Here is a nice little Latin phrase, and rare, too (one can’t be too recherche or brief in one’s Latin, it’s getting so common) . . . .
—“How to write a Blackwood article”

‘Quare id faciam’ I appropriated from a text from 2nd-year Latin, which is as far as my Latin goes (or once went, rather). Not long out of college, in need of a username for some online service I can’t recall, I thought to find something from the Latin I’d had, some distinctive word or phrase — something no one else out there would likely be using. I browsed a little, and this snippet from Catullus’ couplet beginning ‘Odi et amo . . .’ seemed to my purpose.

(Hear Helen Mirren, as Elizabeth I, read the whole bit starting just about 60 seconds into this Youtube clip.)

My snippet, ‘quare id faciam,’ besides being not already taken, had the appealing quality of being a little grammatically & semantically ambiguous, lifted from context. Isolated, the tense works out as future rather than present, and the sense of faciam is sort of indeterminate — could be taken, in English, as ‘do’ or ‘make.’ I liked that ‘Why make it?’ possibility in it.

Anyway, I kept using quareidfaciam as a username here & there. Finally I registered the domain name. Is it silly & pretentious for someone who doesn’t know much Latin, and Latin literature much less, to snag an online name/identity from his college translation primer? Yes. — But I’ve gotten used to using it, and not surprisingly there’s still no competition for it.

And to tell the truth, since I’ve stuck myself with it I find that this skeletal reflection — ‘Why will I, why do I . . . ?’ — hasn’t done me any harm.

— Paul


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