Leslie and Life

Reading Time: 3 minutes

We sat in Beijing, Leslie and I, about in the middle of the auditorium. It was hot and the day outside was typical for the sprawling city; it was smoggy. Outside it looked like some lighter, brighter version of Bladerunner, except there wasn’t any rain.

Leslie and I were a little early for the talks. I don’t remember what they were about. I mostly just remember sitting with Leslie.

Both of us were part of a society, one that looks into how life originated, from the science end of things.

Leslie was famous for his work in biochemistry. He was very famous for his intelligence, especially in thinking about the most basic chemical reactions that life might do if you were inclined to consider just what things might have been like on a very early Earth.

He must have been about 75 or so at the time I am remembering him. I never knew him when he wasn’t old and mostly I knew him as my tennis partner when we met annually at these science meetings. He was a good tennis player, old school, and despite the occasional, scary heart palpitating gestured covering of his age spotted hand over his heart, we had fun.

“Funny about evolution and old people,” Leslie confided to me as he leaned over and whispered kind of conspi