad he found said:
PSYCHIATRY FIVE DOLLARS
OPEN ON CHRISTMAS
YOU'LL GO SANE IN AN HOUR OR YOU WIN A T-SHIRT
Einstein filled his pockets with gummi bears for the trip and walked across Princeton to the psychiatrist's office, which was in the strip mall behind the Krispy Kreme.
"Wow, Princeton got a Krispy Kreme!" thought Einstein happily, but then he remembered that he was busy going to a psychiatrist so as not to kill himself, so he kept on walking while eating just the best parts of the gummi bears (the heads.)
"Tell me about your problems, your insurance, and your childhood," said the psychiatrist, who had a wacky German accent and weird hair. Einstein eased himself down into the beige naughahyde couch and began:
"Well, doc, my name is Albert Einstein, and --"
"Say no more! Delusions of grandeur!" The doctor reached for a needle of Make People Not Think They're Smarter Than They Are serum.
"But I really am Einstein! See?" He held up his Princeton dining hall card and showed his signature. The psychiatrist took the "A" volume of the World Book off his shelves and opened it to a picture of the first atomic bomb. Einstein's signature on the bomb was exactly the same.
"Yes, apparently you are famous genius Albert Einstein. Of course, I am a psychiatrist, which means I outrank you because I went to medical school for eight years and physics majors can graduate in four."
"But I --"
"Don't talk back. Now, here's how we're going to make you happy. You've got to start asserting yourself, and --"
"SHUT UP! DON'T INTERRUPT! THE IMPORTANT PERSON IS TALKING!" The psychiatrist pulled a foam rubber Encounter Bat from under his desk and threw it at Einstein's head. "Einstein, you're a bad person. I say that as a psychiatrist, I can spot a bad person from a mile away. Let's try a different approach. We're going to attempt a radical new technique I learned about in 'Psychology Today' magazine, which I've been reading because 'TV Guide' is too challenging. This is a projective technique, which means I'm going to ask you a question and there are no right or wrong answers, you get charged full price either way. Now, here's the question. Tell me the funniest thing you can think of."
"That's not a question!"
"WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!" yelled the psychiatrist, throwing lawn darts at Einstein's head. "I will now repeat the question! Tell me the funniest thing you can think of!"
Einstein, in no mood to be a happy funster, said, "Christopher Reeve rolling off a cliff, with diarrhea. 'Look, mommy, a brown rainbow!'"
"Einstein, you're not taking your mental health seriously. Stop cheating." The psychiatrist closed the Venetian blinds because Einstein had been staring at the drippy brown rainbow outside. "Now, close your eyes and tell me the funniest thing you can think of."
Einstein closed his eyes. "Honestly, doc, I can't think of anything actually funny. I feel like I'm surrounded by unfunniness. In fact, I feel like I'm just a fictional character in a story that's trying way too hard to be unfunny just so that nobody can accuse it of trying to be funny and failing."
"Well, Einstein, first of all, your logic is invalid because you're not a fictional character, you're a famous scientist, even though you didn't win as many kinds of Nobel Prizes as Linus Pauling. Second, while you had your eyes closed, I put your hand in warm water, so now you have to mop up my couch while I think about possible diagnoses."
"What? I told you all that and you haven't figured out what's wrong with me yet? I'm Einstein! I have asymmetrical hair! Isn't it obvious what's wrong with me?"
"Well, Einstein, psychiatry is not an exact science like physics, psychology, sociology, or astrology. I can't diagnose you in so short a time. Every psychiatrist knows that there's only one personality disorder that is immediately obvious during a five-minute conversation, and that's sociopathy."
"What's that? Some sort of baking powder?"
"No, Einstein. A sociopath is someone who doesn't care about anyone else and never feels human emotions. They do what they want all the time, and never feel guilty about what they do, because they consider themselves better than other people. They don't really have human feelings. Basically, a sociopath combines the best qualities of Mr. Spock and Darth Vader."
"Wow! Doctor Psychiatrist, I could kiss you! I've made up my mind, I'm going to go home and experiment on my brain until I become a sociopath, and then I won't feel guilty about building all those atomic bombs! I'm glad that instead of curing me, you've helped me to become worse!"
Einstein ran out of the office, giggling happily at the prospect of having no feelings. The psychiatrist ran after him. "Wait, you forgot your T-shirt!" He threw it and Einstein caught it.
It said: "I WENT TO THE PSYCHIATRIST AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS CRAZY T-SHIRT."
