Yesterday was Philip Stanhope’s birthday. Three cheers to a man who knew what to do with a boring book!
“Sheeapollous, Cina. What the hell?”
Cina flung the mess from her hands, ran them under a small waterfall that appeared spontaneously. “Thanks, Teth. You’re a real Goddess. You’ve heard of crappy books?”
“Oh Big Z, yes.” Teth sidestepped the muck that puddled around her friend. “They’re everywhere. Every asshole with ‘cus’ or ‘otle’ or ‘es’ in his name thinks they need to share their wit and wisdom. What is all this, um…”
“Shit? Crappy. Books. In our day I’d have the odd scroll turn up, more as commentary on the author from a peer. Most of the time they’d biodegrade on their own and I wouldn’t have to lift a finger. But now? They’ve really kicked it up.” She toed a mass of pulp. “That’s Homer. Was Homer. And…” she turned left, right, “yes… that’s Zeno. Or Zeno reconstituted by some idolator. They can’t think for themselves these days, it’s all rewrites and posturing. The sheer amount of Rowling fan fic alone would clog Okeanos if I took a day off.”
“That explains Big Z rounding up some help for you from the lute layabouts. What are they doing down there that’s caused this strain on the systems?”
“You won’t believe me, Teth. And really, a Goddess of your demeanor, you don’t want to know.”
“Don’t bullshit a bullshitter, Cina. Goddess to Goddess, what’s the deal?”
“Well, I blame Philip. Back in what, 1747? It wasn’t his idea, really, but he did spread it around. And now with this Covid-19 thing and toilet paper being in short supply, it’s escalated to the point where…Well, look at me! Covered in shit from one end of the rainbow to the other and nowhere near caught up. It’s…I don’t know, Teth. Just too much.”
“If there was an answer in there, Cina dear, I missed it. What, no look at me, what, exactly, are they doing that’s got your sewers in such a state?”
Cina looked Teth in the eyes, fought back the tears. “They’re ripping pages out of shitty books and making them shittier.”
“How can a shitty book possibly become –”
“By wiping their asses with them!”
There was a long, pregnant silence. Teth erupted in un Goddess-like laughter.
“Oh Big Z! Cina, how horrible. It’s bad enough they were crappy in the first place, but now? Dear Big Z…” Her laughter diminished to giggles and she raised the small fountain over Cina’s head and let it run till Cina was sparkling clean. “Now there’s a presentable Goddess. Let’s go see how Z’s doing with rather-be-luting-than-working crowd. They need to get off their asses anyway and get to musing. There’s as much shitty music going around as there are shitty books.”
“Don’t I know it. Good for me their media is incompatible with the function and won’t fit in their current disposal system or I’d really be in deep shit.”
“That’s the best part about being a Goddess. Never having to deal with, you know, poop and all that.”
Cina shot her a look.
“Sorry, C. I mean unless poop is like your job.”
Excerpt of a letter from Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, to his illegitimate son Philip. 12/17/1747
-I knew a gentleman, who was so good a manager of his time, that he would not even lose that small portion of it, which the calls of nature obliged him to pass in the necessary-house; but gradually went through all the Latin poets, in those moments. He bought, for example, a common edition of Horace, of which he tore off gradually a couple of pages, carried them with him to that necessary place, read them first, and then sent them down as a sacrifice to Cloacina: this was so much time fairly gained; and I recommend you to follow his example. It is better than only doing what you cannot help doing at those moments; and it will made any book, which you shall read in that manner, very present in your mind. Books of science, and of a grave sort, must be read with continuity; but there are very many, and even very useful ones, which may be read with advantage by snatches, and unconnectedly; such are all the good Latin poets, except Virgil in his “AEneid”: and such are most of the modern poets, in which you will find many pieces worth reading, that will not take up above seven or eight minutes. Bayle’s, Moreri’s, and other dictionaries, are proper books to take and shut up for the little intervals of (otherwise) idle time, that everybody has in the course of the day, between either their studies or their pleasures.
Cloacina – Greek Goddess of Sewers
Tethys – Greek Titan Goddess of fresh waters