Do you have a favorite conspiracy theory? Not to be morbid, but my theory is that we have all been set up for elimination. The proof of my theory is that every one of the billions of human beings born before 1900* is dead (with apologies to a possible unknown straggler or two still hanging in there)….and there’s no reason to believe that anyone born post-1900 (who hasn’t yet perished) will be able to avoid this deplorable fate in due course. Let’s face it — the god(s) on high created a helluva mystery down here, and we’re the fall guys.

Of course, there are many who believe there is no death, professing that the body will be resurrected with the soul in a next life — even  cremated bodies, whose ashes have been scattered to the four winds and seven seas, will go to that great watering hole in the sky for another round. I would drink to that theory, but given the untold millions who have suffered agony in this go-round, who could drink enough to forget that the hereafter operates under the same management as the present? Raising the bar won’t bury the past.

Now, unlike most conspiracy theorists, I do not hold my theory to be the god-honest truth. It could be wrong. Maybe the gods have a heart; maybe we will live forever. Michel de Montaigne wrote, “Socrates thought, and so do I, that the wisest theory about the gods is no theory at all.” A rather unconsoling thought, perhaps, but one, at least, that’s not dead in the water. In any case, there’s no use losing any sleep over it.

*If you doubt that billions of human beings were born and died before 1900, click here:



“Beauty is truth, truth beauty — that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
–John Keats, from ODE ON A GRECIAN URN

On this day in February, 399 BC (according to occurred the fateful trial of the famed Grecian philosopher Socrates, of whom it is said that he didn’t put anything in writing during his lifetime — or even afterward, for that matter. This might lead one to think he was either paranoid or illiterate. By all odes, however, he was neither — otherwise his life/trial/death-by-hemlock would have earned him no esteem….and in theory, the following quotes attributed to Socrates might have been not only recorded by, but credited to, Plato (as well as others Greek to me):

Wisdom begins in wonder.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

To find yourself, think for yourself.

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.

I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

But why should Plato and a few of his fellow G(r)eeks get all the credit for handing down what Socrates supposedly said? I may not be quite as ancient as they, but I go back far enough to be able to confide with the utmost confidence that Socrates never denied saying the following:

Wisdom begins in wonder….and ends the same way.

There’s no fool like an old fool. (On the other hand, some of us “old fools” prefer to think of ourselves as misanthropically eccentric seniors.)

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. (Or, you could just pay your electric bill on time.)

My wife would talk to a wooden Indian. (That’s why I keep a wooden Indian around the house.)

All’s well that ends well. (Well, I don’t know about that….but I suppose if it was good enough for the doomed Socrates, it’s good enough for the likes of Shakespeare and mistermuse.)