Monday Morning Musings

Before moving on, I want to share a couple pictures from my big birthday bash that was held the end of June. This first one is of my son-in-law, Matt, who doesn’t like to have his picture taken. At any family gathering he joins my son, Paul, in avoiding cameras at all costs. While out at the resort, Matt took me for a boat ride, and I managed to get this shot without him even knowing. He really won’t know about the picture until he reads this blog post, and I am happy I got such a good photo of him. 🙂

This next picture is of some flowers by the dock. They are some kind of water lily. The flowers were just starting to blossom while we were there, and I imagine the whole area around the dock may be covered by now. 

The other day I read an interesting article on the website Daily Kos, titled  Practical Advice From a 4,000-year old Bartender. Quite an attention-getting title, don’t you think? Of course, I had to go see what the story was about. I didn’t think there were bartenders that long ago, but apparently there were.

We’ll get to that in a minute.

The article was written by Andy Ternay, a frequent contributor to Daily Kos, and obviously a well-read individual. The article analyzed aspects of an epic poem that was written centuries ago about a warrior king, Gilgamesh, and his friend, Enkidu, a wild man who was sent by the Gods to persuade the king to stop oppressing the people of Uruk.

Please raise your hand to stand with me as someone who has never heard of Gilgamesh.

Okay, good. You in the back row. Here is some information I found on Wikipedia. Gilgamesh was a historical king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk, a major hero in ancient Mesopotamian mythology, and the protagonist of the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem written in Akkadian during the late second millennium BC. That poem is considered the first literary work in history that was written down, and it reflects the myths and stories that were told in ancient Sumeria.

According to the story, the two warriors, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, start out being at odds with each other, but soon become friends. Later in the story when Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh is distraught, and he decides to go on a quest to claim immortality from the gods.

Here I am going to quote from Andy’s article: “After facing many trials and adventures he winds up at an inn for the Gods where he meets a supernatural woman Siduri who is in effect bartender to the Gods. Like bartenders everywhere are want to do, she gives him some good advice:

“‘Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek. When the gods created mankind, they also created death. They held back eternal life for themselves alone. Humans are born, they live, and then they die. This is the order the gods have decreed. But until the end comes, enjoy your life. Spend it in happiness, not despair.

Savor your food.

Make each of your days a delight.

Bathe and anoint yourself,

wear bright clothes that are sparkling clean.

Let music and dancing fill your house.

Love the child who holds you by the hand.

Give your wife pleasure in your Embrace.

That is the best way for a man to live.

Gilgamesh did not heed the words of the bartender and he continued to seek immortality, until finally meeting his end. Gilgamesh is remembered in texts but not for his heroic deeds, or for gaining wealth and power. He is remembered primarily because he did not achieve godhood. 

Andy concludes his essay by writing, “And for me, at least, this 4,000-year-old advice from an ale-wife captures the essence of life itself, even in the age of the Smartphone, virtual reality, and Trump.”

I do hope you will go over and read the whole article as it speaks strongly of what a king, a leader, and even a president could be. And I think we could all take a lesson from that long-ago bartender on how we should spend our lives.

That’s it for me folks. I do hope your week starts off well. Be safe. Be happy.

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