The Greatness Remembers:
Athens, Georgia
The Classic City is home to a particularly self-sufficient tree, a well-known Southern university, and this web site's namesake -- at least until recently. The Greatness reflects on Athens and what makes it tick.


In the piedmont of north Georgia, well south of the Blue Ridge mountains and not-so-well east of the luxuriant Atlanta-polis, sits the enigmatic "Classic City" of Athens, population 100,266. It was in this place two centuries ago that Georgia's advocates of learning, in an effort to emulate the ancient Greek city-state, unintentionally spawned a Dionysian revival on Milledge Ave. It was in this place two decades ago that local musicians R.E.M. broadcast the "new Athenian" zeitgeist to a worldwide audience. And it was in this place two years ago that The Greatness was born, fully grown, girded for intellectual battle.

Given that apotheosis is a once-in-an-existence experience, I naturally have a great deal of fondness for Athens, GA. But my love for the city transcends mere edification. In honor of the holiday, shall I count the ways? (With apologies to Tocqueville, one of the few Frenchmen worthy of respect)

And there's a bunch more reasons. I warmly recall the spirited discussions with colleagues as we scribbled on our whiteboards at UGA's Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry. I remember the July evenings on the porch, taking in the natural drama of a severe thunderstorm and welcoming the respite from the heat. But mostly, Athens makes me think of my housemates and friends, Athenians by choice, who collaborated with me on independent film, music, and life in general. They accepted me as The Greatness, even when I was not so great, and I will never forget that kindness.

Athens was my home, and I miss it.


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