Every school year started with the same fantasy.
On the first day of class, I would sit down in the back and not say a word. The teacher, after assaying the course curriculum would bring up a contentious point or perhaps a question about a particular text we were to study.
‘Any thoughts?’ they would ask.
I would remain silent.
Someone would raise their hand with an answer. Another person would offer their thoughts in response to this. A heated debate would break out. The teacher would intervene ‘Very good! Very very good! But neither of you are exactly right. Does anyone else have anything to say?’
My hand goes up.
The teacher smiles, ‘Very interesting Will, I never thought of it that way but that’s incredibly true and poignant.’
People would stare back in awe.
The reality of the matter is that I couldn’t shut up. Whether I wanted to or not I usually said something stupid within the first ten minutes. Then I was stuck with it all year.
In hindsight it was blessing.
Being wise is tough. Really being labeled anything is hard but being called a ‘Wise’ must be doubly difficult.
King Solomon is living proof. Two reasons:
1. People come to you for any problem. I’m not talking matters of state, economic policy or social welfare. I’m talking two ladies bringing in a baby and arguing whose it was. He must have felt like Jerry Springer and Judge Wapner rolled into one.
2. You can never screw up. Being called wise more or less sets you up for a life of people constantly judging you. Can’t add up change in your head? And they called YOU wise? Got the wrong size trash bags? REALLY, YOU, WISE? It must be how people who went to Harvard feel.
Granted, for a wise king he did mess up quite a few things. It has been said that he had nearly 700 wives and 300 concubines including the daughter of Egyptian Pharaoh and that in doing so helped to create a sandbank that gave rise to the Roman empire that destroyed the second temple. There are also stories of him releasing the demon king Asmodeus into the world after being tricked and spat out 400 miles away only to be made a beggar. He may have made a few slip ups, but as far as child custody goes, he was a wise guy.