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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

parenting like a god


i'm reading the Aeneid. (that's right, the Aeneid. je ne fuck around pas, people.) anyway, i'm only like three pages into it and i feel like i've already read 24 books.

here's where i'm at: the trojan fleet, still reeling from defeat at the hands of achilles, is sailing the high seas, led by aeneas (our hero, seen above, getting the hell out of town). the "queen of the gods" juno (total, total bitch) bribes the Lord of the Winds to start a storm and drown aeneas's fleet. this, naturally pisses off neptune, who totally bitch-slaps the wind god for stepping on his turf. neptune calms the seas and aeneas lands safely in carthage, where he mourns his lost comrades for all of 10 hours. then his mom (venus was her name), disguised as a young huntress, tells him the history of the city. she envelops him in a magical cloak of invisibility mist, until he ends up in the company of queen dido--in the (irony alert) temple of juno--where he learns that most of his fleet actually survived! the mist dissolves and dido touchingly serenades aeneas with "I want to thank you / for giving me the best day of my life." then he starts to tell the story of Troy's fall (spoiler alert: it involves a big wooden horse, "the monster's womb is packed with soldiers bristling weapons.") here he is chillaxing with dido:


so all of that happens in like three pages, which means i may feel compelled to blog about it again in the future. more importantly, some priceless pearls of parenting wisdom occur in these opening verses. i am deeply considering using only ancient texts for parenting advice from now own. if this is how the gods (and half-gods) did it, then it's got to be good enough for me. check it out:

  • after aeneas's fleet is completely routed on the high seas, venus, his mom, complains to jupiter, Father of Men and Gods. jupiter had basically already sworn that aeneas would emerge victoriant, his ancestors fated to found rome. but here aneas is getting reamed by juno (seriously, what a bitch). venus literally says to her dad: "you promised! Father, what motive changed your mind?" you realize what this means don't you? even venus turns into a whiny brat when she doesn't get her way. close your eyes and picture yourself as a 12 year old saying: "but daaaad, you prooomised!" even venus, THE GODDESS OF LOVE AND BEAUTY, reverts to her petulant teenage self around her old man. you have no idea how much better this makes me, a lowly 33-year-old mortal, feel about sulking around my own folks.
  • jupiter is a total dad: completely unfazed by the drama and thoroughly patronizing. "smiling down on her with the glance that clears the sky and calms the tempest, lightly kissing her on the lips," jupiter looks down on his daughter and says "relieve yourself of fear ... the fate of your children stands unchanged, I swear." ... basically, he's all: "relax, venus. i'm not going back on my word. just chill." he's vaguely indulgent and vaguely mocking at the same time. it's a solid balance that i'm going to work on perfecting.
  • when aeneas is marooned on the Carthiginian coast, venus disguises herself as a local girl out on a hunt. she asks aeneas, tauntingly, if he's seen her sister who is "wearing a spotted lynx-skin" (slut). aeneas says no, he hasn't seen any such girl and, by the way, you look kind of familiar, almost like a goddess. venus gets all flirty and says, basically, "i bet you say that to all the Tyrian girls." then she tells aeneas all about dido, who she's obviously trying to fix him up with--just like a mother. hey, yentl, step off! sheesh. you of all people should know his thing with dido is so going to end badly.
  • then venus, still disguised, asks aeneas where he's from. aeneas starts telling her this long sad-sack story all about his woes in battle and at sea. but before he gets very far, "venus could bare no more of his laments and broke in on his tale of endless hardship: 'Whoever you are I scarcely think the Powers hate you.'" ... so venus, who just a couple of pages ago was whining to her dad about not getting her way, is now telling her own son -- who's had a really fucking bad seven years -- to stop feeling so sorry for himself! christ, what a pain in the ass!
  • after venus dismisses aeneas ("Now off you go, move on"), he finally realizes that she's his mom. this totally pisses him off, as you can imagine. "why, you too, cruel as the rest? so often you ridicule your son with your disguises!" now, if you ask me, nothing says "proactive parenting" like disguising yourself to spy on your kids, right? and hmm, aeneas's whiny-whine sounds awfully familiar doesn't it? sounds a little like, i don't know, how a certain love-goddess complained to her own father, n'est-ce pas? and, behold, the circle of life is complete.

in conclusion, i learned everything i needed to know about being a parent from the GODS. take that, dr. brazelton.

3 Comments:

Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Holy crap, man, this is what you do with your spare time??? You better read a bit faster; when baby #2 comes, your brain may be too mushy for such literature.

Anyway, we are reading the Odyssey here (albeit the 1st grade version of the Odyssey, which is just my speed). I'll let you know if I see any parenting lessons there too; so far, Odysseus has just had a bunch of his men eaten by the Cyclops.

2/12/2008 9:26 PM  
Anonymous Hugo Downer said...

Oh shit. Mr Nice Guy is back

That was classic and now back to constantly refreshing the RSS feed for my next fix...

2/13/2008 5:51 PM  
Anonymous barbex said...

That was the best thing I read all week.
Simply brilliant, Thank you.

2/15/2008 4:49 AM  

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