March 11, 2013 6:11:02 AM
The Ides of March are somehow more mysterious and more ominous than the middle of any other month. We owe some trepidation of this date to the murder of Caesar in 44 B.C. He was warned to "beware" by a haruspex, a seer who makes predictions by reading the entrails of sacrificed animals. Evidently, the livers of sheep and poultry were just the thing before we had newspaper horoscopes and Internet Feng Shui. Oh well, accurate though this one was, any prophecy is only good if we take heed.
As it turns out, the Ides of March inspired a bit of anxiety even before Caesar was stabbed 23 times by his buddy Brutus and other senate conspirators. The ancient Romans believed that, at this time, the full moon brings high tides and the sea succumbs to chaos.
I suppose we should be glad that our elected officials, both on local and national levels do not show up with daggers. (Or do they?) There is enough animosity between the political parties, not to mention on our own city council, to make us wonder if someone might be on the verge of unsheathing a concealed weapon. I'm not especially worried about that. In Columbus, the politicians have a good "grasp" of headlock techniques. That ought to serve for now.
And why should I agonize about high tides and chaotic seas either? This week my email brought some very good news from someone named Patrick Allen. Patrick claims to be "a staff of Canadian private security company stationed in Iraq." For some reason, he wants to share 32.7 million dollars with me. All I have to do is respond and protect his identity. What could possibly go wrong? After all, just like those Nigerian princes who keep writing to me, he has only generosity and my best interests at heart.
We are all familiar with the idiom "March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb." Most of us in the Golden Triangle are probably hoping that mid-March brings some milder weather. This had been a brutal winter. Truthfully, in our area we got off pretty easily. We may have been unusually cold and rainy, but were spared the horrible blizzards, floods and droughts, as well as the influences of El Niño and La Niña that plagued some other parts of the country. (Darn those immigrants!)
This year Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow when he popped up for a look around. That was supposed to mean that we would have an early spring. Sorry, Phil, this time you were slightly off. This first week of March has felt a lot like winter. (Note to editors: Check my column carefully. I am typing with gloves on.)
I am fascinated with the concept that the future can be predicted with the viscera of animals. With all of the hunters around here internal organs should be plentiful. Perhaps they could start a cottage industry -- venison, with a side order of prophecy. (Pay attention, Punxsutawney Phil; after your most recent miss, your handlers may be getting some ideas about another way to insure the accuracy of your predictions.)
I certainly hope that this part of Mississippi has a better month than Julius Caesar did those centuries ago. We may make a few political predictions about upcoming local elections. Those will be based on gut feelings, but probably not the guts of sacrificed animals. Let's hope, too, that the mayoral and city council races do not end with someone moaning with their last breath, "Et tu, Brute?" -- or any names more familiar to those of us who follow local politics.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.