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If Epictetus Were Alive Today If Epictetus Were Alive Today
by Adam Graupe
2010-05-28 09:00:17
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DEAR EPICTETUS: "Ethan" and I have been married 36 years. He's a good and caring husband, but he has a habit that irritates me no end. He opens our mail -- whether it's addressed to him or not.

I have nothing to hide and I always show or mention what I receive. I don't open mail that's addressed to him and would appreciate the courtesy of being able to open mail that's addressed to me. However, Ethan won't stop and insists that there is nothing wrong with what he's doing.

I'm about to the point of opening a post office box in my name and having my mail sent there, but it seems silly to go to that extreme. Am I being overly sensitive? -- FRUSTRATED IN GILMER, TEXAS

DEAR FRUSTRATED: Oh, silly mortal:  it is not he who reviles or blows you who insults you, but your opinion that these things are insulting.  Has Zeus not given you a will and power that even he cannot destroy?  If you fear not Zeus, why fear this husband of yours?  He is but a corpse with a quart of blood. 

DEAR EPICTETUS: I have a question that isn't earth-shaking, but concerns a lot of people my age. Each year as I grow older and read my friends' obituaries I think about my own and how I would personally like mine to read. I would like to spare my family the difficulty of trying to sort through the details of my life.

I'm wondering just what is supposed to go into an obituary. As a professional, I have information about that side of my life. It's the personal part I'm wondering about. Are there any rules on this? What is expected or accepted? I'm sure there are others who would also welcome suggestions on this. -- THINKING AHEAD IN EAU CLAIRE, WIS.

DEAR THINKING AHEAD: When did I tell you I was immortal?  No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen. 


DEAR ABBY: I have been searching for a new job (unbeknownst to my current employer), and have been fortunate enough to get a few interviews. For the most part, they have been scheduled during business hours. I feel guilty making excuses to get out and attend them.

What would your advice be for someone in my position? Is there a better way to get around having to make up excuses to my employer? -- FEELING GUILTY IN TEXAS

DEAR FEELING GUILTY:  You are a foul sinner committing human folly! I mean, really, you are getting paid to do a job and thoust goes behind Nero’s back to seek new counsel?  For shame. 

Oh, Zeus, send me what trial thou whilt!


Dear Epictetus is written by Epictetus.   Write Dear Epictetus at www.DearEpictetus.com or 374 Domitian Road, Nicopolis, Greece.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (Greek funds only) to: Dear Epictetus -- Wedding Booklet, 378 Musonius Road, Athens, Greece. (Postage is included in the price.)


(Note, the above questions are from Dear Abby, May 23, 2010)


The author consulted the following works in writing this story:

Epicurus, Epictetus, Titus Lucretius Carus, and Marcus Aurelius.  W.J. Oates, Editor.  The Stoic and Epicurean Philosophers.  Random House.  1940.   

Epictetus.  The Enchiridion.  Dover Publication. 2004.

F.H. Sandbach. The Stoics.  Norton.  1991. 

Tom Wolfe.  A Man in Full.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux.  1998.

William B. Irvine.  A Guide to the Good Life:  The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy. Oxford University Press.  2008.

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