Hello Faithful Readers! Today you will find the first installment of “Ask Sarah,” my weekly advice column. Below is a letter that a reader sent in (asksarah@cosmichellcats.com) and my response to his plight. I will be selecting a new letter to respond to every Thursday night/Friday morning (what? sometimes I don’t make it home) so be sure to check every Friday to see if I have responded to your letter! And, of course, if you don’t have any issues, I also love fan mail! Sarah@cosmichellcats.com!


Hi Sarah!

I’m a theoretical physicist working to reconcile quantum mechanics with
Einstein’s theory of relativity, thus producing a “theory of
everything.”  My problem is that the other physicists don’t take my
work seriously because I live in an old van on the beach and spend a lot of
time surfing.

How can I convince them to take me seriously?

Garrett Lisi

P.S.  You can read more about my plight here:


P.P.S.  I tried moving into a yurt, but that didn’t help


Dear GL,

Being smart is like, really hard sometimes. Especially when
you’re not within the confines of what people want to think “smart” looks like
or acts like.

For example: I’ve actually taught classes in the Theory of
Everything discipline that you’re studying. I know Earth is a little behind the
times, but I’ve read over your papers and let’s just say you’re on the right
track. Here is the thing. The class is like, uber important. In fact, it’s
practically a requirement to graduate. And you know what? I can’t get any girls
to sign up for the class. Oh sure, I have students coming out of the woodwork,
but almost all of them are male. And it makes me sad, because I would really
like to see some girls get involved in the sciences. But no, every class I
teach is filled with handsome, young, charming boys, who are so tan and toned

Um, anyway. The trick is to make that stereotype work for
you. I, for instance, make my tests really hard. And I put on distraction
questions like, “for extra credit, what color thong was I wearing on Tuesday of
last week?” If a student answers that question right, I fail them. Obviously
they are not interested in the kind of physics I am paid to teach. Then I invite
them out for some extra credit in… other… physics disciplines (assuming, of
course, they are cute).

Everybody wins.

So the trick is not to make them take you seriously. The
trick is to prove them wrong. No one takes me seriously. But I’m one of 5
people in the galaxy that can repair a hyperwarp drive, so it really doesn’t
matter what they think. Because someday, they are going to need their drive
fixed (the darn things are only good for so long).

The same goes for you. Who cares if they think you are some
crazy who lives in a van /yurt and surfs and snowboards all the time (I think that’s
really hot, by the way. I’ve always wanted to live in a yurt)? Once you
fundamentally prove the existence of your everything theory they can’t really
discredit you. They can still not take you seriously, but then you just get a
hot trophy girl to go along with the subsequent Nobel prize and you won’t care
what they think anyway.

At least, that’s what works for me. Or a boob job, I guess,
but you might not get as much self esteem from that procedure as some others.