In 1865, Lewis Carroll (a.k.a. Charles Dodgson) introduced the phrase “down the rabbit hole” in his classic “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
Carroll created this tale to stir the imagination of children and adults alike. But far too many adults lose their childlike ability to wonder at about the same time as puberty hits.
Without that magical element active in our souls, the adult perception of the whimsical can lead them down unindented and darker paths. But that is the tragedy of being a “complete” adult. Please note, we intentionally used the word “complete” in an unkind manner.
If we observe most adults, as we stated above, they lost the magic. In other words, Peter Pan grew up and became a stodgy accountant.
For example, while researching the phrase “down the rabbit hole,” a couple of adult-oriented results popped up: “Is Alice in Wonderland about drugs? and What does Rabbit mean sexually?” Sometimes grownups can be so wretched.
Why all this interest in a phrase from a tale for children?
To this lady’s good fortune, she has incredible children. Her relationship with each of them is a constant joy. Even though both her offspring live at a distance, they are but a telephone call away. Of course, if she were not quite so technically challenged, Facetime would be an option for staying in touch.
Her son laughingly refers to his mother as a Luddite. Although the man is smart, in this instance, he is mistaken.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, this writer’s favorite, a Luddite, is “a person opposed to new technology or ways of working.”
Au contraire mon fils. (translation: I beg to differ, my son.) Your mother loves technology. But technology insists on being complicated. This situation is similar to mountain sheep butting heads. In her case, it is a matter of knowing the bloody machine is supposed to perform a specific action, but she has no clue how to make it happen.
Okay. We seem to be creating a rabbit hole of our own. However, the point is we converse often.
When talking with our son, politics often pops up. That is not advisable for two people who seem to be on opposite sides of that particular topic. And yet, we talk. We listen. And it works. However, he frequently cautions his mother to refrain from going down the rabbit hole in some of her thinking.
In other words, he wants her to avoid the bog in which one can become mired whenever political discourse and thought run amok.
But, there are more benign versions of going down a non-fluffy, short-tailed internet tunnel. Such travels can waste a great deal of time. However, if the result is increased knowledge, then perhaps it can be worth it.
Recently, the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s On This Day email provided something fascinating as well as this writer’s trip down the internet rabbit hole. Our daughter’s birthday is the same as Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. A charming fellow remembered for his debauched lifestyle and, based on doubtful evidence, for his burning of Rome.
Nero, named Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus initially, was “the fifth Roman emperor, stepson, and heir of the emperor Claudius. His mother, Julia Agrippina, raised him after his father, Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, died. Mommy had a checkered past. It seems the lady had a penchant for poisoning her husbands. Her second husband, and probably number three in the lineup, emperor Claudius.
But what can we expect of a powerful and ambitious Roman female whose brother was Caligula? She convinced Claudius to adopt Nero and make him his heir. It was an ill-advised move by Claudius because the next thing he knew, he died of poisoning.
Nero became emperor at 16, and Mommie dearest tried to run the show. His attempted matricide, drowning by leaky boat, failed because she swam ashore. Eventually, Nero succeeded in killing Julia Agrippina in her country home.
It began with our daughter to Nero to Claudius to Agrippina, and Caligula.