Είναι γνωστό πως ο Ρίτσαρντ Φάινμαν πήγαινε συχνά στο Gianonni’s, ένα μαγαζί στη γειτονιά του. Όπως γράφει ο ίδιος:
There was a period when there were topless restaurants in town: You could go there for lunch or dinner, and the girls would dance without a top, and after a while without anything. One of these places, it turned out, was only a mile and a half away from my house, so I went there very often. I’d sit in one of the booths and work a little physics on the paper placemats with the scalloped edges, and sometimes I’d draw one of the dancing girls or one of the customers, just to practice.
Κάτι που δεν θα καταλάβαινε κάποιος από τα σκίτσα που ανέβασα εδώ, είναι ο λόγος που ζωγράφιζε ο Φάινμαν. Παραθέτω πάλι τα δικά του λόγια:
I wanted very much to learn to draw, for a reason that I kept to myself: I wanted to convey an emotion I have about the beauty of the world. It’s difficult to describe because it’s an emotion. It’s analogous to the feeling one has in religion that has to do with a god that controls everything in the whole universe: there’s a generality aspect that you feel when you think about how things that appear so different and behave so differently are all run “behind the scenes” by the same organization, the same physical laws. It’s an appreciation of the mathematical beauty of nature, of how she works inside; a realization that the phenomena we see result from the complexity of the inner workings between atoms; a feeling of how dramatic and wonderful it is. It’s a feeling of awe—of scientific awe—which I felt could be communicated through a drawing to someone who had also had this emotion. It could remind him, for a moment, of this feeling about the glories of the universe. […] I gave up the idea of trying to get an artist to appreciate the feeling I had about nature so he could portray it. I would now have to double my efforts in learning to draw so I could do it myself. It was a very ambitious undertaking, and I kept the idea entirely to myself, because the odds were I would never be able to do it.
Στο είπα, τον αδικείς αν κρίνεις μόνο τα γυμνά σκίτσα. Μάθε ότι στη συνέχεια έγινε αρκετά καλός ώστε να πουλήσει πίνακες και να διοργανώσει και έκθεση. Με ψεύτικο όνομα, για να τον κρίνουν μόνο ως ζωγράφο, όχι ως “διασημότητα”. Τακτική που χρησιμοποίησε ξανά όταν έπαιξε μπόνγκο σε συναυλία.
Για κάποιον με πρόσβαση στο ίντερνετ, ο καλύτερος τρόπος που προτείνω για να γνωρίσει-θυμηθεί τον Ρίτσαρντ Φάινμαν, είναι να αφιερώσει λίγο χρόνο από τη ζωή του και να παρακολουθήσει αυτά τα πεντάλεπτα βιντεάκια.
Για κάποιον χωρίς πρόσβαση στο ίντερνετ, η ανεκδοτολογική αυτοβιογραφία του Φάινμαν (από εκεί είναι παρμένα και τα αποσπάσματα που παρέθεσα εδώ) είναι ένα καταπληκτικό ανάγνωσμα, γεμάτο ανθρωπιά, ουσία, χιούμορ και πρωτοτυπία. Να πώς συνεχίζει η ιστορία με το Giannoni’s, για παράδειγμα:
One day there was a police raid on Gianonni’s, and some of the dancers were arrested. Someone wanted to stop Gianonni from putting on topless dancing shows, and Gianonni didn’t want to stop. So there was a big court case about it; it was in all the local papers.
Gianonni went around to all the customers and asked them if they would testify in support of him. Everybody had an excuse: “I run a day camp, and if the parents see that I’m going to this place, they won’t send their kids to my camp…” Or, “I’m in the such-and-such business, and if it’s publicized that I come down here, we’ll lose customers.”
I think to myself, “I’m the only free man in here. I haven’t any excuse! I like this place, and I’d like to see it continue. I don’t see anything wrong with topless dancing.” So I said to Gianonni, “Yes, I’ll be glad to testify.”
In court the big question was, is topless dancing acceptable to the community—do community standards allow it? The lawyer from the defense tried to make me into an expert on community standards. He asked me if I went into other bars.
“And how many times per week would you typically go to Gianonni’s?”
“Five, six times a week.” (That got into the papers: The Caltech professor of physics goes to see topless dancing six times a week.)
“What sections of the community were represented at Gianonni’s?”
“Nearly every section: there were guys from the real estate business, a guy from the city governing board, workmen from the gas station, guys from engineering firms, a professor of physics…”
Καταπληκτικό βιβλίο, τι να λέμε τώρα.
Κυκλοφορεί και στα ελληνικά, αλλά η γραφή του Φάινμαν, κατ’ εξοχήν αυθόρμητη και προφορική, χάνει πολύ στη μετάφραση.
One time I sat down in a bath where there was a beautiful girl sitting with a guy who didn’t seem to know her. Right away I began thinking, “Gee! How am I gonna get started talking to this beautiful nude babe?”
I’m trying to figure out what to say, when the guy says to her, “I’m, uh, studying massage. Could I practice on you?”
“Sure,” she says. They get out of the bath and she lies down on a massage table nearby.
I think to myself, “What a nifty line! I can never think of anything like that!”
Τέλος, τα σκίτσα που σου έδειξα εδώ έχουν εκδοθεί, μαζί με όλες τις υπόλοιπες ζωγραφιές του, σε αυτή την πολυτελή και άκρως συλλεκτική έκδοση. Δικιά σου, μόνο με 800$.