Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Questions and Coincidences

Last week I was going to write a blog about Socrates, ninjas and pirates. You might be thinking about how that all went together. To keep you from hurting your brain about it, the concept was this- Socrates was a fan of asking questions. Some were important, some... not so much. But he overlooked one major question: who would win in a fight between a ninja and a pirate? It then devolved into various bear versus shark scenarios and other such hypothetical mental puzzles. Seeing as all the above was extremely lame, I erased it.

Then, in retaliation for my deletion, the cosmic Socrates/ninja/pirate flood gates opened. On my way home from work Wednesday, a radio ad mentioned Socrates in relation to an online dating service. I've never heard it before or since. Thursday morning McSweeney's posted a story on their website with Socrates as an infomercial huckster (a la Billy Mays). Friday I'm sent an e-mail about the comic book Action Philosophers in which philosophers (like Socrates) are represented as action heroes (like ninjas and pirates). Saturday I was stopped in the street by a balding, gray-bearded man asking me questions. The questions though were less philosophical and more practical such as, "do you have any change?" and "are you going to eat that?" But still, there's a spooky correlation, no?

Later that afternoon I am at a craft event where I see someone wearing a handmade shirt that states, "Fight like a ninja, party like a pirate." Also seen? Pillows in the shapes of both (and in the shape of a ham hock, but that's another story). Then on Monday when I was checking out books to a kid at the front desk, apropos of nothing he says to me, "I like ninjas... and pirates!" No visible stimulus would have prompted this comment. He had no books on either topic and behind me were only drawings of animals diving into water. True, the act of diving (depending on the size of the splash) could fall into ninja and/or pirate related skills, but that's a stretch.

So the question is, have I stumbled onto some sort of bizarre cultural zeitgeist or am I becoming a Pynchonian/Lynchian type paranoid who is reading far too much into the mundane nature of random coincidence? What would Socrates have to say about that?
posted by jw