According to a report by Staff Sargent Gunther Winters, NATO forces came across an annotated copy of Phillips Exeter Academy’s Rule Book, known colloquially as The Red Book, in the private office of Muammar Gaddafi. According to one witness, the book “was clearly in constant use. There were notes all over the margins. He [Gaddafi] put smiley faces next to his favorite paragraphs, and sad faces next to rules that I guess he didn’t take to.” The office was found in general disarray, partially due to Gaddafi’s messy study habits, but largely due to the renovations that were under way during the time of the incident. Gaddafi was in the process of re-doing his office, according to an anonymous secretary of the Libyan despot. “One of the last orders he gave me was to get rid of everything in his study and buy four or five Harkness tables. And a poster of a griffin. He really had a thing for griffins.”
Gaddafi believed The Red Book lent itself to running a totalitarian state. “He got the idea of shutting off the Internet at 11 from the book, and he really thought that sign-in could work well here too. And a dress code! God he loved ties! Red ties!” The Red Book’s motto, “Felix Moriturus” (which roughly translates to “Happiness must die”) was painted on almost all government buildings, and Gaddafi considered getting a tattoo of the maxim above his left peck.
Surprisingly enough, Gaddafi is not an Exeter Alum, though he did apply and was accepted to the school in the early 60’s. He opted for Hotchkiss instead. Perhaps the Colonel regrets that choice, as an Exeter education would have prepared him for life as a dictator, or under a dictator, and everyone knows that at one point, the best dictators lived under dictators. Gaddafi considered The Red Book to be the foundational literature of his regime, and many bulletins from The Red Book are directly quoted in the Gaddafi era constitution of Libya.
This is not to say that Gaddafi had no qualms about The Red Book. Though he apparently had started to integrate Harkness Tables in many government offices, these fabled tables were not always high on Gaddafi’s list of priorities. “For the longest time he couldn’t stand the Harkness tables. They made it virtually impossible for him to lecture, and dictators aren’t ones for round table discussion. The Colonel liked standing, partially for the tyranny and partially because of his back.”
Gaddafi’s copy of The Red Book has been taken to a forensics lab in Palo Alto, Calif., where it will undergo extensive testing to determine what the Colonel did with his copy of the book, where he brought it, how old it was and which pages did he thumb to the most.