Quaeries #6: Doctor Smith His Demise

Justin E. H. Smith

Zyloprim-1 O Isaac? Isaac! Come forthwith! The clamp 'round my gouty ankle must needs be tighten'd. That's right, Isaac. The left ankle. Yes, my loyal Clampsman. Just like that.

Do you know what I've been doing, Isaac? I've been reading about comic sections. Do you know what those are? They are the Curves produced by the Intersection of a Conus by a Plane. Now look here, Isaac. There are not only Circles and Ellipses so form'd, but e'en edifying Parabolae and whimsical Hyperbolae. Some are most comical indeed!

What's that, Isaac? You say it's 'conic' sections about which the immortal Euclid held forth, and not 'comic' sections?

Now, Isaac, did you see a Signe hanging o'er the Door of my den, warning “Let no one enter here who is ignorant of Mathematics?” You didn't? Well that's why you're allowed in, you Orang-Outang! You are here to tighten my ankle-Clamp, not to out-do the great Roberval.

Now, to our Quaeries.

Firstly, for some period, o'er a decade of Years ago now, we repeatedly heard that jubilant Declaration: Whoomp, there it is! What was discover'd at that time, precisely? A great Treasure of Portuguese Bullion? El Dorado? Verulam's Fountain of Youth? In what barbaric Tongue, furthermore, does whoomp translate the wise Archimede's elegant exclamation, εὕρηκα? Wherefore, finally, did the Jubilation cease so suddenly? Was this Discovery at length only a Fata Morgana?

Whence, moreover, all this talk of 'Wikileaks'? Wiki, we suppose, is of the same Lingua Hottentotica as whoomp, but what is leaking 'round here besides my woe-ridden joints? Information, you say? First of all, Isaac, you know not to interrupt me once I've begun. But more importantly how could 'Information' be a-leaking and a-flowing when we are unable to receive so much as a single sensible Reply to our Quaeries?

It is said that the dux of what is left of Rome, a certain Berlusconus, is known for taking pleasure in what is call'd the 'Bunga-Bunga'. Now evidently this is a sort of ars amatoria imported from those same Hottentotical regions that have given us wiki and whoomp. But we wish to know who would feign prohibit the very Ruler of Rome, who is no reckless youth like Heliogabalus, but a man of years and stature, from going in for such Delectations? What common plebs dares tell this Caesar not to indulge his Desires, yea, e'en when the foremost among them is to cavort upon the Bed of Waldemir Poutine?

And whence comes it that this Poutine, Ruler of all Muscovy, most of foul Tartary, and assorted Borderlands, should lend his very Name to a Dish of Earth-Apples, Cheese-Curde, and Browne-Sauce, otherwise belovèd onely of the Forest-Dwellers of New France?

O to the Devil with these senseless Quaeries! As if this had any-thing to do with Lord Bacon's Project for the Advancement of Learning. I've had quite enough. Let's look at more of those comical sections. But bring the good ones. The ones with Eccentricity.

Isaac, I'm sorry. I've been so irrascible of late. So controll'd by the Passions. Not the womanly Passions (ut de passionibus virium taceam!), but the Passions of a Childe. I move from puerile Delight to the greatest Mournfulnesse as if for no Reason at all. I cannot work. I cannot ratiocinate. Nay, Isaac, 'tis clear. I am not long for this World.

Tell me, though, do you think they'll print a Notice of my Death in the Transactions of the Society? Or will Squibb, that old Booby, seek to prevent it on these grounds alone, that I compar'd his Wife to the Bahama Mer-Cow lately dissected at Gresham's Caffè-House? I meant it in the mythological sense, I did! You know, the Sirens, &c. 'Tis not my fault if upon the very mention of Mrs. Squibb the old man thought onely of the Gutts and Blubber display'd on the dissecting Table.

No matter. What is a Memorial in a small Journal, whose pages will onely yellow and rot with the passing of cruel Time?

No Isaac, do you know the one Thing that might make this old senex happy for a moment? For you to massage my ankle. You know, just the way you do.

There now, yes. That's the way… O, quam dulce

To be continu'd, God willing…

To read the earlier installments in this series of Quaeries, go here, here, here, here, and here.

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