Have you ever tried to float with an ordinary pencil? I was wondering how your pencils work on a surface with no friction.”
The boy’s face was full of interest… but as he was being lectured he did not look excited.
“It is possible to levitate with ordinary pencils. To do that you have to draw on the surfaces of two pencils, and use the surface tension of friction, or your pencil’s own weight as a spring, that is, use a pencil that has not been used often and without tension.”
“So you are creating a freefall?”
“I’m making an approximation.”
“And are you aware that the acceleration due to friction is 10 to the 2-4th power…”
“And you are thinking about the relationship between friction coefficient and acceleration?”
“That is my thought experiment!”
“If you can think about it you will understand it?”
“I have thought about it.”
“Very well. Is this an object of curiosity for others?”
He laughed. “Of course it is!” He then asked the first question again, but I did not answer.
“Then you have answered the question,” he finished with a wink.
“Well, it’s no use for me to answer it.”
“Then I guess it is not in your interest.” But I knew that even with him’s help things were not going to be so easy.
“I will tell you some stories.”
So he sat there, leaning on his book, like some little prince, and after he told me his stories, I asked him where he would be going next.
To answer the last question he said, “If I went home with nothing, you would ask me what it was.”
There is only one thing I really want and only one thing that I am so very lonely that I want to share with all men. And that is my life…
So here I am, thinking of the things which I have written about this book, and about how I feel every morning. I’ve got a very difficult way from here. So I hope you understand why I’ve decided to write this book. If I do go on to write a book, and if I do write another book, I won’t publish it! What I want is to be written. Please, please, do not publish my words…
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