That sword above Damocles' head is hanging by a mere thread, a single strand of human hair I believe. He's not the king, just some joker who wanted to know what it was like to sit on the throne.
It's like....always being on the brink of death, at least that's the lesson King Dionysius wanted to teach him by secretly suspending the weapon.
According to Wikipedia, the Damoclean sword is:
...used in allusion to this tale, epitomizing the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power. More generally, it is used to denote the sense of foreboding engendered by a precarious situation, especially one in which the onset of tragedy is restrained only by a delicate trigger or chance.
Yeah, driving down the highway, every passing car does indeed threaten our very existence...
But when I think of precariousness today, I right away think of *wage slaves* and *mortgages*.
The fact is, I know very few people who are self-employed, thriving, and not leveraged on the homefront.
Once they or their spouse loses a job in this receding, depressing economy they are in instant, deep financial trouble.
Yet another person I know just recently lost their job out of the blue. They are middle-aged and have several kids. When I informed my wife about it....we spoke in a manner as if someone had died.
I know it's not a genuine tragedy, but I'm also well aware, even if they aren't, of what how relatively hard the road ahead could well be.
Plus, seemingly nobody learns.
I already mentioned that one family who, after miraculously getting out from an upside-down house purchase....they parlayed the good fortune into an even more expensive, more leveraged purchase.
And then there's this guy I know. He's been out of work for almost a year. And like *everyone*, he had to borrow against his 401k just to pay the bills. Well supposedly he just got another job. But guess what, he told me that a month into it, he was going to apply for a large home equity loan to make some improvements.
I feel like grabbing him by the ears and screaming some sense at him!