Monday, January 19, 2009

Tycho Brahe

When we were in New York, Miriam and I were walking along and I was telling her about the over-friendly fellow on the plane from KY to NY. In addition to talking to me in the airport (as if we knew each other!), he turned around mid-flight and asked me to finish his crossword puzzle.

At first, I was stumped. But then I saw one that I could solve: "friend of Keppler." Obviously, that's Tycho Brahe. Once that one was filled in, the rest of the puzzle solved itself. Happy stranger, happy me because I could go back to my Vanity Fair and resume ignoring him. Don't get me wrong: he seemed nice enough. But you have to get yourself into a New York state of mind, and talking to random strangers is not a New York thing to do.

So I told Miriam this story. And she looked at me like I was a freak. And I'm all, "you know, don't pull a Tycho Brahe!" and she's all, "huh." As if that's not an everyday sort of thing to say.

Tycho Brahe was a homie of Keppler, and like Keppler he was an astronomer. For centuries, the accepted story of his death has been that he died because he refused to leave a banquet to use the bathroom. His bladder became too full, he developed an infection, bada bing bada boom: bye bye Brahe.

But tonight, thanks to the wonderful Brits, I've learned an entirely new set of astounding reasons to love Tycho Brahe. How about this one: his nose was cut off in a duel (in the dark!) while he was a student. So he designed a prosthetic nose out of a gold/silver alloy and wore it for the rest of his life.

???

Ok, how about this one: he had a pet moose who lived in his house. The animal died after getting drunk on beer and falling down the stairs.

???

Huh? Huh? I love this guy!

And best of all, his death has become a subject for speculation again. Some people think he was poisoned by mercury (from taking some kind of home remedy), while others think he was...wait for it...murdered! By his cousin, by Keppler, perhaps even by the King of Denmark. It's all just too juicy.

The only bad part is that it kind of makes me feel like a loser. With all this craziness going on, plus 8 children, he still managed to observe supernovas (1572) and to come up with an alternative universal theory (in opposition to Galileo).

Comparatively, I kind of suck. But hey - at least I know when to get up and go to the bathroom.

2 comments:

Miriam said...

And you have your own nose!!

Heather said...

Ok. Again it's obvious I am reading the wrong books.

::bows down to you::