Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reindeer Games

Mr. Bach
"If I can't drink

my bowl of coffee three times daily,

then in my torment I will shrivel up

like a piece of roast goat."

J.S. Bach from the Coffee Cantata

Today in the break room, I brought up a question that has been puzzling me for a while.  A popular parlor game/ice breaker is posing the question "If you could meet anyone alive or dead, who would it be?"  However, there are many missing parameters that trouble me.  For instance, if you chose to meet Joan of Arc, would it be necessary to be fluent in Medieval French?  Or what if I was eager to meet Queen Victoria only to find she was scandalized my my loose hair and visable ankles.  Where are am I meeting this person?  What place?  What century?

You see the trouble.

So I presented this question to my equally troubled curious co-workers over lunch, and together we came up with our own set of rules.

1.  Language and cultural barriers would not exist.  We work under the assumption that whomever we meet will understand our language and be familiar with our times.

2. You cannot gain monetarily from this encounter (believe it or not, this rule became necessary quite early in the conversation).

3.  If you chose to meet someone who has died, their knowledge at the time of meeting would not include anything that happened after death.

4.  You can set the time spent together anywhere from one hour to one week.  This was a compromise.

5.  Meeting location to be determined by you.  The person who chose Cleopatra didn't want to spend an afternoon in Egypt without air conditioning.

Others were vying for a modern day apartment set in the ancient times.  But let's be realistic.

Here are is a sample of people's choices.

Cleopatra - M wanted to know what it could possibly have been about her that caused such a ruckus, and he thought she'd have some interesting insight on the political activity of her day.  There was mention of asking her why she killed her children, but that doesn't sound safe to me.

Paul the Apostle - After R made his choice, he was urged to ask Paul "what exactly did he mean in 1 Corinthians 11?" and "did he have a wife?"  Then the conversation took quite another turn...

Plato - R took a long time making her choice.  Finally she decided on someone she finds fascinating but doesn't idealize. She thought it would be better to be made to think more highly of someone than to be disapointed when you realize everyone truly is human. 

Leonardo DaVinci - J was interested in the divirsity and creativity of DaVinci's experiences.  She also wanted to spend a week in Italy, because an hour would be equivalent to reading a Wikipedia article.

And my choice was Johann Sebastian Bach. 


1. He was a family man.  And I love big families.

2. He dedicated all his music to God.

3.. He wrote a Coffee Cantata.

4. When I listen to his music, I begin to feel that I know him.  But then I only want to know him better.

Since a meeting is probably not likely in the near future, I will content myself with some unaccompanied cello suites. 

Who would you want to meet?


  1. Pericles. Greeks are awesome.

    1. We have a lot to thank them for, that's for sure!

  2. Not to be melancholy, but I'd be happy to have an hour to snuggle with my baby daughter (who's currently in a NICU across town). She seemed really sweet when I met her before.

    I saw a performance of Bach's Coffee Cantata a few years ago. It was funny!

    1. I don't think that's melancholy, Carrie. I'm praying that you get to bring little Abigail home soon. I vividly remember the day Samuel was born, and I couldn't find a ride to the hospital. If she's anything like the rest of her family, I'm sure she's very sweet indeed.

      Bach's Coffee Cantata makes me laugh every time I read the lyrics. It is obvious that Bach had daughters!

  3. Am I allowed to say Jesus? I can't ever seem to figure him out --I think I'd like to talk with him and get a feel for what his real self is.

    1. I too would like to see Jesus during his earthly ministry. Although, I wonder if it would be just as difficult for us to comprehend his full humanity with his full diety. Thankfully we will have eternity to know "his real self."

  4. I would have to Agree with Elizabeth in saying J.S. Bach.
    His music is simply delightful to listen to and I would love to get some music writing tips from such a great composer.

    1. I didn't think about getting music tips. What a great idea!

  5. Toss up between Job and Catherine the Great...

    1. Those are opposite and interesting choices. If the opportunity arises to meet Job, may I suggest you not meet at his time and place. :)


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