* * * * *
Einstein was enjoying his new life as a sociopath. He did whatever he wanted, to whomever he wanted, whenever he wanted, and he never had to eat his vegetables! He abandoned his career as an ethical scientist and instead used his knowledge of physics to scam people through ads in the back of "Popular Mechanics" magazine.
"Hey magazine readers!" said one, "This is famous genius Albert Einstein here to tell you how to meet time travellers! If you've ever wanted to meet people from the year Three Thousand, you've wondered why they never visit a loser like you. Well, it's because time travellers spend all their time hunting down babies who will grow up to be the next Hitler! So if you want to meet time travellers to impress your friends, I'll sell you Baby's First Hitler Mustache for a low price of only ten installments of $99.99. Just put one on your baby, toddler, or wife and wait for time travellers to say hello! Baby's First Hitler Mustache, another patent pending invention from Einstein. Available in regular, or pay extra for the deluxe adhesive-backed version so you won't need to use staples!"
Those ads for Einstein's scams were offensive and insulting to the intelligence of everyone in the world, but that was okay because he was smart enough to know that everyone but him was a worthless idiot. He made a fortune selling regular and deluxe mustaches to babies whose parents would rather have new time-travelling friends than a baby.
Einstein spent a small fraction of his fortune on a Hummer, and used it to spin doughnuts on the Princeton football field, ruining the big game against Harvard. He got away with that because he had tenure. Also Harvard couldn't be mad at him either because he bought Harvard and changed its name to The Albert Einstein College Of Einsteinology. Now gullible freshmen would pay him to tell them what to think, instead of just reading about him in Reader's Digest for free!
After moving into a big mansion (which Einstein had built on the former site of Disneyland), Einstein felt slightly lonely in the vast, echoing, ivory-paneled chambers. So he mail-ordered a case of puppies with a stolen credit card. When the crate arrived, he picked out the puppy he liked best and sold the others to the factory that made P. Diddy's line of hoodies.
The puppy he kept was a shaky little one who was all white except for one large dark spot on his side. Einstein chose him because the spot would make him the easiest one to kick in the dark, if it ever came to that. Being a sociopath, Einstein would never bother to go out of his way to kick a poor little puppy, but on the other hand, being a sociopath meant that someday he might have to kick the puppy if anyone challenged him to prove that he was a sociopath.
"Hey, Einstein," said little Spot, "Why are you acting so mean in this story? You were never this mean in any of the previous 158 stories about you adopting me for the first time!"
Einstein looked up from the machine he was building to make all TV programs end with all the characters telling people to send their money to Einstein. "Well, Spot, it's like this. I decided to be a sociopath. That's what this story's about. Me being a sociopath. And that makes perfect sense to me."
"But, Einstein! You're not a sociopath! Also, what's a sociopath?"
"Spot, a sociopath is someone who has no feelings for other people."
"Oh. Like Mr. Spock."
"Yes, except that Mr. Spock is sort of just an elf who is a sociopath, but I'm real like Mr. Spock and not imaginary like an elf because I'm a real live sociopath like all the ones on TV."
"You are so not a sociopath. I remember once you cried when I acted out the plot of 'Snoopy, Come Home' for you."
"That was in a different story, probably one that never even existed, and besides, I only became a sociopath recently. I was talking to my psychiatrist and I decided it would be the best thing to be, even better than a ninja."
"You are NOT a sociopath."
"Okay, look, you dim little puppy, if you believe I am lying about being a sociopath, tell me this: What sort of person would lie about being a sociopath?"
"Um... someone who didn't care what they said as long as it gave them a way to manipulate people and... oh... I see. Only a sociopath would falsely claim to be a sociopath. Damn you, Einstein, your logic bewilders me. I guess you really are a sociopathic genius and I'm just a puppy who's neither."
Einstein smiled on the inside. (It was the only place where he now smiled.)
Spot said, "Well, I guess it could be worse. The title of this story could have been 'Einstein Becomes A Sociopath While Spot Gives Birth To Poisonous Pandas', or something even ickier. Well, in any case, now that I've agreed you're a sociopath I guess we're done with this conversation. I'll just stay out of your way for the rest of your life and you can ignore me while you do what you want."
They went their separate ways. Spot moved into Motel 6 For Dogs (a doghouse with a noisy ice machine right outside the door) and Einstein went to shoplift an Aleister Crowley poster from Hot Topic.
Unfortunately, during the thirty seconds Einstein was in Hot Topic, he absorbed enough Hot Topic radiation to change him from a sociopath to an emo kid. He spent the rest of his life trying to make his hair more asymmetrical.
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June 5, 2013
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