Chatting away last night and a bloke introduced me to the character Jara Cimrman (pronounced, I think, Zimmerman).
Originally an invention in a radio show back in, erm, 1967 or so. One of these historical characters who had been everywherre and knew everyone. Zelig, Forrest Gump, Flashman, all contain elements of the idea.
He delivered the pitchblende for the Curies for example. Told Chekov that two sisters really wasn’t enough sisters (which is a very good joke I think).
But he’s much, much more than this in Czech culture. When they did the TV show “Greatest Czechs” (like 100 Greatest Britons) the voting by SMS was such that he was going to be the clear winner until they disqualified him for the trivial reason of not being a real person.
So far the best story about him I’ve heard is that when Bell invented the telephone he discovered three unanswered calls from Cimrman on it.
The Czechs themselves say that they’re very similar to the English in their sense of humour. I can rather see why…..