Odyssey Funmaries #13: Scylla & Charybdis (Book XII.CCLIX-CCCXXXVIII)

By TAD SMITH

Just to recap our adventures with the Sirens………

Absolutely available on iTunes. Absolutely 5 star ratings.

Wax-free and arguably hornier (at least based on the fine piece of artwork above), Odysseus & crew find themselves approaching Scylla & Charybdis, a duo rivaled by maybe one or two others in terms of utter awesomeness.

You may be asking yourselves what any great leader of men would do when stuck between a rock and a hard place (sorry, I had to)?  Easy.  Pep talk.

Friends,

have we never been in danger before this?

More fearsome, is it now, than when the Kyklops

penned us in his cave?  What power he had!

Did I not keep my nerve, and use my wits

to find a way out for us?

Now I say

by hook or crook this peril too shall be

something that we remember.

Heads up, lads!

We must obey the orders as I give them.

Get the oarshafts in your hands, and lay back

hard on your benches; hit these breaking seas.

Zeus help us pull away before we founder.

You at tiller, listen, and take in

all that I say-the rudders are your duty;

keep her out of the combers and the smoke;

steer for that headland; watch the drift, or we

fetch up in the smother, and you drown us. [12.269-287]

Inspiring.  Moving.  Impassioned.  Stirring.  In a nutshell,  we’re gonna survive because I’m so awesome.  But if we do die, blame the guy working the tiller.  Somewhere, Knute Rockne is rolling in his grave.  Ready to now go beat Navy charge forward, the crew sails on toward Scylla.  A bit clearer in regards to Odysseus’ thoughts on accountability, our humble tiller operator is probably thankful Circe steered them toward a six-headed monster already described as a nightmare that cannot die [12.139] as opposed to a whirlpool.

An aside:  Do you think Odysseus really sells this adventure to his men?  I mean he knows they’re gonna skirt by Scylla as opposed to Charybdis, and he knows six men will be killed.  He was pretty forthright with his crew regarding the Sirens, but chose not to clue them in to the other fun.  I can understand holding his tongue because there is nothing they can do, but does he at least play out the adventure?  Or do you think he comes across as someone who knows about their surprise birthday party, but tries to act surprised anyways?  I’m thinking he’s probably just going through the motions.

Anywho, as Odysseus and his crew spend the next bit rubbernecking at “that yawning mouth”[12.316] known as Charybdis, Scylla snatches up six of Odysseus’ best men for a snack.  Odysseus is a bit shaken by this, exclaiming that watching yet some more men (we’ve gotta be closing in on 4 digits lost under Odysseus) dangling from Scylla’s mouth(s) “far the worst I ever suffered, questing the passes of the strange sea”[12.334-335].  Which is saying something when you consider all the stuff Odysseus has gone through.  Yet the very next line after dropping these superlatives (worst ever!), Odysseus wraps up his tale in a pretty succinct and nonchalant fashion.

We rowed on.  “Superior moral fibers,” my ουσ.

 

Countdown to Bloomsday…

6 days away from page 1 of Ulysses

Perhaps Odysseus should have skipped Scylla & Charybdis

and headed straight for the Wandering Rocks.

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5 Responses

  1. Excellent work, Tad. And you’re right. Odysseus is always holding out on his people, much to their disadvantage.

    And the Knute Rockne speech, it’s amazing how its motivating power hasn’t lessened at all with age. You noticed how fast the team runs out of the locker room? That was exactly my speed on my morning run today.

  2. Tad’s analysis of Odysseus made me think of another leader who knows more than he lets on; who’s willing to throw his tiller under the bus; and who manipulates his people (and the gods) to get what he wants.

    Benjamin Linus, anyone?

  3. whew … I thought you were going to say me.

  4. I sat next to two girls named Scylla & Charybdis in physics in high school. “Chary” was a total skank.

    Someone named Andy Sweeney friended me on Facebook. Anybody know him?

  5. […] About Wandering Rocks ← Odyssey Funmaries #13: Scylla & Charybdis (Book XII.CCLIX-CCCXXXVIII) […]

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