I don’t know about you, but when I am pondering life long ago, or sort of long ago, I am always thinking that it was boring back then but people were better, more honest, more moral. Surely all the crazy tacky behavior we read and hear about today is an invention of modern culture. Well, not so fast.
Trolling in the second hand book store recently, (for books), I found myself looking at a copy of Clair Tomalin’s acclaimed “Samuel Pepys, the Unequaled Self.” (That’s Pepys as in my “peeps.”)
Some will know that Pepys is perhaps the best known diarist in the world. For about ten years, from 1660-1669, he kept an extremely detailed diary of life in London as he prospered in a variety of positions related to the British Admiralty. It is through Pepys that we know about the Great Fire of London in 1666 and also about the plague that ravaged the City.
No detail was too big or small for the diary. He kept it in shorthand to protect the contents and when he was writing about his sexual activity, he also used non-English words as a further ruse to the casual reader. There are a lot of non-English words in the Diary.
I frankly had no idea. The scales, as they say, have fallen from eyes. Pepys, a 17th century man, would fit well and nicely in the 21st, which brings me to the story at hand.
The Daily Telegraph reports that one of Britain’s richest and most successful couples was arrested in late summer in an Orlando, Florida, nightclub bathroom stall that must have been really crowded. It seems that Mary Gorman, wife of Chris, was engaging in a consensual sexual act with a third party as Chris looked on. (That’s a decent enough bloke for you.) The trouble began when the police arrived, perhaps to issue a ticket for stall over-crowding, and witnessed the above referenced act, not to mention Ms. Gorman’s cocaine stash.
To add insult to injury, it turns out that the Queen of England conferred the Order of the British Empire on Chris Gorman in 2005 for his good works and we presume, his thoroughly amiable personality.
Apart from the cocaine, did the police over react? After all, the quest for consensual bathroom sex, as Larry “wide stance” Craig taught us, is hardly a capitol crime. And if we are still not sure, we can summon up the spirit of Samuel Pepys to hear a view from the deepest past.
A reading of the Diary suggests that our friend Sam would have thought jolly well of the whole affair.
Who says we can’t learn a thing or two from the Brits (and the past)?