Quick, Guys…to the Milano!
So, there’s this awesome bit of the Odyssey, where Odysseus needs to navigate between Scylla and Charybdis, two hideous mythological monsters. They were based upon actual navigational hazards, and has become a sort of intellectual’s version of “between a rock and a hard place.”
I’m always frustrated by it, because I continuously forget which monster is which, and I’m pretty sure that Sting (from the Police) does remember which is which.
Still…a quick reference tells me that the one I was thinking of when depicting this image of stress is in fact, Scylla. Apparently, while Scylla was bathing in the sea, the jealous Circe (a big time witch) poured a potion into the sea water which caused Scylla to transform into a monster. A superdeformed Kaiju kind of monster with four eyes and six long necks equipped with grisly heads, each of which contained three rows of sharp teeth. Her body consisted of 12 tentacle-like legs and a cat’s tail, while four to six dog-heads ringed her waist. In this form, she attacked the ships of passing sailors, seizing one of the crew with each of her heads. That’s both random, and scary.
Charybdis, on the other hand, was cursed by Zeus into a hideous bladder of a monster, with flippers for arms and legs, and an uncontrollable thirst for the sea. As such, she drank the water from the sea three times a day to quench it, which created giant @#$#% whirlpools. She lingered on a rock with Scylla facing her directly on another rock, making a strait. See ow that would be the rock, near the “hard place.”
On an interesting note…the theoretical size of Charybdis remains unknown, yet the rules of the myth are clear. She could swallow whole ships. In order to consume Greek ships the whirlpool can be estimated to about 23 meters, or 75 feet, across…that is, in order to suck down the kind of ship Odysseus would be rolling out in.
So…why is this the art and content selection for the day? Great question, True Believers. As always, it’s a heavy handed metaphor. In this case, for two things that take the place of the monsters of myth: Mandatory Training and Vacation Time.
See…we are now in the Time of Year where school is ending. Armed with the calendar of the school year, teachers have made vacation plans based upon one of their most huge benefits…the incredible volume of time that they get off. Where other people work 50 weeks a year, teachers work 40…an enviable lifestyle, to be sure. It’s the trade off for lower pay. Teachers often use this time to travel, visit family, and otherwise be as adventurous as their lives tend to allow. Those plans often need to be made in advance, since travel and vacation cost money.
The district, on the other hand, looks at that often as unused time. Time that could be filled with training opportunities, and other such things to make a teacher into a better teacher. This is also pretty cool, and many teachers take advantage of those trainings, seminars and conferences. By choice.
It’s getting kind of trendy though to attempt to schedule “Mandatory Trainings” during our PAID Vacation Time. If it’s happening on my vacation time, it, by definition, cannot be mandatory. If it is mandatory, the district has to provide some way that I can do this On the Clock, as it were. Seems simple enough, but it is amazing how this seems to get into murky areas of complexity. Much like Scylla, the grasping tentacles of the District try to reach out and draw you into things that you really don’t want to (or don’t have to) do in the first place.
See? That’s where the grasping tentacles and Scylla come from. Charybdis (not pictured) would be elsewhere, a monster that can suck all of your time into its belly, and consume your vacation on pointless tasks. That’s more self created, the idea of doing incessant planning, book keeping, and reworking of lessons during the vacation hours. plenty of people fall into that trap, as well.
The protagonist’s strange two pronged lightning gun is key to at least keeping the tentacles off your back. It might not defeat the monster, but it reminds it to stay away from your vacation in the Savage Land, and also just to back the @#$% off, there’s a contract here. That second part is embodied in my assertion that all of this could be done in the last week of school, when grades have already been submitted, and I’m just babysitting anyway. Call in a sub for that, and I’ll sit through any Hater Free training that you want.
The secondary symbolism here is about leaving for Memorial Day weekend. Quislet and the protagonist are moving pretty quick, trying to get out the Negative Zone, and leave the Haters behind, if only for three days. It’s three days, with time away from the Negative Zone clearly on the temporal horizon.