Write a wise saying and your name will live forever.
Ever since elementary school, I had been exposed to quotes from someone named “Anonymous.” He was a perplexing character as quotes of his ranged from wise to whimsical to crude to oddly modern. Whenever I would ask who he was, people would always tell me “no one knows.” Well, this confounded me. How could someone so wise and so well-quoted be such an enigma? Perhaps he was a hermit, only speaking to monks or messengers, hiding away in some mountain centuries ago.
I am currently a teacher of rational mathematics at a local community college. It is merely something for a paycheck as I don’t believe in the practice of mathematics. I am a scholar. And to my understanding, Anonymous was not a mathematician.
I was reading a dictionary one day and happened upon his name. I was quite surprised; this man was so famous that he had a word coined after him. It was defined as “someone who is unknown or not acknowledged.” Well, that would seem to fit with what is known about Anonymous, himself. My hypothesis about him having been a hermit was gaining more ground. The definition said that the word was derived from Greek. Well, now I had an angle! Anonymous was Grecian.
I went to the college’s library to see if I could scrounge up anymore information on the identity of Anonymous. I found nil. I searched online and discovered an Internet cult who performed terrible deeds in his name. They veiled themselves with masks resembling, from what I could tell, Cyrano de Bergerac. It seemed a very odd juxtaposition. I decided to go with my only lead: Greece.
I browsed the Web further in an attempt to seek more answers and, while perusing Amazon, I made a startling discovery. Someone had already published a book about Anonymous! Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous was the name of the text and its author was Don Foster. Well, I thought, I’ll publish my own book as a response to his. I must learn all I can about Anonymous.
After months of scrimping and preparing, I was able to book a flight to Greece, where I would start my search for the mysterious sage. The flight was long, but thankfully my seat neighbor was an interesting and chatty fellow. At one point during our conversation, he said: “There’s an old saying which goes ‘don’t count your chickens before they hatch.’” I asked if he knew who had first said it and he said that he didn’t think anyone knew. Surely it must have been Anonymous!
We landed in Athens early in the morning. I was tired, but I did not want to waste any daylight sleeping. I went straight for my hotel and retrieved the key to the room I had booked. Since I had the attendant’s attention, I asked her if she knew anything about Anonymous. She seemed confused by my query. I left her then and proceeded to my room, where I threw down my luggage and went out into town.
I decided that if anything in Athens had info on Anonymous, it would be a library. I walked to the Vallianios National Library and approached a clerk inside. Her name plate read “Βαρβάρα.” I asked if they had any books on Anonymous. I received another confused reaction. Then the clerk suggested a book on Etymology. I said that I was not interested in the word, but the person. More confusion came over the clerk’s face before asking me to wait for a moment. She left and returned with an old text which was coated in thick dust, the cover was wrinkled, and the binding was coming undone. There was no author listed anywhere on or within the bible. I was told that the author was Anonymous. Of course! It had never dawned on me sooner. Of course such a sage would also be an author!
I thanked the clerk and took a seat at a table to peruse this possibly ancient manuscript. Unfortunately, I could not read it as it was written in Greek. I went back to the clerk and asked for a book which translated Greek into English, and was successful in obtaining one. However, all I had the patience to make out was the title: An Analysis of World Governments in the Seventeenth Century. It would appear that Anonymous had also been a prophet like Nostradamus.
Certainly if he had written one book, he had written numerous. But my time in Greece was limited to the weekend and I could not afford to pay late fees on top of mailing fees should the books not be returned by the postal service on time. So, I wandered the city until dusk fell. When I returned to the hotel, I caught a glance of some art on the wall. It was an oil painting with a small plaque screwed to the frame reading “Mount Olympus.” A light went on in my head. The realm of the gods! My theory of his hermitage might still ring true. Surely he would have been accepted by the gods for his wisdom.
The following day, I chartered a bus to Litochoro, situated at the base of the Olympian mountain. Being the “City of Gods,” surely people here would know of Anonymous. Perhaps Anonymous even resided in this town at some point.
I decided to hire a tour guide to hike me up the mountain. I prodded him about information pertaining to Anonymous, but he seemed clueless. I chalked it up to the historical nature of Anonymous.
The trek was long and arduous, as I had never hiked such a distance before. As we ascended, I saw no traces of housing ruins or even caves. When we came upon the stretch of rock scramble, I determined that Anonymous, being as wise as he was, would not have traversed such conditions for living. It would have been too much hassle to climb every day.
Then inspiration struck. Perhaps he had lived on the mountain, but perhaps did not have to cross the mount. The gods would have most certainly recognized and acknowledged his great wisdom. Perhaps they gifted him with godhood! Such an honor would have been nigh befitting for such an enlightened individual. Anonymous had risen to dwell with the other deities. I decided that the rise of Christianity and the fall of the “pagan” mythos’ would have attributed to the lack of knowledge on Anonymous. He had likely attained godliness near the end of the pantheon’s reign.
I got down on bended knee and clasped my hands in prayer to the wise Anonymous before asking my guide to return to town with me.
I returned home and decided to publish my findings. I titled the manuscript Finding Anonymous, even though I had never actually found him, and had the college publish it. However, I had forgotten to put my name on the document so no one will know who authored it. No matter. I was enamored that I had gone through this experience and become enlightened. I returned home with the first printing and tucked myself in for the night. But before I did, I prayed to the wise god Anonymous and thanked him for making me his prophet.