Think you have troubles? Tired of unrelenting waves of ugly news? Wars and rumors of war abound in Gaza, the Ukraine, the Kardashians and the Republican Party. Putin on a happy face. At least you are not Medusa. Today we stroll down memory lane to visit our old pals, the ancient Greeks, to ponder if there is anything we can use from mythology to make our vale of tears a little bit less damp.
If someone else has it worse than you, that can be a comfort. Cheer yourself up by contemplating the troubles that faced Greek Mythology’s Bachelorette Number 1, Medusa. When you think of Medusa, and admittedly she doesn’t get much thought these days, most will remember her as a lady with some beauty issues and fly-away snake hair. Medusa wasn’t always ugly. She started out as a pretty young thing. She came from a close knit family, her Dad Phorkys and her mom Ceto were brother and sister. Medusa and her two sisters were Gorgons. Being a Gorgon is like being a Hatfield in West Virginia. The mists of history hide whether Phorkys was the original inspiration for the great 1982 movie, Porky’s, but the spelling of the names is too close to be a mere coincidence.
But back to our story. Medusa’s first job was as a priestess in Athena’s temple. As a priestess she took a vow of celibacy so she would never force her employer to buy her birth control pills like the Hobby Lobby situation. Unfortunately for Medusa, she caught the eye of Poseidon who was the God of the Sea. One day, while Poseidon was on shore leave, he wandered up to Athena’s Temple to chill out with the home boys from Olympus. Medusa was doing all those Vestal Virgin things that the temple beauties do. Poseidon started chatting her up. Having been out to sea for a long time, Poseidon had developed a hankering for some female companionship. Medusa fell for him like a ton of grape leaves because Poseidon had a smooth line of patter. Poseidon actually looked like a Greek God because he was a Greek God.
One thing led to another. Medusa threw caution, her vows of celibacy and her vestal garments to the winds. She ended up making whoopee with Poseidon. This situation did not sit well with Athena. She was not happy one of her virgins had broken her vow of celibacy thus exposing her Temple to Hobby Lobby and Obamacare. Poseidon suddenly remembered some urgent business he had with a flounder. He scrammed back to the sea leaving Medusa to face a very cranky Athena. It is never a good idea to torque off a Greek Goddess or the Ladies of the Altar Guild.
Athena whipped out some magic and turned Medusa into one ugly mother. Medusa’s beautiful blonde hair became poisonous snakes. She uglied up Medusa’s face turning it green and more frightening than an audit letter from the IRS. Her baby blue eyes became blood shot and creepy. This naturally freaked Medusa out. Medusa high tailed it out of Athena’s Temple never to return. She was so ugly that if anyone looked at her they would turn to stone. That is more than passing ugly.
Her transformation from beauty to beast was not good for Medusa’s personality. She became withdrawn and suffered social anxiety disorder. Perseus was drafted to kill Medusa which was not an easy task. If Perseus looked at her he would turn to stone. Cleverly, Perseus held up his mirrored shield and looked at the reflection of Medusa when he chopped off her head. Poseidon had gotten Medusa in the family way. When Perseus removed her head, Pegasus, the winged horse and future symbol of Mobil Oil Company, jumped out of her body. Perseus flew around on Pegasus with Medusa’s head on his shield doing drive-by stonings, turning his enemies to granite. Medusa’s head dripped blood all over the place. Snakes formed wherever her blood fell. Perseus eventually gave Medusa’s head on the shield to Athena who kept it as a knick knack on her mantle.
So if current events are depressing you, don’t worry. It could be worse. You could be Medusa. Even if you are having a bad hair day, your split ends aren’t as bad as Medusa’s. Medusa is now on the state seal of Washington and Colorado echoing Bob Dylan’s immortal lines, “Everybody must get stoned.”