Philosophers in a Pub – A Comic Short Story

“We are running late already, where is he?” Aristotle turns his head towards the highly agitated Plato, puts a hand around his back and says, “Anybody can become angry, that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy; besides you know what he is like when he is with Xenophon”.
“Well, don’t be envious, my dear friend, I am sure he loves you the same,” Plato remarks with a playful smirk and a nudge to Aristotle, “Oh shut it! Look, there he is that old fool, finally!”
“Alright my pupils I hope you haven’t been waiting for a while, Xeno just gripped me in an interesting discussion and I lost track of time.”
“Yeah, I am sure he gripped you alright,” Plato says under his breath.
“What’s that you say, Plato?”
“Oh nothing, Socrates, you know how he is. Let’s go get something to drink,” Aristotle kicks Plato on the shin while covering up for him.
So the master and his pupils enter their usual pub, “Zeus Was Here”. They sit in their usual corner and order three pints each of Athens’s finest. Socrates, a well rounded individual with firm philosophies on life and a serious perceptive approach to the everyday conduct of the world is well known among his colleagues for losing all his demeanour when drunk and so Plato remarks, “He was a wise man who invented beer, don’t you think so, master”.
“Worthless people live only to eat and drink; people of worth eat and drink only to live”.
“You are drunk without even taking a sip.”
To which Aristotle replies, “He is drunk on his dear Xeno.”
Socrates is taken aback by such an allegation, which, although is seemingly true but today is not the day to admit it. “False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.”
Aristotle knows that his master is right and feels a bit ashamed of his rather childish behaviour but hates the fact that he considers Xenophon as his best pupil. Plato on the other hand is all the more anxious to spur them both on. Plato is well known for his mischievous nature in all of Athens and he takes great pleasure in getting Socrates drunk and livid, which leaves him thoroughly entertained, feeling his time has been well spent.
Plato turns to Aristotle in a comforting manner and says to him, “As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent.”
Socrates stomps his palm on the table and says, “Do not quote me in a misleading context young Plato, anyways I am feeling a little dry, let’s have another round.”
“There was a very precarious notion that Xeno raised today, he said fast is fine but accuracy is everything. What do you both think about that?” Plato gives a sharp glance towards Aristotle who is sitting with his second pint in a humorous cross face and says, “Well I guess, better a little which is well done than a great deal imperfectly.” Aristotle bursts out laughing and says, “The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.”
Socrates with his nose red with anger says, “The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand fold.”
Plato exclaims, “Oh that is good, I might use that.”
“You may certainly not; God knows what you might transform it into. Besides that it’s mine and you cannot use it.”
“And who is going to believe that it is yours, what is your proof? We all know that you cannot write which is why we have to write all your ridiculous philosophies.”
“That is not true.” Socrates is furious with Plato, orders a third round and goes on, “That is a lie, you take too much credit for your folly’s sake; Gods too love a joke or two but remember I am no God.”
“I am sure of that; God would know how to write.” Aristotle falls off his chair laughing at that.
Plato continues, “I am for certain going to use that; along with that I shall write a detailed critical summary of Xenophon’s persistent urge for accuracy from you, poor sore Xeno.”
“One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him”. Aristotle gathers himself back to his chair and calls for a fourth round, “Or, master, you can just admit defeat with dignity.”
“He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy,” said Socrates and gulped his pint in one go. Plato shifts a bit closer to Socrates and says to him, “There’s a victory, and defeat; the first and best of victories, the lowest and worst of defeats which each man gains or sustains at the hands not of another, but of himself.”
Socrates trying to calm himself reverts to his pensive manner and says, “You both are too young to understand such things, my dear pupils, though honest but young, an honest man is always a child, and like a child always plays with fire when knowing he should not.”
“Then Xenophon’s lover not only an old man, but also a drunkard, becomes a second time a child, just admit it.” Aristotle adds to his friend’s teasing and says, “There is no great genius without a mixture of madness, albeit be your madness in Xenophon’s passionate arms but that be your madness.”
“I shall not stay to be mocked by you clowns, for though we love both the truth and our friends, piety requires us to honour the truth first.”
To which Aristotle replies, “Oh that is good too, I might use that one.”
Socrates pushes his chair aside, stands up in fury and says with a definitive tone to his voice, “Use it and go to hell with it, both of you, thou wilt find rest from vain fancies if thou doest every act in life as though it were thy last.”
“And that one too,” bellows Aristotle with most of the beer still in his mouth. Socrates defeated by his pupils lets out a roar, shoves the table aside, and finally leaves the pub in anger with Aristotle and Plato laughing in a fit. Plato says to Aristotle, “How much do you reckon he will remember of this in the morning?”
“Forget about that, think about poor Xenophon, he won’t be getting much accuracy tonight.”

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