Albert Einstein walked out of the Bern Patent Office at exactly one
minute after three. He walked across the street and down a way until he
got to a wide ribbon of grass facing off the hill. The ribbon was lined
with benches and, as he did every day at that time, he pulled out his
lunch from his pocket and sat down to eat. He untied the string and
unwrapped the paper and pulled out the cheese sandwich he had made
before he left for work.
Einstein nibbled at the sandwich. It was winter, and at that time of the
afternoon the sun was already low in the sky. He watched the sun closely.
There was always something about watching the sun go down that brought
back the memory of his theory — the theory that had occurred to him
one fine spring day twenty years ago but then, like a cloud over the sun,
had just as quickly disappeared from his mind.
"It was something to do with light" Einstein said to himself for the
thousandth time. "I remember that much. A light bulb, maybe? Or perhaps
a flashlight. And there seemed to be something in it to do with the
letter "E" — I know there was an "E" that figured into it somehow."
Einstein took the last bite of his sandwich. "Or maybe I'm just thinking
of the initial of my last name. Yes, that most likely is it" he said sadly.
He put the string and paper back into his pocket, once again depressed
at the futility of it all, and went back to the Patent Office.