Monday, April 19, 2010
This is The Talkative Man by Theophrastus
After the death of Aristotle, Theophrastus became the new dean of the Lyceum in Athens, a position he held for forty years. His character sketches "These Are Them"- giving us a glimpse into life in 4th century (B.C.E.) Athens -were discovered two centuries after his death.
"During conversation, this man will respond to any remark with a claim to the contrary. He'll say he knows the whole story, that you've got it all wrong, just listen to him, etc. You might try to edge a comment of your own in there, but he'll immediately respond with something like "Hold on now, you've had your say'" or "That reminds me of something else" or "You're an impatient one, huh?" Suppose someone innocently asks this man what went on in a council meeting. Well, he'll do more than give a full report: somehow he'll work in mentioning some old Athenian battle, which inevitably will make him recall the Spartans' victory under Lysander, his memories of giving speeches while a minor public official, a rumor decades old, a joke that he's told you before. This is the guy, in other words, whom you do not want on a jury. When he goes to dinner parties he is called "the chattering parrot." Really the only people with any patience for this man are children nearing their bedtime. They beg him to tell them stories to help them fall quickly asleep."
Thank the Heavens she's not senile, with nothing AT ALL to say!