Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Scene from "Bet Club"

Jules is sitting in a sushi bar by herself, having lunch. In walks another gaijin (Bob) who takes the spare seat opposite. They are seated too close to play the "I'm the only gaijin in the village" game so strike up a conversation instead.

Bob: So what do you do here then?
Jules: Oh, I'm a climate researcher.
Bob: Funny you should say that, I've got a friend who is interested in climate. He's got this wacky idea where he goes around challenging sceptics to bet on whether the world is going to warm up.
Jules: Really? But--
Bob (interrupting): Yeah, he was trying to arrange something with that guy at MIT whose name begins with a W.
Jules: You mean Richard Lindzen?
Bob: Yup, that's the one.
Jules: Wow that's bizarre. But--
Bob (interrupting): Do you know about the guy who invented this thing?
Jules: Well, yeah, actually--
Bob: I hear all kinds of things.
Jules: Yeah?
Bob: Supposedly, he was born in a mental institution. And he sleeps only one hour at night. He's a great man.
Jules: Oh,....--
Bob: Do you know about Brian Schmidt?
Jules stares at him.

Scene fades.

Ok, I embellished the script a bit (with apologies to Chuck Palahniuk, in particular the scene which starts at these words). But in case you all think I've gone completely off my trolley, I assure you that the basic event really did place pretty much as described!


jules said...

Or -- maybe I just created some loser alter ego to make myself feel better.

Who knows...


Brian said...

So which one of us is real, and which is the figment of an insane imagination?

I guess it's inevitable that the conversation would happen - how many people are in Japan, anyway?

The conversation does sound just like my friend Bob, including giving me undeserved credit for calling Lindzen on his bet offer.

James Annan said...


I'm relieved to hear that Bob really does exist :-) Yes, it was he, on a day-trip to Kamakura, which is a very obvious tourist trip from Yokohama where I understand he lives (I didn't meet him). And we do seem to have met a decent-sized cross-section of the foreign community here, one way or another. So in retrospect it's not all that astonishing that jules should bump into him on a Sunday lunchtime. But still, a bit of a shock!

The conversation didn't go quite as I wrote it, either...

EliRabett said...

Now you know how Daniel Davis feels having fathered the shorter concept for busy busy busy. http://www.busybusybusy.com/

Brian said...

Good point Eli - I didn't bet Lindzen, and I certainly didn't invent the betting idea.

First bet offer I'm aware of was Schneider and Ehrlich offering to bet Simon over global warming - he declined.