All right so most of you are probably really familiar with the tale of Heracles. A lot of shows use the Roman name Hercules, but give every other goddess and god the Greek names. No other god, goddess, or hero has this problem with people fucking up the right version of their name. Italians and Greeks may seem like a similar group of ethnic people and we’re both fucking awesome with the Greeks giving the world gyros and the Italians making pasta popular as hell when we stole it from China, but we are two sovereign states separated by many other sovereign states and, oh, a fucking sea. So let’s get back to Heracles.
The myth of Heracles has endured (in my humble opinion) for several reasons, because he was enormously popular in both Greek and Roman mythology (and they set the standards for awesome), he was the strongest man on earth with the self-confidence of Donald Trump, and he was charmingly stupid. Heracles was from Athens and Athens was the shit in Ancient Greece. Now Heracles was not a complete dolt, because he had his clever moments which I will get to at a later moment. Heracles’ daddy was Zeus, who was the most cunning bastard on Mount Olympus and beyond and had the sex drive of a monstrous hybrid between a rabbit and Arnold Schwarzenegger with a massive injection of Viagra. Zeus did just about anything he could to screw humans like turn into sexy and alluring swans, bulls, and even rained down a shower of gold to impregnate a woman. What woman in her right mind would be pissed when locked up in an underground dungeon and they saw a shower of gold rain down on them? That was the awesome power of Zeus. Unlike the Disney “Hercules” may have mislead you to believe, you should all know that Hera, Queen Bee of Mount Olympus, was NOT his mother, in fact Hera hated Heracles (ironically his name meant the ‘Glory of Hera’) and pretty much did everything in her godly powers to rid the earth of the poor guy. Heracles’ mom was a human Alcmene and Zeus did the ol’ switcheroo by appearing to Alcmene as her husband while her husband Amphitryon was off fighting…okay two problems with this–this was the lamest of all of Zeus’s attempts (King Arthur stories later stole this idea…which is crap and not original at all) and wouldn’t this be a red flag when your husband, who is supposed to be off fighting, shows up in the middle of the night for a screw? And let me tell you, Zeus actually banged her for 3 days straight, but magically made it seem like one night. Heracles obviously got his stupidity from his mother. Anyway, Heracles was born and Hera went apeshit. Hera was so pissed she sent snakes to kill the baby, but Heracles was lifting about 230lbs at this point and crushed them to death. At one point Zeus, trying to spare his son suffering and pander to Hera, managed to trick Hera into nursing Heracles…that went horribly wrong. Not only did Hera’s rage toward Heracles increase, but it created the damn Milky Way in two seconds flat when Hera woke up and bitch slapped that kid from her chest.
Okay, so Heracles started to grow up and started getting into heavy drinking and becoming a miscreant, but his parents always had faith in the little shit. Heracles also had this problem with having a pissy attitude in general. Some of the attributes to Heracles’ piss poor judgment calls are as follows:
1) He threatened to shoot the sun.
2) He threatened to beat the shit out of the ocean.
3) He up and left the Argonauts like David Lee Roth walked out on Van Halen.
4) In a drunken “magical” rage (supposedly sent from Hera) he killed his wife, Princess Megara, and their children.
5) He got involved with some crazy chic Deianira, who poisoned a robe, sent it to him, and melted his damn skin off and burnt the poor bastard alive.
And after killing his wife and children Heracles decided to repent by allowing his cousin, Eurystheus (a king of Mycenae…wherever that is), to give him 12 labors. Poor Eurystheus was then caught up in the circle of hate between Hera and her dumbass namesake. So Eurystheus was like “okay, bro, here’s the deal. For being the biggest asshole in Athens I’ll give you 12 impossible tasks and you gotta get them done…or else?” Hera was pretty much coming up with these labors and they are here:
1) The Nemean Lion: This lion was badass and no mortal weapon could pierce the hide. Heracles choked the sucker out and then went all Buffalo Bill and wore the pelt.
2) The Hydra: Heracles had some help on this one. One of Heracles’ buddies seared the necks while Heracles took them out.
3) Cerynitian Hind: Artemis’s favorite golden-horned deer that Heracles had to track for about a year. Not the best of the labors.
4) Erymanthian Boar: Heracles gets tricked by booze and attacked by centaurs. Dumbass Heracles wounds his buddies with poisoned arrows. This labor gets wrapped up, but it’s pretty messy.
