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March 4, 2005

Gilgamesh is gross!

March 4, 2005 | By |

I recently read the epic poem Gilgamesh for an upcoming Liberty Fund conference, organized by Frederick Turner, in Austin. (Fred is the renowned poet and author of a modern epic, Genesis, about the settlement of Mars.)

In my ongoing attempt to expand the Penta-Posse’s literary horizons beyond the Adventures of Captain Underpants, I snapped up an audio reading of Gilgamesh when I saw one at the library. On our next road-trip to see Jack’s mom, I felt like quite the uber-mom when the Penta-Posse became engrossed in the story of Gilgamesh, the ancient king of Uruk and his friend Enkidu, a wild man who lived among the beasts.

Problem: a key element of the story is Enkidu’s transformation into full humanity . . .through seduction by a harlot.

The print version read that they “lay together” and she “taught him the woman’s art.” That probably would have gone over their heads. The audio version, however, translates her “welcoming” him pretty explicitly. We’re riding along enjoying the story and all of a sudden we hear, “she spread her. . .” Total brain freeze! I looked over at Jack and I could see his brain racing, “Where is the off button, where is the off button?!!?

Then, that particular phrase turned out to be a refrain in the poem. No, no! Where is the off button??!!

Finally, the story moved on to tamer things.

Total silence in the back. Jack and I were still not quite breathing.

Then, suddenly, we hear the Diva: “EWWW! That’s gross!”

So, it’s official: Gilgamesh is gross. On the other hand, maybe this could be a new, more classic, approach to sex ed in the schools . . .or not.

For the record, the Dude did think that Gilgamesh’s fight with the ferocious Humbaba of the seven terrors, was “tight.”

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