People keep reminding me that Valentines Day is coming up and it’s starting to annoy me. I don’t care about Valentines Day. I think Valentines Day is stupid. It sucks if you’re single because you are constantly reminded that you are single. It also sucks if you are not single because people keep asking you what you are going to do on Valentines Day. What is that? Why must we judge the man/men in our lives based on what he/they do or dont do for us on Valentines Day? Doesn’t May 12th count equally as much as February 14th? What if…on February 14th he (or you for that matter) is just having a bad day. What if it’s a busy day? I mean…I’m pretty happy with a guy that is a basically good guy any day of the week so I dont need to get all dolled up and doted on just to commemorate the need for Hallmark to get over its post-Christmas sales slump on this one day of the year. So to all my lovely friends who wish to remind me that Valentines Day is on Thursday...
I love you. Shut-up. And if you are reading this and recognize yourself as one of those people give your friend a break...he/she probably doesn't want to hear it.
I’m not normally so vehement against Valentines Day. Last year I accidentally made plans with a platonic friend for that date on the calendar. We didnt realize our mistake until we were on our way out the door but we went anyway and ended up at some mediocre pizza joint in the Valley because we knew that all of the “good” places to eat would be over-crowded with a limited menu and jacked through the roof prices. In short…Valentines Day doesn’t usually even register on my radar but for some reason…this year…everyone is full of hearts and flowers and I’m ready to smack the next person that mentions that this Thursday is even remotely different from last Thursday.
Can you say “Bah Humbug” on February 14th or is that the sole province of December 25th?
Maybe it’s not Valentines Day at all that has me in such a snarky mood. Maybe it’s the fact that I woke up feeling like my body had been filled with cement and am riddled with cramps strong enough to cripple Hercules. Was that too much information? Should we change the subject? Good idea. How about we talk about Hercules. What makes him so special? I wonder if he could deal with the kind of pain I'm dealing with right now. What did Hercules do anyway? Was he really all that impressive or was he just another full of himself windbag with a good public relations team?
Let us now take a moment to consider the late great mythical being known as Hercules.
First he had to bring King Eurystheus the skin of an invulnerable lion which terrorized the hills around Nemea. Wow. He fought a lion. Did I say wow yet?
After that he had to kill the Lernean Hydra, a monstrous serpent with nine heads, which defended itself with poisonous venom. Not an easy task when you consider that one of the nine heads was immortal and therefore indestructible. That sounds a little like someone I know. She's pretty scary so I'll give him this one.
Next he had to kill some special deer that had golden horns and hoofs of bronze. Not such a difficult thing really but this deer happened to be the special pet of Diana, the goddess of hunting and the moon. She was pretty peeved about the whole thing but once Hercules explained the situation about how he had to listen to the oracle and do whatever King Eurystheus told him to do she forgave him. It must not have been her time of the month.
Then…Eurystheus ordered Hercules to bring him the Erymanthian boar alive. In case you are wondering…a boar is a huge, wild pig with a really bad temper (If any of you saw the Thorn Birdsyou know what I’m talking about). In addition to being big and nasty this particular boar supposedly had tusks growing out of its mouth. It sounds like quite a task but all Hercules had to do was chase the thing until it got really tired and then he impaled it with a spear rendering it helpless. I ran a marathon. I’m sure I could wield a spear in a pinch. Therefore…I feel confident I could subdue the junkyard dog (AKA the Erymanthian boar).
After this Eurystheus gave Hercules a break and simply ordered him to clean up King Augeas' stables. Sure…he got dirty and smelly and it sucked to be him for a while, but it’s not like he was asked to clean up after my ex-roommate K****, who routinely confused the kitchen sink with the garbage can and couldn’t find the dish soap to save her life…even when I threw the bottle on her bed…open. Even Hercules couldn’t have accomplished cleaning our kitchen after she’d had some friends over without collapsing from exhaustion and disgust. I could…and did. I even learned how to string expletives together in new and creative ways while I did it.
Is this really all he’s got? When are we going to see this guy do something really noteworthy?
So…after he cleaned up the stables he had to get rid of some pesky birds that were gathered at a lake near the town of Stymphalos. Apparently these were no ordinary birds but were in fact vicious man-eating birds. Yeah…that's right...man-eating birds. That sounds fairly treacherous, but it’s not like Hercules was asked to date one of the vapid, money grubbing, latte sucking, Valentines Day celebrating, vampire queens that populate the greater Los Angeles area wasting precious oxygen so…I don’t feel too bad for him about this one either.
Next he had to wrestle some bull. Men still engage in this kind of tom foolery so I still don’t see why Hercules is so special. Next!
After chasing birds and wrestling bulls he had to go round up some man-eating mares that belonged to some Thracian king called Diomedes and bring them back to Eurystheus in Mycenae. What I want to know is…what is with all the man-eating animals in this story? I was under the impression that horses are vegan. This sounds like one of those "I once caught a fish thiiiiiis big" stories. I don’t buy it. Horses are gentle. I’m beginning to think Hercules was less of a hero and more of a whiny little wimp.
For his ninth task, Hercules was ordered to bring Eurystheus the belt of Hippolyte…queen of a tribe of warrior women known as the amazons. It should come as no surprise that today I’m sitting here rooting for Hippolyte but we all know how the story ends because in Greek mythology the hero is always victorious. Anyway…Hercules defeated her and then stole her belt and brought it back to Eurystheus just like the little man-b*$&% that he was. It probably was her time of the month. Otherwise Hippolyte would have won. I’m sure of it.
Anyway…after he fetched the belt Hercules had to journey to the end of the world in order to bring Eurystheus the cattle of the monster Geryon. That Geryon must have been known for herding some pretty tasty cows to warrant a journey to the end of the world. Especially when you consider that the world is round and therefore has no true end. Maybe this is the origin of the phrase “we’re just running around in circles and not getting anything done.” As I understand it though…Hercules did get those cattle…and the steaks were quite tasty. But I can’t get too excited about this. He was basically sent to the store. Even if the store was located at the end of the world I say...big deal.
Now things actually get a little dicey for Hercules. Eurystheus, done messing around, gives Hercules a real task to accomplish. Now the mightiest of mortals has to go up against Zeus, king of the gods, in order to bring Eurystheus some golden apples which belonged to Zeus. So like a good little doggy Hercules trots off…this time heading to the northern edge of the world because apparently nothing worth having is anywhere other than the edge of the world. Anyway…it took him something like 30 years and he had to kill an eagle and then trick Atlas into letting him take the apples but…he got them and presented them to Eurystheus…even if only for a moment before he had to give them back to that king of the gods guy. I might give Hercules this one. We are talking about Zeus after all.
And finally, for his final task, Hercules was sent to the underworld in order to kidnap the beast called Cerberus. Cerberus was supposedly a most vicious beast who had three wild dog heads, a dragon for a tail, and a back that was covered with the heads of snakes. Somehow in all the confusion running from one side of the world to the other Hercules lost his weapons so he had to face the monster Cerberus armed with nothing but his bare hands. Don’t worry though…Hercules was once again victorious and defeated Cerberus with a hug. That’s right…a hug. Some monster that Cerberus turned out to be! What a wimp! I'd like to see how Hercules holds up in the ring with that aforementioned scary person I know. I guarantee it would take more than a hug to subdue that she-devil. Therefore...I remain un-impressed.
But…he’s still Hercules so I’ll give him some props for being pretty brave, fairly tough, and thoroughly committed to getting back into the good graces of his evil step monster, Hera.
Though…I still think he’d have a hard time with monthly cramping…little man-b*$&% with a good public relations team that he was.