December 31, 2003
Sometimes people accuse me of explaining things too often. The reason I do that is simple: I've met considerably more stupid people than smart people. That having been said, even a lot of smart people don't know about the Sword of Damocles.
Long ago there was a king named Dionysius who was an unrepentant shit-head of a tyrant. So lots of people wanted him dead. His buddy, Damocles, mentioned that Dionysius had it good with all that wealth and power, so the tyrant said "Let's change places for a day" to which Damocles quickly agreed.
All was going well, Damocles was having a good time with his temporary wealth and power when he looked up and saw a sharp sword suspended over his head by a single horse hair. Dionysius explained that this was exactly what being rich and powerful was. At any time, you could be killed. Damocles never again lusted for wealth or power.
So there's the reference.