Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Something about the Greeks

Here is my rendition of some of what I have learned about a couple of stories in Greek mythology.

There is this dude whose sole mission in life is to roll a very large rock to the top of a very tall hill.  He works very hard to push the rock nearly to the top when, all of a  sudden, the rock rolls backwards and eventually to the bottom of the hill.  Then the dude has to go get the rock and start all over again pushing it to the top of the hill.  Time and time again the rock rolls back to the bottom without ever making it to the top.  

This is the dude's life's mission and he never is successful.  I am sure that we have all had jobs like that.  In  Greek mythology Sisyphus was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity.

The other one is where a very sharp sword is hung by a horse hair from the ceiling of a bedroom and a dude is tied to the bed looking up at the sword suspended on the hair.   The sword is point down and is made to swing back and forth the width of the bed.   Of course the hair will break eventually but the real problem is the anticipation of the hair breaking and the sword falling.  If and when the hair breaks his death will be swift and immediate.  

The sword is the sword of Damocles.  "In the middle of his luxury, as a punishment for a wealthy man, Dionysius ordered that a shining sword, fastened from the ceiling by a horse-hair, be let down so that it hung over the neck of that fortunate man. And so he looked neither at those handsome waiters nor the wonderful silver work, nor did he stretch his hand to the table.  Finally he begged the tyrant that he should be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be fortunate."

I have now fully retired from three different jobs.  Three different pensions from three different employers.  I am now at the point where not having a job has become a job.  I am Sisyphus rolling the stone to the top of the hill every day as an unending task.   I am the wealthy man with the sword of Damocles hanging over my head as I simply wait.

In the past week I have applied for several new jobs in higher education in the Denver Boulder area just to get rid of my rock and hoping the hair does not break.

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