Thursday, September 30, 2010

Alfonso's Quote

"If I had been present at creation, I would have given some useful hints"
- Alfonso the Wise (1221-1284)

Not knowing who Alfonso was, I looked him up. He was a king! Among things that he would probably rather be known for, he was the brother of Eleanor of Castile, who married Edward I of England (also known as Edward Longshanks). It all comes back to England somehow, in the end. If it doesn't...I'm not as interested.

But how funny is this quote? It seems as though Mr. the Wise has a dry sense of humor, which I can certainly appreciate. I've been told that I have a dry sense of humor, though exactly what this means I cannot explain. I've never heard of anyone as having a wet sense of humor, but the thought makes me wrinkle my nose in disgust.

But still, good old Alfonso was being quite funny some 700 years ago when he insinuated that he would have made some better choices about creation. I wonder what he would have changed?

I found out that he married a 10 year old girl who was thought to be barren for four years. He almost had the marriage annulled until she finally proved her fecundity by bearing him 10 children. Was he saying that he would have changed something about marriage or children? No doubt he had some ideas on how to make that whole business better, as he had several bastard children.

Or, as he was very learned, maybe he was angered by the often intense stupidity of man.

Maybe I'm crediting him too warmly. It could be that he wasn't upset with man as much as upset with God. After all, if man is dumb or marriage dull, we should just be irked by the one who made the whole lot!

Or, maybe he just saw an aardvark.

It was actually in reference to Ptolemy's treatise on astronomy. He thought it was so good that God should have taken advice when creating the heavens.

It doesn't seem as dry or funny now. I think he might have meant it literally. Maybe this is wet humor? Wet humor = when you are being serious but other people think you are a bit ridiculous. If that makes sense, I have another example: marrying a 10 year old girl.

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