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Ignatius Says Goodbye

Our fabled philosopher-in-residence bids farewell to Cairo, in his signature style.

I am a firm believer in the inspiring maxim “If at first you don't succeed, quit,” because downward spinning cycles of Fortuna's cruel wheel can not be reversed by the slow and painful enduring proposed by those heretics known as existentialists. Think not that there is any honour to be gained in petty perseverance, but rather be henceforth warned that quitting in a loud and furious fashion is actually one of the more noble actions that we meek inheritors of this wretched century can perform with pride.

I must say that the stain I have left behind, not to be confused with the one offhandedly ejaculated by my late father a good few years back, shall be talked about and debated by the too few scholars we have left in this world. My attempts to conjure a loving respect for the late Romans, most especially Boethius, failed miserably because many of you creatures cling to the ephemeral hope that human happiness has strong, unshakeable foundations when the obvious reality is that human happiness is but a boggy ground to build upon. Alas, you will soon realise that had you built a solid life foundation using the rules of geometry and physics, then you would have given yourself a slim chance at achieving the geo-spacial orientation required to determine whether Fortuna's wheel is spinning upwards, downwards, or spinning within another spin.

I journeyed to the Red Sea to prove my long-held belief that Moses is a phony of epic proportions, though he pales in the shadow of the pedantic legacy left behind by Mark Twain—whose modern veneration is primarily responsible for the intellectual stalemate of our century. After a horrid night of Egyptian whiskey, I avoided blindness and rose, albeit slowly, like the desert phoenix ready to descend upon those hypocritical pastoral wannabes known as the Transcendentalists with a fury all but unknown in the tame, moderate forests of New England. Let it be known that I smoke leaves of grass like them for breakfast.

Then I subjected my body and its accompanying odors to the small confines of an airplane, why I neglected to travel by camel like my distant nomadic forefathers the Lord only knows, as I headed to Dubai—a city built with the plastic used in toys that little kids choke on. No, I was not tempted by Dubai's snake charmers, but dismissively told them that my snake's not for petting—it bites.

Next, I embarked on an ill-fated journey to destroy an impediment to the most glorious force of nature on this planet, the mighty Nile. Traversing into the depths of the beginning of human civilisation, I battled malaria, hives, and appalling bouts of food poisoning in which no bodily orifice was spared to fulfill a mission that was near and dear to my nature-loving heart. Kurtz ain't got nothing on me. Drinking plenty of Ethiopian beer, for the sole reason of blending in with the locals, I staggered across the northern mountain tops of that mighty Rastafarian country. I tore down no walls; however, I did become a soothsayer by means of purchasing a holy priest's cane and endowing myself with all the phony powers of our absent minded creator. I returned to Cairo not wholly dejected, as I had become a holy man without succumbing to the base desire to add “lion” to my name, and I also managed to pack some Ethiopian children in my carry-ons. There is no doubt in my mind that, under my expert coaching and guidance, they will take all of the medals at the first Olympic marathon that I endeavour to enter them into. 

Yet all of us ape-like creatures eventually feel that tug towards the place of our birth. I, of course, resisted and enrolled immediately in a university thousands of miles and an ocean away from the members of my family with whom I still maintain a working relationship. No, not even the massive red ant colony in my Cairo kitchen nor the nice bearded men who gave me a hose shower in the street the other day can deter me from taking the path less travelled. This small sub-section of the world is undoubtedly much better off for having me stomp through it. I broke many things, among them hearts, faith, beliefs, doctrines, and beer bottles, but afterwards many of those people who were immediately disgusted but later thankful to have met me were stronger in the broken places. I can't possibly expect you to understand the deep and lasting impact that my intellectual force has left on this region of the world because this is something that I have yet to fathom. I too am a part of the continent, a piece of the main, and if a clod be washed away, then the Middle East will be the lesser.

Therefore never ask to know who just muddled everything up

Because it will be me.

Yours truly,

Ignatius [is] Donne