Sunday, May 19, 2013

Latin CSI

So, finally, after years of trying to make it but being unable due to this or that, I attended the classics barbeque.  Good fracking god it was wonderful.  The food was good, the people were almost universally good, the war-ax throwing I sucked at (the war-hammer I didn't do so badly with), the robin's eggs were blue, I took 826 pictures as I am wont to do, I amused children with Rubik's cube like puzzles, the view was amazing, I didn't get a chance to try out the pool table, so on, so forth.  I finally got my life of Brian inspired t-shirt (ROMANESI EUNTITE DOMUSM), I'll show you a picture later because there has been some interest in getting some (12 dollars, US) and if you pay shipping (free if you meet me in person) I'll be happy to play middle man at no charge.

But what I want to talk about now is the stories, because by the gods they were hilarious.  In a very real sense you had to be there and I don't want to ruin things by trying to recapture a moment that can't be recaptured.  I instead want to tell you how the people telling the story came to know it in the first place.

You see, both of my teachers were called in by the police to translate Latin.  One of them assumed it must be a suicide note or something similar because what else would you write in Latin that the police needed to have translated?  Turns out it was an affair between a teacher and a student with the evidence being a series of emails between the two written in very bad Latin.  (Apparently the grammar was atrocious.)

And as the story was told a former student, now a Latin teacher, was looking on in shock at the teachers saying, "Why didn't you tell/warn me?" because he later got into a relationship with the student, who by chance or fate or whatnot ended up attending the college that the professors who translated her Latin affair emails for the police worked at.  And ended up taking their classes.  (And, I guess, dating one of their students.)

But the point isn't about a sordid affair between a teacher and a student, nor is it about the stalker who wrote stalkery poetry in well formed dirty-as-sewage Catullan verse (if you know Catullus you know that dirty as sewage is sort of appropriate for his style.)  No, the point is this: Study Latin because sooner or later the cops are going to need someone who can translate it, and if not you then who?


Also, CSI: The Latin Squad is probably a show that would make me start watching CSI again.

"Damn it, we need to know now!"
"I get that, but without more context it's impossible to know whether this is present subjunctive or future indicative.  I need more data.  I cannot make bricks without clay."


  1. A friend of mine was called in to deal with a serial book-murderer. He'd been sneaking pages of unique books out of a university library, photocopying them, then burning the originals. And he didn't label what any of them were! So once he was caught they had to try to work out where these thousands of anonymous bits of manuscript had come from...

  2. Wow, Firedrake, that is some story. Needs its own TV spinoff.

    Chris, sooo glad you got to go and have a good time.