A Most Interesting Man (June 2014)

A Most Interesting ManIn general, I don’t meet new people. The reason is simple: I am not a social person. I guess it makes sense that I met my newest friend in our local bookstore.

We were both in the science section: I for something new; he for the math. Don’t get me wrong; I love math to a point. I actually enjoy algebra. I even like tolerate geometry. I despise calculus with every fiber of my being. I suppose my hatred stems from high school, where I literally had to teach myself calculus (yes, for a grade, and yes, it hurt my GPA). He, on the other hand, is a math fiend who loves adores worships calculus. Not the basics for a friendship, but we both speak German, so there’s that.

He’s probably not the type with whom most people strike up a conversation: small, shortsighted, large nose, slightly misshapen – stereotypical nerd. Continuing the stereotype, he’s done relatively well for himself.

A published author, he’s had the opportunity to debate argue with meet some of the biggest names in the scientific world. (Unlike him, I won’t name drop. After all, I didn’t meet them). Knowledgeable in biology, ethics, geology, history, law, linguistics, medicine, philology, philosophy, physics, politics, probability theory, psychology, technology, and theology, one might accurately call him a Renaissance Man.

Despite his obvious intellect, his character leaves something to be desired. On occasion he’ll complain about money, but it’s obvious he’s well off. At least, he’s better off than most. He tends to be ruthless, but claims it’s the nature of his field. I know for a fact that he has altered some of his work ex post facto, which has (naturally) placed him in poor standing with his peers.

His biggest flaw is his temper, at times appearing to revel in argument. He continues to hold a grudge against a colleague who accused him of stealing work, despite vindication from the scientific and academic community. He also has a tendency to take an argument reductio ad absurdum and will continue to argue his point even while cognizant of the illogical, irrational and sometime contradictory nature of his claims.

Despite these flaws, they appear to extend only to his professional life; in person, many find him well-mannered and charming, possessed of wit, humor, and imagination. Without exaggeration, he’s the life of the party (just don’t start an argument with him).

If you’d like to meet him, I can introduce you: his name is Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, whom I first met in The Clockwork Universe. I trust you find him just as interesting.

Sorry, Sheldon, I’m a Leibniz man.

This post is being published as part of Writing 101. Challenge 6: Who’s the most interesting person (or people) you’ve met this year? Turn your post into a character study.

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