Theseus and Me
A Ball of String or Modafinil

This is another of my essays with an important backstory. I know, you are probably thinking that this is a really important essay. It is and far more vital than you can understand before reading this article. I wrote an essay about Trump and my attempt at teaching him about Greek mythology. My subject of that essay regarded the myth of  Icarus and Daedalus. It had to do with Daedalus’ warning to Icarus not to fly too high or not fly too low. This is another essay that is tangentially tied to that myth.

Minos, the king of Crete, was married to Pasiphaë who fell under the spell of Poseidon. That spell resulted in having Pasiphaë having sex with Minos’ prized bull, which resulted in her giving birth to a minotaur, a half bull and half man. This is an actual photograph of the minotaur.

I don’t know who took this photo.

Daedalus designed a labyrinth for Minos. Essentially, it was a place to imprison people that Minos didn’t like. Prisoners were put in the labyrinth and could not find their way out, which meant that the minotaur would soon devour them. Our fake president would love having a labyrinth under the White House for traitors like the whistleblower and everyone else that doesn’t obey his dictates.

This is what remains of the labyrinth.

Minos would get some of his prisoners from Athens. However, Theseus was an Athenian and decided that he would sail to Crete, enter the labyrinth, and kill the minotaur. Aegeus, the king of Athens and also the father of Theseus, tried to dissuade his son from risking his life. However, Theseus was focused on the demise of the minotaur. Off went Theseus to Crete and told Minos that the days of the minotaur were numbered. Minos wasn’t concerned for the minotaur’s safety, but, even if Theseus killed the minotaur, Theseus would get lost in the labyrinth and never get out. Essentially, it was a win-win for Minos.

Fortunately, Theseus met and fell in love with Princess Ariadne, Minos’ daughter. Ariadne told Theseus to use a ball of thread that she provided him as a means to escape after killing the minotaur. Theseus tied one end of the string to the door of the labyrinth and carried the ball of thread with him as he entered the labyrinth to find and kill the minotaur. After killing the minotaur, Theseus traced his way out of the labyrinth by following the thread to the exit.

This is another actual photo. Ariadne gave Theseus the ball of string.

That is the backstory. Theseus focused on two things that drove him. He wanted to kill the minotaur and also get out of the labyrinth. I see myself as a present-day Theseus. I don’t have to kill a minotaur or escape from a labyrinth. Therefore, I don’t need a ball of string. My version of the string is Modafinil. I have used that little white pill for four or five months. For me, it helps me focus on pressing issues. The single most pressing issue upon which I am addressing is returning to Myanmar during winter break from teaching. I have a thousand and one tasks to resolve before I leave the States and fly off to Pakistan and then to Myanmar.

My first task was to get my visas for both countries. Recently, both countries allow tourists to apply online for visas. Therefore, I started with Myanmar. I had all the material necessary and began. All that stood in my way was my photo which had to be uploaded to the online application. I did it, but there was a glitch. I tried again. Again, I failed. Not wanting to fail, I tried another way. Nope, I had hit a wall.

I emailed two computer savvy people, a friend of mine and my son. However, I didn’t want to fail at something like this problem. So, I tried again. Still no success. Then recalling Theseus, I tried again. Bingo. Finally, it worked. I uploaded the photo and submitted the online visa application. Modafinil allowed me to focus and refocus, which allowed me to complete the task. Today, I got an email with my approval to enter Myanmar.

Now, for the second task. When I travel overseas, I like to plan well in advance. Therefore, I went to my travel doctor for two prescriptions that I needed. I got them and put them in the guestroom in my home. I have put all the things that I need to take with me on my trip in there. It doesn’t take a genius to plan ahead. However, one day I was organizing some of the things that I needed and couldn’t find my two sets of pills, which deal with medical issues like malaria and issues related to things like food poisoning.

So, what would you do? Correct. Looked again. Ginger, my three-year-old Irish Setter, isn’t allowed into that room. Therefore, she didn’t take them, and no one else lives in my house. They couldn’t have just flown away to Myanmar.

I looked and looked but to no avail. I rearranged all the things again, looked under the bed, looked in the closet, etc. I finally resorted to calling my travel doctor and reordered the medicine. However, before going to the pharmacy, I looked one more time. They couldn’t have just disappeared. I looked again into my backpack, which I had searched many times before. However, this time, I looked into the compartment where I put my laptop. And what did I find? Modafinil proved again a great benefit to me.

Theseus focused on two dilemmas: killing the minotaur and getting out of the labyrinth. Modafinil allowed me to focus also. Now, one major issue that is looming on my horizon before my trip overseas. I need to write a dozen essays for my webpage while I am away in Pakistan and Myanmar. That will be a herculean task…and maybe an essay.

This photo is of Hercules dealing with his herculean task of killing the Hydra..