Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Wise Man In His Own Right

There’s a guy by the name of Hesiod whom I stumbled upon several months ago...a self-proclaimed farmer in Greece, but more historically a writer, poet and philosopher.

Hesiod lived and wrote and philosophized a long, lonngg time ago, in the eighth century B.C. (before croissants). His two known written works discuss the five ages of time, pagan ethics and present the descent of the gods.

Pretty heavy stuff, but his writings have had an impact on modern thinkers.

Now, I didn’t go searching for him because I tout myself as a great modern thinker or because I obsess over Greek mythology. However, if you want to believe either of those excuses, please feel free. They sound more studious than the reason I’m about to share with you.

I found him and one of his ideas on a calendar I had, a calendar published by the Old Farmer’s Almanac, with quips and quotes and “sage advice,” as they call it, for each day of the year.

For instance, throughout the months you find that to avoid a double chin, you shouldn’t sleep on plump pillows. (Staying away from that third and fourth slice of pizza may help as well, but I’m not as smart as the Farmer’s Almanac people.)

On another day, quoting George Washington’s “Rules of Civility,” we learn to “shift not yourself in the sight of others nor gnaw your nails.”

This is good, usable everyday stuff!

Wise men also have first names with many many g's.
Anyway, on one particular day of the year, I came across a bit of history that noted, “according to Hesiod, a wise man is born on this day.” (You all see where this is headed, don’t you?)

Those words filled the square that was my birthday, and without knowing even one other thing about Hesiod, he became instantly insightful and intelligent in my eyes and one of my bestest friends.

I did a little more research into his theory, to see if maybe he was referring to someone else born on the same day as me. There are, after all, quite a good number of years between Hesiod’s day and mine.

I found people like John Goodman, who makes a great second generation Blues Brother, but also had to be Roseanne’s husband on TV; and Beach Boy Brian Wilson, who wrote a lot of beachin’ surf songs, but later couldn’t muster the courage to step outside of his bedroom for however many years.

Lionel Richie and Cyndi Lauper also made the list, and I stopped shortly thereafter for fear of running into a great British leader or some NASA scientist.

Well...I won’t include the exact date of my birthday here, because I’m not trying to guilt-trip everyone into sending me birthday wishes and gifts. (Hint: it’s sometime during the first eleven months of the year.) I like to let my birthday pass as quietly as possible each year.

Donations of cash money are cheerfully accepted year-round, however.

“There is still no cure
for the common birthday.”
—John Glenn

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