Monday, February 07, 2011

O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;*

Once upon a time early in his reporting career Verity Jones of WGNC-TV covered the trial of Sheriff Miles Upright when the US DOJ indicted him on felony charges.

And despite the fact that ten years had passed since that final on-camera interview with the defendent, Verity continued to ponder the entire situation especially the lawman's parting comments.

What did he mean when he looked straight into the television camera and said ~

Read your Shakespeare!

Sipping his cognac in the Men's Grille at the country club, Verity was alone with his thoughts.

Read your Shakespeare!

The words haunted him.

He could recall the plot of Romeo and Juliette from high school English class and could still recite a few lines from Hamlet's *To Be or Not To Be* soliloquy.  Did it count for something that last year he'd taken his wife to the Shakespeare Tavern for dinner?

But actually sitting down alone in a peaceful and quiet place, handling a book, opening the volume, turning the pages, and reading all the lines of just one of the bard's plays?

That he'd never done.

Verity regretted never following up directly with Upright to ask exactly what he'd meant by that exhortation:  three simple words... spoken clearly and directly into the young reporter's microphone when leaving the courthouse after the sentencing.

Verity continued to be confused about the way the case play out.  Justice seemed overshadowed by politics.  The sheriff had a wide reputation for doing what was right and honorable.  Somehow the fraud investigation had backfired.

How did Upright get caught in all this intrigue?

It didnt make sense.  The sheriff was not easily fooled.

Just last week at the sheriff's funeral, citizens and family alike lauded his charisma and character.   He knew when to be silent and how to be patient.  He thought before he acted.  He protected the community.

Read your Shakespeare!

The evocative effects of the cognac were wearing off and Verity finished brooding.

On the way home he stopped at the bookstore.

It was past time to soldier up.

*Virgil, in Book I of the Aeneid:

O Muse! the causes and the crimes relate;
What goddess was provok'd, and whence her hate;
For what offense the Queen of Heav'n began
To persecute so brave, so just a man; [...]

(John Dryden translation, 1697)

Bonus Link:  Who's Afraid?

Link added 7/9/2105 *Best Business Book*

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