I’ve been listening to an audiobook of the Iliad while on my breaks. Usually when I listen to audiobooks, it’s just vaguely followed background noise…. but this is one I’ve been meaning to revisit now that I’m not 15 years old. So I actually have been listening.
So when a customer came up today with 3 screaming kids and put a bunch off empty wrappers and containers on the belt, all I could think was the epic poem version of what might have been going through this guy’s head. Since I don’t know the guy, I’ll call him Bob and make up some names for the kids. Because names are very important.
And then Bob, the mechanic, son of Thomas, said. “Jeff, Lewis, and Tyler, sons of mine. Though older and wiser I may be, I beseech you.If I have ever loved you, or purchased cheap toys that you would then cast upon the ground, as the Spartans do cast down children such as yourselves, demanding that I then bear them aloft, that you may perform the ritual yet again, or if I have ever given you offerings of popcorn chicken and Ring Pops and Mountain Dew, cry not, and grant me solace. For I have been in this grocery store for longer than I can recall, and longer still than any man should have to be. Since the sky was blue and free of clouds, and now the skies do darken, and Zeus, sire of man and gods, can be heard going about the clouds and casting down bolts of lightning and causing thunder to echo about the valley.”
And the children, Jeff, Lewis and Tyler, did hear Bob, their father’s, plea, but their cries did not relent. For no amount of popcorn chicken and Ring Pops and Mountain Dew could satiate their hunger. Theirs was a hunger not of men, but of children, one borne of hunger for power, rather than to feed their tiny bellies.
And helpless Bob offered up still more popcorn chicken and Mountain Dew, and when the children had tasted the sweet nectar of the soda, and the delicious meat that is in a form that was not known to this world for many a year until the powerful KFC, borne of Colonel Sanders, did unleash the strange creation upon the world, the father arranged the wrappings which yet remained on the cashier’s conveyor belt and covered them in the bits of green paper and silver coins as he gave them to the cashier, son of Stephen, the machinist, who had been born in the distant land of Harrisonburg and who had worked at this store for two years that he might pay his tuition.
And though the face of the son of Thomas did not reveal it, he wept inside. For he now knew that while no offering would grant him solace, a cessation of his offerings would lead only to further despair.
And the son of Stephen saw this. And upon seeing it he took the bits of paper and coin and bid Bob, son of Thomas and father of Jeff, Lewis and Tyler to “Have a good day.” Though in his heart, he too knew that the offerings would not grant Bob solace.
TL;DR Don’t read Homer and work at a grocery store.