The Norman Transcript

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January 10, 2013

‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts’

NORMAN — It would behoove us to amend the quote to read, “Beware of Greek gods bearing gifts.” The gods were sneaky, manipulative and loved disguises. Since they lied more often than not, they cannot be trusted — no matter what they promise.

However, we should be thankful to a second generation Titan of Greek mythology, Prometheus. He is the one who defied Zeus (the control-freak head god) by stealing fire from the gods and giving it to man. Unlike Zeus, who was all about himself and his power, Prometheus was fond of mankind. After all, he was commissioned by Zeus to fashion man from water and earth (aka clay). Then, things got out of hand. Man gained fire and knowledge, and Zeus was ticked.

For his trouble, Zeus commanded Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire and metalwork, to chain Prometheus to Mount Caucasus, where an eagle/vulture would eat his liver. Then the liver would regenerate and the munch fest would begin all over again.

This tale is a bit gross but more believable than picturing Og the Caveman accidentally knocking some rocks together and discovering fire. Perhaps Prometheus made it happen and Og got the credit.

In either case, fire gave light and heat, and folks did not have to gnaw on raw meat any longer, unless they were from the Land of Lotus Eaters and liked sushi or steak tartare.

Over the centuries, man encapsulated “fire” into bulbs of all shapes and sizes, which made it possible to move out of the drafty, unsanitary caves and build houses with lighting fixtures. In time, they developed stoves, allowing more flexibility in cooking than fireplaces or fire pits did.

With lighting and heating keeping the darkness at bay, man moved on to bigger and better things. Naturally, there were exceptions, like children and some adults who are afraid of the dark and need a nightlight to keep the monsters in the closets and under the beds from coming out.

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