Ι καν'τ ρεμεμβερ ωηεν Ι σταρτεδ βεινγ Σοκρατες ατ Τρινιτυ. Ιτ ωας προβαβλυ back on Erwin Road, when I would go into Jodi Garbison's fifth grade class and teach the Greek and Roman history class. (That was my first class at Trinity.) Eventually I worked myself out of that job and migrated to other teaching assignments around campus, but the Socrates gig somehow stuck.
If you want to know the truth, I dread it just a bit every year. I have to put on this silly costume and I never have figured out how to drape a κιτων. And it's all extemporaneous and unpredictable--I never know where I'm going to go and where the students will go with the show. It hurts my voice to try to sound like what I imagine the ugly gadfly of Athens would be. And it always falls on a busy day when I'm working it in. Today I couldn't find any safety pins, and my bald cap wouldn't go on right.
But then I get in there and the back-and-forth with the students is a lot of fun. Sometimes we even get into a elenctic rhythm that Socrates might have approved of. Today a couple of students asked me what wisdom was and they ended up figuring out the answer for themselves.
It's encouraging when Socrates' great dictum ούκ οίδα ("I don't know") leads from embarrassment and confusion through questions to a sort of knowledge that is discovered somewhere inside oneself. For that, it's probably worth my dressing up and making a fool of myself.