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From A to Z in the Mythology Alphabet

Date/Time Permalink: 01/29/07 06:22:18 am
Category: Humor

NOTES: I'm off on another ebook-writing adventure, so posting will be sparse. Luckily, I have the compost pile, the folder full of old writing pieces which every writer has. Items from ages past sit in the compost pile and mellow, until we fish them out, polish them, and send them out to confront a new generation of readers.

This is a culture-mashup inspired by Harlan Ellison's "From A to Z in the Chocolate Alphabet", only not nearly as good. One of those ideas that occurs to me in the wee hours, gets pecked out, and then sits for ten years because I have no clue what to do with it. The heck with it; it's posted here. And from now on, it can fend for itself!

From A to Z in the Mythology Alphabet

A is for Apollo
Humans laugh at the baby chick's naivete, because it looks at the first thing it sees after hatching and believes it to be its mother. But humans think nothing so naive about themselves, to believe that the sun is a god just because it is the largest and brightest object in the sky. Apollo shakes his curly golden-haired head in disgust and if you look hard at the sunset, you can see him roll his eyes as he beholds all the human folly.

B is for Paul Bunyan
A little-known fact about Paul: he was continuously frustrated in his search for a private place to do his business. To say nothing of how the other loggers complained of the mess his ox made.

C is for Cassandra
Gifted by Apollo with the gift of prophecy, then spurned his love. So Apollo rigged a boxing match where fast Eddie was a sure thing four to one over purple-eye Bruce, with Cassandra holding all markers, and Apollo rigged the match so Eddie took the fall. Nobody ever listened to Cassandra again. Thus she was heard to wail: "Have I missed the mark, or, like true archer, do I strike my quarry? Or am I prophet of lies, a babbler from door to door?" As a writer of a blog, I can identify with that sentiment. My daughter's name is Cassandra. I hope she doesn't go into politics.

D is for Daphne
Another love conquest of Apollo, she fled his embrace and got turned into a tree. Then a conservative president came along and allowed all the trees to be chopped down. Daphne is now a nice solid-finished credenza somewhere in a furniture store in Cleveland. As for Apollo, for a god, he sure seemed to have tough luck with the ladies.

E is for Einstein
Not originally a mythical figure, has now become one. This is thanks to the society he once served now having fallen back into savagery. Ask any American today what E=mc2 means, and you'll get something like "ecstasy equals marijuana plus cocaine plus...uh...two?" No, no, no! Einstein invented the stone club, so Fred Flintstone could clobber brontosauruses. Then we had an arms race with the dinosaurs, who were trying to steal the secret of the club for themselves. It all ended up in a big showdown when another smart guy built this big fence around an island and tricked the dinosaurs into going inside it, so they could film the Jurassic Park movies. PETA protested the movies for their unethical treatment of the giant reptiles, I believe.

F is for Frankenstein
Just a friendly reminder: human cloning is legal somewhere in the world, and is probably being practiced in more places than that. Frankenstein was just a beta prototype, which is why he was so ugly. And he got Lily, who was a real dish, because she saw past the beastly exterior to the beautiful Renaissance Man within. How they ended up with Marilyn is anybody's guess.

G is for Google
The mystical web oracle, from whom all wise creatures seek counsel. Google is omniscient. You don't really need to know anything when you have Google. I don't know anything. And I have a blog, even!

H is for Hamadryad
Yet another female spirit living in a tree. Erysichthon, his trusty ax in hand, hacked down the largest oak in the forest, heedless of the screams and blood from it, from the hamadryad inside. The goddess Demeter heard the screams, and arranged for Erysichthon's punishment. I won't go into what his punishment was exactly, but let's just say that, from one big oak tree, you have enough wood to make a hell of a lot of frat paddles. Respect your coffee table. Put your cigarettes on the ashtray.

I is for Isis
"Oh zephyr winds which blow on high, lift me now so I can fly" Lynda Carter was cute in her Wonder Woman getup, Lucy Lawless made lesbian hearts flutter when she did Zena Warrior Princess, but for sheer cuteness in high camp, nothing ever beat Joanna Cameron as Isis in the DC-comics-based 1970's TV series of the name "The Secret of Isis", about an archaeologist who found an amulet that gave her the powers of the Egyptian goddess. Well, OK, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl were campy-cute too, but then, Sid and Marty Kroft had the aid of altered plains of consciousness. Hey, wait a minute, didn't the ancient Egyptians worship cats? Like that big cat statue without the nose?

J is for Jabberwock
I could have put "Jesus" here, not to say that he didn't exist. But somewhere between "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Jesus Christ, Superstar" and the "Church of Christ: the scientist", somebody, somewhere, has got a conflicting report. Frankly, I think the movie of Christ's times that bears the closest resemblance to truth might be Monty Python's "The Life of Brian". Just listen to the song! But listing Jesus in a mythology pastiche is inviting all sorts of trouble, and while I'm a little fiend anyway, I don't see where I have to be provocative EVERY time, so I'll use the Jabberwock. Famous in Lewis Carroll's poem. Scoff not, lest it comes whiffling through the tulgey wood, eyes aflame and burbling after you!

K is for Kobold
Catch a leprechaun, and you might get some gold out of him. Catch a kobold, and the most you can get, if you're handy, is a fine set of boots from the tough, wrinkly, leathery skin.

L is for Lich
Completely unknown outside of the Role Playing Game crowd, a Lich is a sort of wrathful spirit, usually having been a wizard or necromancer in life. You know you're deep in a catacomb when you meet a lich.

