Thursday, November 15, 2007

Outsmarting Your Ass

Frank Luger headshot by Frank Luger

The salt merchant’s ass was so laden and so thirsty that jumping into the river became inevitable. Behold! Thirst quenched and burden much eased. Alas, such repeated smartness spoiled enough merchandise to bring lash and curse - uselessly. Then, wisdom saw the ass laden with enough sponge to match the usual weight. Animal intelligence or not, this is how Man outsmarted... his ass.

Although anecdotal, the story is true. The wise merchant was none other than Thales (cca. 624-548 B.C.E.), the first great thinker in ancient Greece. Regrettably, the storyteller Plutarch fails to mention who the ass was.