The announcement of the MacArthur Awards calls to mind an American friend’s story about winning one of these prizes. He was a visiting scholar at Oxford when he got the phone call from MacArthur. Absolutely thrilled, he left his office to go back to where he was living to tell his partner the great news. He glanced down the street and saw there was no traffic and then began to cross, forgetting that in the UK people drive on the left, not on the right.
He stepped right out in front of a speeding car which honked at him, and he had to dive back to the sidewalk to avoid getting run over. He was scraped and bruised but otherwise unhurt. He told me later drolly “Think of the great obituary”: ‘Genius’ failed to look both ways before crossing street