Odyssey Funmaries #18: Penelope (Book XXIII) **FINAL!**


As the first lady to contribute to Wandering Rocks, it is of course appropriate that I be the one funmarizing about our hero’s first lady, Penelope.

So as we know by now, back at the ranch, Penelope is on year 20 of same sh*t, different day. She has waited, weaved, unweaved, weaved again, unweaved again, wailed, whined, weaved some more and waited some more. I mean, it has been a really long freaking time.

Let’s put this in some perspective here: Remember Castaway? You know, Tom Hanks gets stuck on a tropical island, loses 140 pounds, learns how make fire and becomes BFF with a volleyball. All the while Helen Hunt keeps the search going for him, is told she’s crazy to think he’s still alive, holds a funeral, then finally gets over it and ‘lets him go.’ By the time Tom finally makes his odyssey back to Memphis, she’s married, has a new house, and even has a kid with the guy (a.k.a. “the suitor”). (But hey, at least she kept the car!) All this, in only FIVE YEARS, people. Five.

Picture 52You can’t wait 5 years for this guy?

I guess when you look at it from this vantage, it’s not so difficult to understand that Penelope was in bed and depressed, deep in an Athena-induced-Vicodin-like sleep, when Odysseus came home. Penelope literally slept through the genocide of every Ithacan prince who has bothered her for the last two decades. Now they’re all heaped in a burning pile out back, and Odysseus is softscrubbing the whole bloody palace. And when her faithful, lifetime nurse comes upstairs to tell Penelope that her husband finally got home, Penelope gets ticked off that she was awoken from the best sleep she’s had in ages.

When she learns that the suitors have been slaughtered, she’s pretty excited, but she still refuses to believe that her husband has returned. It must be the gods, she explains to her loony nurse. But they still go downstairs to check out the scene.

Odysseus, long-enduring though he is, is probably pushing 50, which is no small thing given the life-expectancy back then (50 was the old 90). Plus, he still looks like a bum, smells like the doghouse, and just washed off gallons of blood with more gallons of household disinfectant and whatever he used to “purify” the castle. So, again, you can’t begrudge Penelope for being a little apprehensive.

Telly throws a hissy-fit that mom and dad aren’t getting along, so dad delegates him to take the wait-staff and throw a fake wedding party, to cover up the groans coming from the pile of mostly dead guys. I mean, we can’t have the neighbors talking. Better to have them first feel bad about not being invited to the wedding, and then have to hear it through the grapevine that the “party” was actually a mass murder.

So off they go, leaving the old lovers to chat. They go back and forth—half flirting and half fighting about who is more stubborn, and eventually Odysseus, master of tactics, simply threatens to go sleep in the guest room.

Of course, Penelope’s got a few tricks up her own sleeve. And they all involve the bed. (Cue sleazy porn music… now.) Penelope, calls the maid in, and asks her to move the bed out of the bridal chamber for their strange guest to sleep on.

Odysseus calls her bluff and proceeds to tell all about his mighty craftsmanship in building their unmovable tree-bed. An original, DIYer, Odysseus built the bedroom himself–around a big olive tree. But since left no room for a BED (hello!?), he chopped off the top of the tree, and carved a bed right into the trunk. Alright, it’s pretty cool, but it’s no treehouse:

Picture 53

Complete with tree-toilet!

He responds:

Woman—your words, they cut me to the core!

Who could move my bed? Impossible task,

Even for some skilled craftsman—unless a god

Came down in person, quick to lend a hand,

Lifted it out with ease and moved it elsewhere.

Not a man on earth, not even at peak strength,

Would find it easy to prise it up and shift it, no,

A great sign, a hallmark lies in its construction.

I know, I built it myself—no one else…

Ah yes, the great bed. This is an important symbol in our main attraction, Ulysses readers, so wake up, wipe the drool off your desk, and write this in your moleskine: Bed.

So Penelope finally believes that it is Odysseus after he spills the beans on the big tree-bed secret. And it MUST be him, since the gods can’t read blueprints, no one else could possibly know about this crazy bed that Odysseus, ever the talker, so mightily crafted. But I digress. They are happy, and eventually make their way to the big soft bed to “delight in each other.” But not before Odysseus tells Penelope that he’s going to have to leave again on a dangerous trip and kill a bunch of farm animals in order to apologize to Poseidon. If he does that, though, then they get a long, full life together.

Athena keeps it dark out (making this the Longest. Night. Ever.), and they make their way to bed, and now “rejoice in each other,” and then get caught up on the last twenty years, eventually falling asleep.

And great Odysseus told his wife of the pains

He had dealt out to other men and all the hardships

He’d endured himself—his story first to last—

And she listened on, enchanted…

Sleep never sealed her eyes till all was told.

Wandering Rocks starts Ulysses To-freaking-day!!!

Follow along in real time as Jerry tweets his way through page 1!

Starts at noon-ish!


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