“If you see a fork in the road, take it.”

This statement has always raised the hackles of the determinists, with its implication of free will. I’m more of a compatibilist, in the manner of Hobbes, positing that freedom is an innate attribute of the individual, rather than some abstract notion of will. I’ve never held to the sort of dreary Calvinism that chains one to a savage deity who has foreknowledge of our sins and suffering and yet is unable or unwilling to intervene due to some mistaken notion of predestination. And, in that spirit, yes, I will eat my salad with my dinner fork. After washing it, of course. You never know where that road has been.

“Wherever you go, there you are.”

Because are you not still yourself, with all your achievements and positive attributes as well as your foibles? In the end, you can never run away from who you really are. I’m still not too old to embark on a little mind excursion now and again—toying with the existential, as it were.

“Always go to other people’s funerals;
otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”

Clearly, I do believe in reincarnation, though more the Platonic view of rebirth, as a purification of the soul and a liberating return to a state of pure being, rather than the Brahmanic samsara, with its cycles of karmic debt. Don’t get me started—I could go on all day.

“Baseball is 90 percent mental,
and the other half is physical.”

This seeming logical fallacy had been gnawing at me for years, until the solution recently hit me, right in the middle of a thought exercise in imaginary-number theory—I can whiteboard the calculations, if you’re interested. It’s all thanks to some shattering concepts in advanced geometry, particularly regarding the vertical axis of the complex-number plane, which allow the numbers to be presented orthogonal to the real axis. What was it Samuel Clemens said? “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Quite apropos—or is it just me?

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

Déjà vu is innately repetitive, so I think my premise speaks for itself. Nietzsche, with his representation of eternal recurrence in Thus Spake Zarathustra, would certainly agree. As would Zarathustra’s dwarf.

“Even Napoleon had his Watergate.”

Perhaps I should clarify. Napoleon’s self-coronation in 1804 could indeed be viewed as a military putsch that led to the first modern totalitarian regime. Very much in line with Nixon’s controversial statements to David Frost in his 1977 interview, wherein he outlined his theories on the unitary executive. In the end, merely an elaborate attempt to excuse his involvement in the break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Not that the Federalist Society would agree with me, mind.

“If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

How could it be? What with the inherent flaws of a dualistic universe—light and dark, positive and negative, yin and yang. No, it’s an imperfect world conceived by an imperfect god. Help us, frail creatures that we are.