As the letter here indicates, I stumbled across a note that the renowned Stephen Hawking was feeling lonely.  I now suppose that was a joke, but I couldn’t rule out the possibility that it was true.  So I wrote this letter:

June 4, 2015

Stephen Hawking
University of Cambridge
Centre for Mathematical Sciences
Wilberforce Road

Dear Professor:
While clicking around on the internet I found what purported to be a comment you made about occasionally feeling lonely.  People don’t seem to return messages.  First let me admit that it sounds like a misunderstanding to me.  If you are swamped with friends and admirers, just consider me one more.

However if it is true, my first response is that it isn’t just you.  For many years I have tried to get into communication with experts in fields that overlap my own field of interest.  If you like, feel free to look at my site and look how often I post things with the title beginning “Open letter to.”  It’s over one hundred.  Recently a classics professor named Dr. Thomas Hubbard was kind enough to respond and addressed the question I put to him promptly and clearly.  Of course I am most grateful.  Aside from him I have failed to establish any new contacts for a very long time.  Somehow social skills seem not to be the same. 

But I am still amazed that a world class celebrity with a mind that is a world treasure might feel the yen to yak a little.  Looking around it appears to me that you are swamped with people who have theories.  Hmm.  All right, I have a couple of them and a couple inventions I thought might amuse you.  But I shall consider them off limits. 

I have some time.  It took years but my computer tells me I have played Spider Solitaire more than 43,000 times.  This is not the record of somebody who can claim to be too busy to be civil, although in fact I am quite busy dressing that web site up with an essay or letter every couple of days.  It takes a lot of reading to keep coming up with new stuff. 

And I do have some friends.  If you ever want to chat, I’m available.  E-mail or Facebook would probably be the most convenient.  I don’t use Skype, but it’s not a matter of principle.  If that seemed like a good way to communicate then I can certainly download it.  And I think it would be an easy matter to hook up a video camera at this end.  I don’t know whether Skype supports that or is just for free phone calls to friends and family. 

If you would like to make contact I offer not, unless invited, to bring up theories, health issues or complaints.  I can generally return any message within a day.  I’m a semi-retired doctor, so I can function any hour night or day (although most days I do have a few hours I am committed to).  Of course like any other doctor I’d be happy to have a day or two’s warning if I am going to be doing  things after dark. 

So there you have it.  I’m available to be a casual friend.  Don’t let yourself feel lonely.  You are too good a person and too widely loved for that.  If I don’t hear from you I shall assume all is well and simply be embraced, with to which emotion I am no stranger. 

Sometimes I post pictures of Florida Man on my Facebook timeline.  There should be a new one going up this Sunday.  The character is just for fun, and he is fun to do.  I only hope he’s fun to see.

Oh, yes.  Thursday’s around 2 to 4 on the afternoon, quite late for you of course, I have a late lunch with a friend.  I think he’d be happy to join us aSkyping some day if you keep such hours.  And some days I have dinner with a book club.  I produce a book or the equivalent – no I can’t write a book in a month, but I have a backlog – and they provide their company.  They are mostly women and tend to be very attractive.  But that is for another time.  One of the men would like to cook for you, which would be a treat, but I doubt the winds carry you to the Tampa area soon.

I notice that your office is on Wilburforce Road.  If that refers to the bishop, he appears in one of my books, which alas is not untainted with theory.  Generally I try to spare my friends as well.

All best wishes.  I have been your admirer since we were in our twenties or whenever your first blockbuster theory came out.


Linton Herbert MD

I am happy to say that I got a return form letter saying the professor is in fact quite busy and could not even answer every letter.  That is a relief; it would expect it to be that way.  Of course in 99 out of 100 times I get brushed off and wish I hadn’t been, but this time it’s a good thing.  So in case you read the same notice and were worrying, to the best of my knowledge you need not.

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