Soon he was invited to deliver a significant paper, at a conference, coincidentally held in his hometown. He walked on stage and placed his papers on the lectern, but they slid off onto the floor. As he bent over to retrieve them, at precisely the wrong instant, he inadvertently farted.
The microphone amplified his mistake resoundingly through the room and reverberated it down the hall.
He was quite embarrassed but somehow regained his composure just enough to deliver his paper. He ignored the resounding applause and raced out the stage door, never to be seen in his home town again.
Decades later, when his elderly mother was ill, he returned to visit her. He reserved a hotel room under the name of Levy and arrived under cover of darkness.
The desk clerk asked him, “Is this your first visit to our city, Mr. Levy?”
Dr. Epstein replied, “Well, young man, no, it isn’t. I grew up here and received my education here, but then I moved away.”
“Why haven’t you visited?” asked the desk clerk.
“Actually, I did visit once, many years ago, but an embarrassing thing happened and since then I’ve been too ashamed to return.”
The clerk consoled him. “Sir, while I don’t have your life experience, one thing I have learned is that often what seems embarrassing to me isn’t even remembered by others. I bet that’s true of your incident too.”
Dr. Epstein replied, “Son, I doubt that’s the case with my incident.”
“Was it a long time ago?”
“Yes, many years.”
The clerk asked, “Was it before or after the Epstein Fart? “