M is for Minotaur
Before there was Dungeons and Dragons, ancient people had to be satisfied with outrunning this half-bull/half-man through mazes for entertainment. Theseus was the only one to survive, because he had a good saving throw and he took along a ball of twine to leave a trail so he wouldn't get lost in Minos' maze, where the Minotaur lived. Which always struck me as completely illogical, because every picture I've ever seen of the maze of Minos shows it having ONLY ONE WAY THROUGH IT!!! How could you get lost, and if you were that dumb, how could the string help you? Also, at some point, if the Minotaur is in the maze already, the maze has only one path, and you have to get through it, the certainty is 100% that you're going to meet the Minotaur! This has always bothered me.

N is for National Security
'Nuff said.

O is for Oedipus
When Jock Ewing, CEO of Ewing Oil consulted the Oracle at Google (*see G), he was warned that a son he would have would bring ruin to the family fortune. But he had Oedipus, anyway. Oedipus was raised half-wild, due to a mother addicted to sedatives and cocktails at the yacht club. Oedipus grew up to have 60% control of the company, which he first did quite well with through contributions to a president from Texas, who went on to start a preemptive war in the middle East, thus raising oil through the roof. Oedipus eventually had a rather unsavory run-in with his own mother at the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas; he did not recognize her in the dark. Reeling from shock at this, he went home and convinced his father to leave the company. His father went so far as to cancel his contract with the show, causing him to die in a helicopter crash. True to the prophecy, Oedipus laid waste to the company and the show lasted not many more seasons.

P is for Prometheus
Kid was a pyro. Torched everything in sight. A case of juvenile delinquency gone to sociopathy. Even stood on street corners hawking Molotov cocktails to the unruly crowd, in his off-time. A real wrong number, and when they caught him, he got a lawyer, Hercules, real bleeding-heart liberal ambulance chaser, got him off with a sympathetic rap to the jury about how the kid was forced to work too hard on the family farm, and the pressure drove him evil. Support the death penalty for juveniles.

Q is for Quetzlcoatl
Who ever heard of a snake with feathers?

R is for Rumplestilskin
He'll spin your straw into gold, if you guess his name. It's George.

S is for Sisyphus
Sisyphus is busy, cares about himself, and damn everything else. Sisyphus is the guy running you off the road in his SUV while talking on his cell phone (berating his secretary for having the audacity to apply for maternity leave), typing on his laptop (downloading purloined pictures of Claudia Schiffer au naturel in one window, day-trading energy stocks in another), drinking his coffee (Tall Double Machiato Wet), chewing his beef jerky (to mortify a taste for carbs, which his doctor has him cutting down on), and flipping through his appointment book (fake red leather). Luckily, we will only have to put up with Sisyphus until his heart attack at age 46. Unluckily, Sisyphus never passes our way without leaving a legacy of screwed-up government in his wake, since he's never met a ballot box he didn't want to stuff.

T is for Terrorist
On the National Security Alert System, a terrorist's favorite color is red. Terrorists wear cloth wrapped around their heads (in case they are in need of a handkerchief, presumably). No power or plot is too ridiculously unlikely to be attributed to a terrorist. Terrorists sneak into TV studios and sabotage Sesame Street scripts, hiding references to Allah in the type so the little tots will be brainwashed. Terrorists secretly rig the lottery so you don't win. Terrorists slip extra carbs into your Happy Meal when you're not looking. Terrorists make the milk go sour, the stock market fall, and your son turn out gay. Terrorists are Mogwai which were fed after midnight. And so on. Another subject of such intense media obfuscation, there's not a shred of reality left behind the myth.

U is for Unicorn
Unicorns are said to have an affinity for virgin maidens in white robes. Unicorns have just one distinguishing feature: a single, long, straight, hard horn. That Freudian enough for yah?

V is for Valhalla
A new shopping mall for the citizens of Valhalla opened to enthusiastic crowds this week in Gladsheim. Land developer J. P. Odin has realized the consumer experience of his dreams. The megamall opened today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring the blowing of the Giallr-horn, launching the first business day of the shopping metropolis. The mall was christened the Giallria. Over four hundred dwarves alone attended the opening day, accompanied by a strong showing of elves, witches, heroes, warriors, and assorted sundry minions.

W is for Walrus
I am he. As you are he. And you are me. And we are all together.

X is for I'm almost done
Nobody expects much out of X in an alphabetical list anyway. We could get rid of this letter, and the penny, too. Nobody seems to have much use for either.

Y is for Yeti
Yetis are actually very foppish and timid and gentle. This is why, when you stumble across one while caving in the Swiss Alps, they are often to be found cuddled up with a nest of stuffed animals, while dressed in Dr. Dentons footsie pajamas (size XXXXL), watching Teletubbies on TV. If you capture the Yeti to take back to the zoo, be sure to give it a chance to pack all its frilly, lacy clothes in colors to match the destination's palette. Failure to do so renders the yeti unsociable, which has led in the past to an undeserving reputation as a fierce creature, suitable to scare passengers on the Disney Matterhorn.

Z is for Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist is German for "The Spirit of the Times". And that makes it more worthy of inclusion than any other word in this list, for myths are made up by people, and people are affected by what they're going through at the time. And the common experience that people share in a culture or land determines what kind of stories come out of it. The best stories get selected for being passed down from generation to generation as myths.

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