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AMONG THE TREASURES LOOTED from the Iraqi National Museum was a copy of "The Dialogues of Pheron," an ancient Greek manuscript preserved by Arab scholars during the Middle Ages. Pheron, who lived several centuries prior to the birth of Jesus H. Christ, the main character of the Christian bible, founded a school of philosophy called mediocre. In these excerpts, Pheron grapples with weighty philosophical issues that merit discussion to this day, even though they make our heads hurt.

Child: Dear Pheron, I am sorry to interrupt what appears to be yourself doing laundry.

Pheron: It is not for you to worry. I do laundry for to appear presentable to others. It would not make sense to turn away company for the reason of doing something meant to impress company.

Child: Yes. You have often thankfully taught me to care what others think. However, I am troubled on another matter.

Pheron: Please. I wish very much for you to tell me of your troubles. I am, after all, not being sarcastic.

Child: Someone appears to have entered the home of myself and my mother and stolen much of our grain.

Pheron: That is truly the opposite of pleasant. But, I daresay that Eledian stole this grain you speak of.

Child: What a singular solution! How could you be so confident as to your knowing of this?

Pheron: Eledian is of the color of the most black of olives.

Child: I feel that there must be more to this solution.

Pheron: Many citizens think that those colored of the black olives steal, therefore, would it not make sense that Eledian, who is one of the black olive colored, stole your mother’s grain?

Child: But, you seem to have not considered those of light complexion who have shown themselves explicitly to hate my mother because of how she often steals food from them. They’ve also sworn to steal food back from her.

Pheron: Yes, but does not that Eledian have a weird way about him? All shifty eyed?

Child: Yes, that is true. But...

Pheron: Therefore, you can just tell he took the grain by the way he looks.

Child: Yes. Good point. Thank you, Pheron, for showing me this truth. But, however shall I obtain my mother’s grain from this Eledian?

Pheron: You should nicely ask him to return it.

Child: I would be startled if that were to work.

Pheron: Yes, I am merely breaking your balls. You should harm him.

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