A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.—Brutus, Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 15–19
Yeah, yeah, we all know the Shakespearian version of how Caesar’s death went down. If that version were true, one might wonder why an extremely superstitious person like Julius Caesar didn’t stay home from the Senate that day. Take a look at Plutarch’s Life of Julius Caesar, though, and the oracle’s statement lacks the drama ol’ Willie gave it. Transliterating the Greek into contemporary English, it comes off more like, “Hey, ya’ might wanna watch your step there around the 15th of March or so.” Go ahead, toss in a Brooklyn accent and give the oracle a wide-brimmed grey fedora to hide his face, just for effect. We can see where Julius might not have thought homicide was in the offing for the day.
We assume that since JC and Brutus had that fatal encounter that the oracle’s prophecy was fulfilled. What if that wasn’t the Ides of March the soothsayer had in mind, though? What if his divination applied to a time much further into the future, a time that an ancient Roman would not have understood, one where the calendar was the only thing he recognised? What if that most fateful of March Ides has yet to happen?
Granted, a number of other bad things have happened on this date. Russia’s Czar Nicholas II didn’t find March 15 especially hospitable. Czechoslovakia was effectively wiped off the map on this date in 1939. My guess is CBS show runners still steer clear of Les Moonves today after the network had the balls to cancel “The Ed Sullivan Show” on this date. If one is even the tiniest bit superstitious, it’s best to just stay home and nap, which is pretty much what I’d like to do.
There’s always that chance, though, that the worst is yet to come. So, just to stoke those fires of fear and imagination, here are a few things that could make the Ides of March much, much worse than being stabbed in the back by your best friend.
- A very clumsy knife salesman could show up at your front door. This is why it is smart to keep your front door blocked with litter boxes. At least, that’s what we do. Any danger attempting to come through our front door gets stuck in cat poop. So far, that’s been a very strong deterrent. I’ve not had a single knife salesman show up in the past two years.
- The Internet could die. There’s a tremendous amount of redundancy built into the structure of the Internet, but a significant amount of communication between the US and the rest of the world is carried through a series of trans-ocean cabling and a shit ton of financial transactions take place on the Internet using that cabling. Cut these cables and we’re looking at full-scale economic meltdown faster than you can say, “Have you tried unplugging it and plugging it back in?”
- Weather could happen, especially if you live in Southern Louisiana or Texas. I’m guessing Shreveport is a rather moist place to be today and Interstate 10 is closed in some places. Some 3000 people were being evacuated last I looked. Those folks are not having a good Ides of March, but then, the past seven days haven’t been much of a picnic, either. The rest of the world, from what I can tell, is doing rather well in the weather department.
- The FBI could ask you to unlock your phone. Okay, so maybe you’ve not actually killed anyone yet, but you might have expressed some frustration toward a certain presidential candidate or four and we all know the NSA is watching that crap so they don’t have a repeat of the whole Bobby Kennedy thing. So, they could show up and ask to look at your phone, just to make sure you were kidding, you know. Don’t expect Tim Cook to have your back, he’s rather busy.
- Your parents could have named you Isis. I’m sure there’s some poor person out there who is currently looking into having their name changed because their mother, who was obsessed with ancient Egyptian mythology thought it would be cute to name their child after a goddess. We all know someone who’s suffered a similar misfortune. Talk about having a rough time getting credit …
- You could be an unpaid intern for a certain loud-mouthed presidential candidate. Talk about a perfect storm of bad luck. Interns, by job description, get all the worst assignments anyway, but to constantly have to put up with all that hot air and not get paid is a fate that may actually be worse than death. Don’t put this on your resumé.
- Starbucks could take your favorite drink off its menu. There are reasons I drink my coffee black. So many people I know are absolutely addicted to a very specific blend that only Starbucks baristas know how to make. Take these people to Italy and they are soooo screwed. Starbucks is known for switching up their menu from time to time. If they remove the wrong things, thousands of people just might die, or even worse, stab their barista.
- Your photographer could tell you his Dropbox has been hacked and those nude pictures you took for “someone special” are missing. Worse yet, #NakedHousewives just started trending. “Lucy, you have some ‘splainin’ to do.”
- Your lunch could be recalled 30 minutes after you ate it. There have been a lot of food recalls lately. You never know until it’s too late. That single-serve lasagna sure looked healthy in the picture on the cardboard container. Maybe you should have just eaten the cardboard.
- This could be your real life:
These are just some of the reasons we should beware every Ides of March. One just never knows exactly which one that old soothsayer meant. No one bothered to ask. Damn you, Caesar. You’ve doomed us all.