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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sisyphus Speaks of Rocks

So the first thousand years or so, phew, that was rough.  I really hated Monday.  And every day was a Monday.  "Monday, again?" is what I'd say.  "Same old rock, same old mountain, yeesh."  And then there's the tourists.  Everyone who comes down to Hades, is like, "Where's Sisyphus?" first thing, and they all come over to gawk.  Work's bad enough without having a bunch of people watch you do it.

The reason I got put here was I loved life too much, you know that?  Hades came to chain me up.  "Those are some nice chains you got there," is what I said.  "Mind showing me how they work?"  So he chained himself up to show me and I threw him in a trunk.  The gods are powerful, but they are DEE-YOU-EM, dumb.  The second time, I told my wife not to bury me.  "Just throw me in the public square," is what I said.  When I told Persephone how my corpse had been disrespected, she sent me back to give my wife a good scolding.  That little trick kept me from kicking the bucket a few more years.  But finally they got me, and here I am.  That's the thing about death.  You can put it off, and put it off, but you're going to die sooner or later, and once you die, you're dead forever.

So back to the rock.  That's kind of my motto, "Back to the rock."  Like I said, first thousand years or so, I was really pissed off.  I don't mind admitting I had a bad attitude in those days.  But little by little, I began to see things differently.  Did you know, for example, when you roll a rock uphill, there's a certain point it rolls all by itself?  I call that "the tipping point."  I started noticing I could get the rock to a certain point and it would just balance a second or two, before going over.  Of course, a lot depends on what part of the mountain it is.  It's a snap balancing a rock on the lower slopes where it's flatter, but near the peak, it takes real expertise.  But that's where it's really spectacular, this ginormous rock perched on tippy end like an egg on a mountainside that's almost sheer as a cliff.  I've gotten genuine gasps from the tourists with that one.

Then the other thing is rolling down hill.  Of course, once you let it go, the rock is out of your control, the trick is getting it in perfect position at the top.  I call this "teeing up."  What I like to do is tee it up so it goes in a zig-zag instead of just straight down.  Sometimes I can tee it up so it goes all the way around the mountain.  I call this the "loop-de-loo."  I've never gotten it to go around twice, but I've made it go around one and a half a few times.  

Then there's the rhythm.  I must've rolled the rock up two thousand, three thousand years before I began to appreciate the rhythm.  Your basic rhythm is BAM when the rock hits, that's the downbeat.  Then there's a silence just before the tipping point, and that's the upbeat, so you get a sort of BAM-de-BAM-de-BAM-de-BAM.  But you can mix it up by finding a low slope and making a BAM-diddy-BAM-diddy-BAM-diddy-BAM or on series of bumps it might just be BAM-BAM-diddy-BAM.  BAM-BAM-diddy-BAM.

Oh, goodness, listen to me yammer.  Don't get me started on rocks, I'll never shut up.  I get carried away, I guess.

If you love what you do, every day's a vacation.

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