Think your family situation is messy? Don’t waste your money on years of therapy. Read this column instead. The Greek gods had it worse than you, or even Clark Griswold when Cousin Eddie showed up uninvited for Christmas. When you see what was doing with the Greek gods, your own family will seem as normal as Leave it to Beaver. Let us take a walk down memory lane into the wonderful world of Greek mythology to visit our old friend Theseus and the innkeeper to the stars, Procrustes.
Theseus had two daddies. But it’s not what you think. Daddy Number One was Aegeus the king of Athens who was married to the beautiful and frisky Aethra. One night Aegeus got drunk and made whoopee with Aethra. Being a bit of an insensitive male slob, Aegeus passed out afterwards. Aethra was not through partying for the night. She waded out to a nearby island and made whoopee with Daddy Number Two — Poseidon the Sea god. Aethra became pregnant with Theseus who had two daddies — Aegeus who was mortal and Poseidon who was immortal.
Neither Aegeus nor Poseidon were stick around kind of daddies. They both abandoned Theseus to be raised by single mom Aethra. Once Theseus grew to manhood, Aethra told him about his daddy being King Aegeus and how to claim his rightful birthright. As part of the deal, Theseus had to move a big rock and take the sword and sandals that Aegeus had buried there to prove Aegeus was his baby daddy. Naturally, Theseus moved the rock and headed out to Athens with the sword and sandals. Unsurprisingly, there was going to be trouble on the road in the form of bad guys.
The first bad hombre Thesueus met was Periphetes, whose weapon of choice was a big club he used to beat travelers into the mud. Theseus grabbed the club and smote Periphetes into a big puddle of bandit pulp. Next up was Sinis who hung out at the door to the Underworld. Sinis’ thing was to catch travelers and tie them between two bent pine trees. Sinus would then release the pine trees which would split the traveler into two more or less equal sections, causing them to expire. Theseus outsmarted Sinis, pulling the old switcheroo using the pine tree method on Sinus. To add insult to Sinis’ injury, Theseus impregnated Sinis’ daughter Perigune.
Down the road a piece, Theseus ran into and fought a giant pig, the Crommyonian Sow. We are talking big pigs. The Crommyonian Sow was pork enough to feed all of the N.C. State Fair attendees for ten years. Theseus enjoyed a pig picking and kept on moving towards Athens.
Next on the road was a geriatric robber named Sciron who had a foot fetish. Sciron hung out on a narrow path that went along the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean. When a traveler came along the path, Sciron would not let him pass until the traveler had washed Sciron’s gnarly feet. As the traveler was bent over washing Sciron’s disgusting toes, Sciron would kick them off the cliff into the ocean far below. Once in the water the unfortunate traveler would become sushi and be eaten by a giant turtle. Naturally our man Theseus shoved Sciron off the cliff to become turtle food.
The last guy Theseus met on the road to Athens was Procrustes the Stretcher with his iron bed. Procrustes was a seemingly friendly dude who invited travelers to spend the night at his place. Procrustes was the spiritual father of the Bates Motel where Norman Bates and his mom welcomed weary travelers in with gently smiling jaws. Procrustes’ quirk was that he wanted his guests to have a bed that fit them. If the bed was too short Procrustes would chop off the legs of the guest to make the guest fit the bed. If the bed was too long, Procrustes would pull out his Acme brand rack and stretch the guest to fit the bed. Theseus was hip to the evil plan. He forced Procrustes to lie on the bed himself and undergo the adjustment meant for travelers.
Procrustes lives on in the concept of the Procrustean Bed which essentially holds that to get to the solution being sought, you change the facts to fit your desired end result. The Procrustean Bed theory is used by The Donald every day in the White House. The Procrustean Bed is now called Kellyanne’s Amazing Alternative Facts. Change the facts to reach the outcome you want. Meeting the Russians is not meeting the Russians. Obama not wire tapping Trump is Obama wiretapping Trump. Look! Over there! Squirrel!
Now don’t you feel better about your own family?