Ye gods! New mythologies for Greece and Italy
Oh tempora! O mores! What new times and customs have we now, with the euro crisis upon us? What updated gods do the Greeks and Italians need to meet them? And what new responsibilities should devolve upon the old ones?
A short, speedy rewrite of Edith Hamilton and Thomas Bulfinch -- and an invitation to add your own deities:
Po' Seidon -- god of the Aegean, the Adriatic and Mediterranean, who drowns failing countries in their own debt.
Hermes -– the mischievous messenger god of luxury goods, whose acolytes say they hear his voice telling them to go ahead and buy that expensive handbag, even though they're maxed out.
Riotarchus -– the patron god of public demonstrations.
Truculus -– the god of selective deafness; his followers chant their monosyllable prayers of "no," in defiance of all wisdom and common sense.
Dividendii -– wicked semi-divines, the uncles to King Midas, who, like the Celtic leprechauns, are guardians of gold that they distribute only to themselves and make worthless in the hands of others.
Slavius -- the implacable god of raises, pensions and benefits, to whom there is no appeal. Brother to Truculus.
Perpsichore -- in Western Europe, the muse of the rich and busted. In Greece, the muse of government debt peddlers. Perpsichore's original worshipers were the Lehmanodoi, who went extinct and were replaced by the Goldmansachsonodoi.
Polytaxes -- the god of many surcharges.
Dimemonides –- the god of discount shopping.
Euphemistocles/Sophistrocles -– one god with two faces; the deity of jargon and doublespeak.
Adenial -– the fraternal twin of Cassandra. Cassandra had the gift of prophecy and truth-telling but was cursed that no one would ever believe her. Adenial's two-edged gift is never being able to tell a truth, but everyone believes him anyway. See Greek economic system, creationism.
Europa -- goddess of the single currency, still riding a bull, but this time a much, much bigger bull.
Bonus –- the patron deity of corporate fat cats; those who worship him wear neckties over the chlamys and, rather than incense, burn $100 bills wrapped around Cuban cigars to placate Bonus and enrage their enemies.
Cronos -– the god of time, and time payments. If his worshipers do not pay the monthly minimum, he eats one of their children.
Potus -– the most powerful of all the gods beyond Olympus, but slandered in his own realm.
Stimulus -– the god who rescues imperiled mortals, deserving and undeserving, at the last possible moment. See "deus ex machina."
Mars -– god of war and mid-priced candy bars. His belligerent worshipers can be relied on to shout his name to drown out appeals to all the other gods
Vespa -– the goddess of divinely high gas mileage.
Ceres –- the goddess of crop subsidies; at harvest time, she smites the fields of non-Big Ag crops like quinoa.
And what divinity of your contrivance would you add to this new Mount Olympus?
-- Patt Morrison
Photo: EU, National Bank and Greek flags float in front of the National Bank of Greece. Credit: Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP / Getty Images