The Missing Eugene
You probably thought that I had succumbed to old age and now was in Hell’s TV lounge, watching Jeopardy with Satan–and beating Him to the answers. (I think that we would be evenly matched in history and politics; He’d have the advantage in economics and psychology, but I would be better in the arts. Out of courtesy, I might let Him answer a question about John Milton.)
Rest assure, however, I am not there yet. I am still in the Purgatory of learning Hebrew for my bar mitzvah. To memorize my Torah portion, I have resorted to mnemonic tricks. “Yogi bear is annoyed, needs a shave…Bo Derek owes me a backrub.” There is a risk that I might accidently recite that instead of the actual Hebrew. Fortunately, at a Reform synagogue no one would know the difference.
And I must admit that I have found another distraction: history fan clubs on LinkedIn. I joined one group and, with my pedantic quips, soon was receiving invitations to join other groups. When you are this generation’s foremost Byzantine humorist, everyone wants you. Here is an example, incited by a discussion of historical periodicals: when do they begin and end?
The boundaries of historical periods are flexible. Does Antiquity last longer in the Eastern Roman Empire than in the West?One morning the Emperor Zeno woke up to discover that he was in the Middle Ages. He didn’t feel particularly medieval; indeed, the court eunuchs assured Zeno that he looked as classical as ever. Still, he couldn’t ignore the smirks from the history department at Constantinople University.
However, in my historic irreverence, I earned a relentless enemy. He was outraged by my comments on Aethelred the Unready. My new nemesis not only denounced me–in sporadically grammatic English–on LinkedIn. He also is stalking me in other groups, publicly editing my comments even when he happens to agree with me. I imagine that he is lurking here, too.
Michael Douglas gets a young Glenn Close and I get this guy. So if I am found beaten to death by a copy of “Beowulf”, please notify the police of the most likely suspect.
(And then I really will be in Hell’s TV lounge, watching Jeopardy with His Eminence.)
p.s. And here is the incendiary musing on Aethelred the Unready: http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2009/11/13/the-unready-2/