Restrictio (re-strik’-ti-o): Making an exception to a previously made statement. Restricting or limiting what has already been said.
“Things change.” The ancient Greek Heraclitus said that after he reneged on a marriage contract and ran off to Phoenicia with his best friend’s mother. Unfortunately she fell overboard in a sudden storm and drowned. Undaunted, because of being prepared for change, no matter how drastic, Heraclitus bought the ship’s young cook Euthalia and sailed on to Phonecia, where Euthalia “fell” off a cliff and was killed. But Heraclitus was ready—he knew that change was inevitable, and that one had to yield to its power and see it as a beginning instead of an end. People began to question the parade of wives, or possible wives, through Heraclitus’ life. Was it the inevitability of change, or something more sinister? As the rumors started to circulate, Heraclitus decided to leave Phoenicia and go some place where nobody knew him. But, before he left, he gathered the Phoenicians and told them, “You can’t step into the same river twice.” The Phoenicians had just discovered irrigation and drainage ditches and were angered by Heraclitus’ reckless statement. They demanded that he recant and leave Phoenicia as swiftly as possible. They were so anxious for him leave, they booked him a first class ticket on Pegasus, whose hoof caused the fountain Hippocrene to spring forth from Mount Helicon.
Heraclitus was ready to go—more change, more openings for development and growth. Heraclitus opened a famed Indo-Greco restaurant in Madras, India called “Wine Dark Sea.” The restaurant had an extensive vegetarian menu and Heraclitus was a respected member of the community. His nan won awards, and he invented what he called the σάντουιτς, or santouits. It consisted of two pieces of nan, with something between them: this could range from spicy “Eggplant Mt. Olympus,” to “Sardine feta Boeotia.”
But, Heraclitus’ success was his undoing. As the man who celebrated change, once again things were changing. Heraclitus’ success at negotiating change prepared him, he thought, for what was coming. But he never could have been prepared for the ire of his Indian hosts when they heard of his story about stepping in the same river twice. When applied to the river Ganges, it was catastrophic.
Now, we get to the point I’m trying make this afternoon with this “story” that I got from “Big Boss Man” magazine, the number one magazine read by big boss men around the world.
I’ve made a lot of promises to you all: executives, line staff, laborers, part timers—to everybody. I envisioned a future that we would all romp into like nymphs and satyrs, bare-footed and spilling cups of wine all over each other. I thought there would always be a place for white patent leather Go-Go Boots in peoples’ lives. But, that place is no more. Now, it’s Doc Martins, or, Blundstones, or Birkenstocks. I should’ve seen it coming when Queen Elizabeth stopped wearing Go-Go Boots. But instead, I took out massive loans and built a Go-Go Boot factory in China. We haven’t sold a single boot this year. We are finished. Change has destroyed us. But as Heraclitus shows us, change can be a beginning of something better, something we couldn’t imagine without having our lives completely destroyed—without the searing pain and chaos and nearly unbearable feeling of betrayal that may induce some of you to want to kill me.
Now, everybody gets a $50 severance bonus to help pick up the pieces, glue them back together, and start again. Please don’t complain—“What will be will be, the future is not ours to see.” The future can’t be known, but we spend much of our lives planning for it. I tried. I had hopes. I had dreams. We have Tarot Cards. We have Horoscopes. If only our optimism could come to fruition—we’d all enthusiastically sing “Tomorrow” with Little Orphan Annie.
In the end, then, it all comes down to luck. So, I say “good luck” and viva Las Vegas.
Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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