When he wasn’t serving as the last of ancient Rome’s “Five Good Emperors,” Marcus Aurelius spent his free time filling notebooks with his own thoughts and observations about his life, about his worldview, and about how he believed that people should behave when facing overwhelming challenges, like baking a loaf of bread that looks too shitty to Instagram.
Although there is no evidence that he intended his carefully written Koine Greek sentences to be read by anyone else, they have been repeatedly published as his Meditations and have given him a reputation as an important—if occasionally overlooked—Stoic philosopher.
Near the beginning of what is known as Book Six, Aurelius wrote, “The best revenge is to not become like your enemy.” More than 2,000 years later, a 23-year-old Scottish man grabbed a small tub of garlic sauce and said “Nah, fuck that.”
This decidedly non-Stoic revenge situation all started a few days ago, when Cameron Paton had a bonkers encounter with a driver near Edinburgh. “I was driving up town for my birthday last week and this Ford Galaxy was right up the back of the car along the road,” he told the East Lothian Courier. "I let them pass, and they waited up ahead and chucked a tub of garlic sauce at my car for absolutely no reason.”
Paton knew that he wasn’t gonna be satisfied by taking a picture (which he did) or posting it online (which he also did), so he planned ahead, just in case he saw that Ford again. He quickly acquired his own container of garlic sauce—“the ones you get with pizza, just the wee ones”—and decided to keep it in his car.
If you’re on Paton’s side, you’ll think this was a good decision, because on Saturday, he saw that exact gray Ford Galaxy. He quickly started his car, and followed the minivan to a nearby Tesco supermarket. When the driver stopped at an ATM in the parking lot, Paton knew it was his chance for an unsubtle bit of revenge.
In a video, a man—presumably Paton—is seen getting out of his vehicle, sidearming the sauce against the Ford’s driver’s side door, and then running back to his car. “A week ago my car got garlic sauce chucked over it in Edinburgh,” he tweeted. “Today I bumped into the lovely couple in north Berwick and gave them their sauce back.”
“It is very possible to be a divine man and to be recognised as such by no one,” Marcus Aurelius wrote in Book Seven of the Meditations. “Always bear this in mind, and another thing too, that very little indeed is necessary for living a happy life.”
Sometimes all it takes is a well thrown tub of garlic sauce.