Treasure Map

 When I was eight or nine years old I went through a pirate phase. I had a pirate birthday party, fashioned a multitude of wooden swords, and crafted treasure maps. 

The cartographic content of a treasure map is of secondary importance. The main thing to achieve is the appearance of treasure-map-ness. The paper must be crumpled and smudged with dirt. The writing and terrain details must be indistinct. And above all it must have burned edges. 

Roll your treasure map into a scroll. Ignite and quickly extinguish each end. Roll it up again ninety degrees to the original rolling, and repeat the ignite and extinguish exercise. Remember that any fluffy ash that drops off can be used to smudge the map for further authenticity. 

This gives your map the look of age and exposure to the elements. It also causes the map to look plausibly fragmentary. "Y'see, matey, this here's the only part of the map I could save from the fire when the King's navvies sent the good ship Fiddle Styx to the Davey Jones' locker. I drifted on a piece of flotsam for three weeks... but that's another story. This here map don't show how to get to the island, but once we find an island with three palm trees and a rock like what it shows here, then we dig for ol' Cap'n Fiddle's treasure!"  (Note that  as a pirate one must pronounce it TRAY-zher.)

Which again reminds me of the love of wisdom. Everything is grist for the metaphysical mill, so it doesn't really matter what fragment of a map you bring to a philosophical  conversation. Whether the first question is Where am I? or Where am I going? or the time-honored What's it all about?, you end up covering all the questions before you're done. 

One thing my brief career in piracy taught me is you are better off drawing in the details of the map as you go along. 

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