On an especially hot August afternoon with a deadline approaching and no
column written, I got to wondering what some famous persons from the
past might have written if they were faced by the same situation.
I wonder what Plato would have written if he had had a deadline with
the Athens Times. One week he might have written about education. The
schools are straying from the method of teaching developed by my beloved
teacher, Socrates. Young men need to learn how to make ethical
decisions. They must be taught how to think and the best way to teach
them is to use the Socratic method of questions and answers. The
schools need to pay more attention to this.
Hmm. School critics aren't new.
Confucius might have been disgusted at some of the columns he read, so
he wrote his own column containing the rules every writer should take
"If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant;
If what is said is not what is meant, than what must be done remains
undone. If this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate;
If justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless
Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said."
Abigail Adams might have written something like this. The men are in
Philadelphia writing a constitution for our new country. I do hope they
will remember the ladies, and have written John urging him to do that.
But I fear the worst. He laughed and wrote back, "Depend on it. We
know better than to replace our masculine system . . . which would
subject us to the despotism of the petticoat." But we will keep
trying. I do believe that it is essential that we educate women. I
must be sure that my son John Quincy is aware of my feelings about the
rights of women, as he shows early signs of being interested in
Sir Isaac Newton might have said written this. I got a headache that
day. I was sitting out in the orchard day-dreaming under an apple tree
when an big old apple fell on my head. I wasn't much of a student, but
I did get to wondering why the apple fall on me instead of flying up to
the top of the tree. I decided to quit goofing off and get an
education, and some time later I discovered why the apple fell. It was
a force called "gravity."
Susan B. Anthony's words would probably have burned the paper. Are
women persons? Who would have the hardihood to say we are not Being
persons, we are citizens and no State has the right to make any law
which shall abridge our privileges. Way to go, Susan.
Henry VIII would probably have written advice on marriage. Marriage is
a great institution, the more the better. If your first wife does not
produce a son, you can always change wives. Divorce is easiest, but if
that fails there are other methods.
Eleanor Roosevelt did write a column, full of information and wisdom.
One week she might write one based on her famous words, "No one can make
you feel inferior without your consent." She was as unpopular as any
presidential wife who is a thinker and speaks out loud, and she might
have ended her column with, "Hey, quit whining and get on with it."
And we must have a column from our president. Washington Post writer
Richard Thompson collected actual quotes from George W. Bush and
arranged them, for aesthetic purposes, into a poem, "Make the Pie
Higher" It was all over the Net during National Poetry Month and here is
a portion of it.
"I think we all agree, the past is over... This is still a dangerous
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty And potential mental losses.
Is our children learning? How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me. I am a pitbull on the pantleg of
Families is where our nation finds hope, Where our wings take dream.
Make the pie higher. Make the pie higher."
Unfortunately none of these writers met their deadlines, which is too
bad. They all had something to say.