The year is 1796 and all of us are enjoying
one of our many past lives.
Especially Bob, from Casper, Wyoming,
who is having his turn at being king of England.
As you might recall, the year began on a Friday
which was a Tuesday
if you follow the Julian Calendar.
In March, a widow by the name of
Joséphine de Beauharnais (now working
at a regional Social Security office in Chicago
under the name of Julia Meadows)
married General Napoléon Bonaparte,
who is now settling insurance claims
as Lila Fitspatrick in Davenport, Iowa.
(Yes it’s true, you can come back
as a person of the opposite sex.)
Catherine The Great dies in November.
She successively becomes a Japanese fisherman,
a cannibal in what will one day be New Guinea,
a sailor in the Spanish Navy and, most recently,
a sales associate at Foot Locker
at Mall of America in Minnesota.
In December, the electoral college meets
to name John Adams President of The United States.
I am happy to report that John Adams
is once again John Adams, this time
a cable installer in Waukegan, Illinois.
Sometime during the year
Jane Austin begins her first draft
of Northanger Abbey
but by the time it’s published
she is born to a slave on a sugar plantation
in Brazil, and, in her most recent life,
just made assistant manager
at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Dayton, Ohio.
On March 18th Jakob Steiner,
the great mathematician, is born
in Utzenstorf, Switzerland. He achieves
only minor fame until some years later
he becomes front man for the Rolling Stones.