5) Cleaning the Augean Stables: my favorite labor. Basically, Heracles has to clean the stables of horses, but these horses are boss and their shit does not smell like roses. Heracles royally fucks this one up by demanding payment from Augeas, the king, and so Eurystheus is like ‘nah, bro, you don’t get paid for repenting!’
6) The Symphalian Birds: These birds were shitting all over the place. It was a problem of epic proportion and pretty much a plague of the ancient world. This was a relatively easy labor because Heracles just scares the piss out of them and shoots them all dead as they try to escape.
7) The Cretan Bull: The Minotaur’s daddy is captured by Heracles and released in Marathon and, as usual, someone has to clean up Heracles’ mess so Theseus had to take the guy down later. This bull is caught up in a shit storm of insanity-not only did a queen fall in love with him, but his son’s some monster in a giant labyrinth and now he’s part of the plot for Heracles’ mess ups. The poor bull isn’t even sentient and he keeps getting drawn into these whacked-out human scenarios.
8) Thracian Horses: These horses were badass and dined on humans almost as often as the Aztecs did. The thirst for humanity in these beasts is quenched when Heracles feeds them their owner, King Diomedes.
9) The Girdle of Hippolyte: Heracles goes into a group of women and demands her belt. I don’t know about you ladies, but if some guy came into my house and expected something for free I would tell him to fuck off, too. In the end Hippolyte just gets killed by Heracles–or in other stories Theseus decides to keep her. I don’t even know why Theseus bothers with Heracles, but at least he got something out of the dolt this time.
10) Cattle of Geryon: Geryon was a three-headed giant and a herdsman. There’s not much on this one and I am not taking the time to look it up–but apparently the Pillars of Heracles magically appeared on this one.
11) Golden Apples of the Hesperides: The apples of immortality from the tree of life. Ladies, if a guy offers you a golden apple, take it and never look back. Atlas and Heracles trade off for a bit with Heracles hanging up and holding up the earth while Atlas goes and collects. Not a good idea to entrust a booze-gurgling killer with holding up the earth.
12) Capturing Cerberus: the beast of all beasts–the dog of the dead–the awesome pet and gate keeper for Hades, lord of the underworld. While doing this deed, Heracles spots Theseus–now this is one of the times their friendship pays off for Theseus. So on one of Theseus’s worst judgment calls he decides to help his friend Pirithous out on raping Persephone. Yeah, that Persephone…the wife of Hades? Lord of the Underworld? So Hades catches the two nimrods and invites them to sit down…not just anywhere…but IN THE CHAIR OF FORGETFULNESS. Now, seriously, if you go down to the underworld with every intention in the world to rape a man’s wife, do you really think he’s going to just invite you to sit around? I imagine it would down like this:
So Theseus and Pirithous go down all balls to the walls to the underworld and somehow make it to Hades, Lord of the Awesomely Dead, and Hades spots the two chumps. “Hey boys, what’s up? I hear you’re coming to rape my wife.”
Pirithous and Theseus glance at each other nervously and then, seeing how relaxed Hades is, decide to get comfortable. The rash and idiotic Pirithous was all like: “Listen, bro, it’s nothing against you…but I think she’s a hottie. I know she’s your wife, but uh…yeah, that was our plan.”
“Nah, man, it’s cool,” with the wave of his hand a magical chair suddenly appears, “take a seat. Relax.”
And then BOOM. Both Theseus and Pirithous are stuck and Heracles just HAPPENS to be down there getting that damn dog, and saves Theseus’s ass. Hades was not about to let that little shithead Pirithous away–and good on you, Hades, for sticking to your guns and honoring your wife Persephone. But yeah, Heracles gets the dog and saves everyone’s day.
Okay so after the labors Heracles is like a free agent, but (unlike Ovechkin) everyone wanted him on his team. Instead of wandering about aimlessly, Heracles wants to settle down for a bit…but that doesn’t last. Like I said earlier he got involved with a crazy (poke holes in the sheepskin when you aren’t looking type to keep you) named Deianira and she sent him a poisoned robe. That set his skin on fire. And melted his face. And then Heracles, in pain beyond belief, commissioned his friend to build a funeral pyre. Heracles (who was probably almost dead) set himself on fire just to die because he was in so much agony. And finally Heracles was dead…but not really.
Heracles was allowed to come to Mount Olympus where apparently he and Hera made up (or she just figured he was a lost cause now) and he lived among the gods. Now…I don’t see where in this whole story Heracles was worthy of this final divine intervention, but you be the judge. So that’s the story of Heracles and I’m sticking to it.