Friday, June 3, 2011

Funny Friday

In Greek mythology, King Laius of Thebes and his wife Jocasta were warned by the Delphic Oracle that their future  son would kill Laius and marry Jocasta. When Jocasta had a son, Laius left him to die on a mountain side. A shepherd found the child and brought him to his king, King Polybius of Corinth. Polybus raised the child as his own, naming him Oedipus, which means "swollen-foot".   I kid you not.
When Oedipus reached adulthood, he too consulted the Oracle of Delphi to find out about his future. The Oracle told him the same prophecy that had been told to his Laius.  Believing that Polybus was his real father, Oedipus went to Thebes so as to be away from Polybius.  On his way he met up with pilgrims on their way to Delphi. Oedipus asked them to move out of his way, but they would not yield. He killed all of them, not knowing that their leader was his real father, Laius.

On reaching Thebes, Oedipus found that everyone who sought entry to Thebes was asked a riddle by the Sphinx.  Answering correctly meant that the Sphinx would leave; answering incorrectly meant that the person was eaten by the Sphinx.  No one had yet answered correctly.  The riddle was "What has four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three in the evening?"  Oedipus correctly answered “ a man”, the man crawling a s a baby (morning), walking on two legs in youth and middle age (afternoon) and with a stick in old age (evening).  The sphinx left, and the people were so overjoyed that they made Oedipus their king.  In addition he  married Jocasta, the queen.
Oedipus and Jocasta lived happily for many years, and had four children: Etocles, Polynices, Ismene, and Antigone. Then, a plague hit the city, which would not end until Laius’ murder had been avenged. Oedipus swore to kill those responsible, not knowing that it was himself.  They could not solve the puzzle until the great seer Tiresias came to tell them the truth. In horror of what had happened, Jocasta hung herself, and Oedipus blinded and banished himself

The above story also allows a bit of Oedipal humour:

"Oedipus," said Jocasta, “Be jovial, jocose,
Let Mum take the worry out of being close.”

The humour of the above comes from a well known deodorant being called Mum.  The named referred to “keeping Mum”, as in remaining silent.  It was the world’s first deodorant (1888) and the world’s first roll-on (late 1940’s), being marketed in the 1960’s with the slogan “let Mum take the worry out of being close.”

Freda Cohen is having a very torrid time with her teenage son. They are always screaming at each other and sometimes even fighting. So Freda takes him to see a psychoanalyst.  After several sessions, the doctor calls Freda into his office and tells her, "Your son has an Oedipus complex."  "Oedipus Shmeodipus," answers Freda, "As long as he loves his mother.”

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