Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Very Own Greek Myth

temple of hephaestus in athens
Greek Temple in Athens (Photo by Jeremiah)
So, today was a long day. Long days inspire me to want to mope around, watch TV, or sleep. But today was not only long, but it also included me sitting down and reading Romeo and Juliet (gotta love the classics…). So what happens when Jeremiah has a long day and reads Romeo and Juliet? He starts writing revisionist history.

Here is what I have so far:

In the days of ancient Greece, the Persians were planning to invade Greece (it had become a national pastime). So, they marshalled their forces, mounted their fiercest Rinos and Hippos and rode off to war. Then they hit the coast and remembered that there was a sea between them and the Greeks (you would think that they would remember this fact, after all, they invaded Greece all the time). So at that point they mounted their fiercest Rinos and Hippos and loaded them on some near by ships and rowed off to war.

This invasion, of course, was expected by the wise Greek philosophers in Athens. So they called the people together and told them that they should prepare for war. Now the people of Athens didn’t really like fighting; they prefered to sculpt and trade. So they decided to ask the brutish Spartans to help them in the upcoming war.

They wrote a letter that said,

“Dear Fierce Spartans,

battle of thermopylae
Spartan (Photo by Jeremiah)
Hope you are doing well. How did your pillaging go last week? We heard that you did great. By the way, we heard that you might be bored on Tuesday. Would you like to come over and beat up on some Persians? We are having the Corinthians over too, but you know they can be a little slow in battle. Pottery really is more of their thing.

Anyway, having you here would really liven things up.

Your friends,
Fighting until the end,


P.S. BYOS (Bring your own shield)”

Then they realized that Ben Franklin hadn’t opened the post offices yet. That meant they needed a messenger. But no one volunteered. This may have been due to the fact that last summer a volunteer agreed to carry the message of victory from the battle of Marathon back to Athens. The problem was that no one thought to give him a horse (or even a hang glider!), so he literally ran himself to death. There was a series of long eulogies and every prophet worth his salt predicted that his run would go down in history as a tricky torture method that would lure people in and then slowly kill them. Little did they know that this would become a lucrative business because silly American’s would even pay to be victims of this Greek torture.

The bottom line was that no one wanted to run the all the way to Sparta. They offered a prize to any messenger and even promised that the runner’s family would be well taken care of. But somehow this didn’t help.

But the eagle flew overhead and everyone knew that the dogs of war had been loosed and the Persians weren’t going to sit around fiddling while Athenian ears burned because Egypt thought about them behind their back. So, the third most noble family in Athens offered whoever was to be the messenger a noble horse named Peg to ride while on this errand. Of course, the second most noble family couldn’t be outdone, so they offered a parasail (this turned out to be completely worthless, so they revised their offer to be a hang glider).  

The first most noble family was more than happy to let everyone else do all the work and pay for everything, so they didn’t offer anything at all.

That being settled, they found a youth named Peg who was willing to go. (Apparently Peg was a popular name for youths and horses in Athens.) What they didn’t know, however, was that this particular youth was wanted for pick pocketing in Corinth. He didn’t tell them because he needed the reward, but he wasn’t sure what to do (all roads lead through Corinth! ... well, all roads from Athens to Sparta lead through Corinth). Anyway, he decided not to tell anyone and that he would come up with something…

Once he was out of town, he started thinking hard. He had seen the philosophers on the Areopagus and they seemed to think that ideas came by the stroking of the beard. But he didn’t have a beard. The Priest’s in the Temple of Athena seemed to think inspiration came from owls. But he didn’t have an owl. So he was left to ponder his owlless, beardless, sad life.

But suddenly he had an idea. “Wisdom is a bearded owl!” But his excitement quickly faded, because that didn’t help him. What he needed was a beard, that way he could go through the city without being recognized. Wait! Maybe he was on to something!

“I shall use the wings of an owl to fly over the city!” he proclaimed. “I have a hang glider and a horse. I will attached the wings to the horse, and glide over the city and speed my journey to Sparta.”

He swiftly put his plan to action. It wasn’t easy, but he was a sharp boy. He did have to borrow some clothes lines for ropes and the contents of the clothes lines for extra cloth to make it work for a horse, but in the end it worked like a charm.

The people of Corinth saw him riding high in the sky and asked what it was that the gods had sent over their city. Peg, being honest (except for the pick pocketing), wanted to clear things up. So over the wind he tried to explain that he and the horse were not divine. He said with conviction, “We are just a couple of Pegs and the people of Athens have entrusted us to carry a message to Sparta.”

But to the people of Corinth it looked like a horse with wings. And the only words that they heard in the explanation were “Pegs” and “us.” To this day, the legend of a winged horse named “Pegasus” is told to children in Greece and American’s in Liberal Arts Colleges.

The rest, my dear reader, of course is history that you are very aware of. But now, you know the origin of the Pegasus. I hope you will continue to tell the tale, and bring smiles to the faces of people in your life.

Post by Jeremiah Lorrig 
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