Let me just begin by saying that I normally don’t buy candy or anything for Valentine’s day. However, not even I can escape a store without being bombarded by their well placed, gaudy holiday displays and, today, I am rather glad for that fact. As par, I was walking right past the rows of Valentine’s Day items, but my mind suddenly threw up a mental flag that caused me to stop and turn right back around.
There, amid the sea of abrasive red and pink cellophane wrapped items, were two large rows of chocolate golden apples. This was exactly what I had thought I saw, but had to do a double take because, in my mind, that was just too good to be true. For those of you who are familiar with Greek Mythology, you might recognize why I found the idea of offering a golden apple as a symbol of love to various women on a day where you are supposed to cherish the wonderful, beautiful love of your life, so funny. For those of you who aren’t with me yet, or perhaps don’t recognize the story, just let me just give you a brief summary of the tale that instantly came to my mind.
A marriage of a favored mortal was to take place on Mount Olympus and the gods had been invited for what was sure to be the event of the century. All of the famous faces you may recognize were there in attendance that day, including three rather important goddesses: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. However, the most important figure comes play with a face that wasn’t invited and therefore wasn’t taking part in the festivities of the day: A lesser known goddess by the name of Eris.
Now, this may just be an afterthought, but if there was one goddess that I wouldn’t purposefully not invite to the most happening party on all of Olympus, it probably would be the goddess of chaos, strife, and discord ( in fact, she’s someone I would work to keep on my side). The other goddesses and gods, however, didn’t see the problem with this and blissfully went about celebrating without another thought of how much ire they’d stoked up within the foreboding goddess.
As you can imagine, Eris wasn’t exactly happy with this and decided that she’d do what she does best (which is cause utter chaos, if you weren’t paying attention). Biding her time till the festivities were well underway, Eris waited until the goddesses in attendance were all standing together. While chatting about the latest fashions in robes and how stupid mortal men were (no doubt), into the middle of them suddenly plopped a beautiful, perfectly polished golden apple. What a gift! Now, you may be thinking what is so special about this apple? They’re found a couple of times throughout Greek mythology, and gods have cooler things like lightening bolts, and crazy beasts they could send to torment people. Well, other than being golden, it wasn’t really wasn’t anything particularly unique about it. Well, except for the tag that is, which simply said: “To The Fairest”. Singular.
More deadly than a hand grenade full of rusty shrapnel, we can only imagine how silent the crowd became when the girlish giggles stopped between the three women and the bickering began. Needless to say, each goddess found themselves to be the rightful recipient of the apple. Besides, Hera was queen of the gods, Athena was the wisest, and Aphrodite was the most beautiful! There was no doubt in each of their minds that they were the one to receive it, however, they decided that they’d go ahead and let someone else decide. Knowing far better to open his mouth, Zeus refused to touch that pit of vipers with a ten foot bolt of lightning (no wonder he was King of the gods) and told them to go choose someone else. Unable to put the squabble behind them, the three goddesses finally turned to a rather handsome mortal man to make the final (and rather fatal, if you ask me,) decision. Stupid enough to actually open his mouth, the guy (from here on known only as ‘the dolt’) said ‘okay’ to the gig.
Now, if there’s one thing you should know about Greek gods, know this: they never play fair. Heck, even the bride at this glorious wedding was forced into it just because she decided to turn down Zeus’ offer to become another one of his mistresses. (I can only assume that she was a smart woman, as I don’t think getting anywhere near the husband of the spiteful Hera bodes well for any woman. Ever.) Annnywho, each of the goddesses decided they were going to bribe the dolt with gifts they felt were befitting and inside their power to grant.
Hera promised that he could be king of all men if he chose her, a real ruler of the lands. Athena promised him victory in war as long as he lived! Finally, Aphrodite promised him something she thought he simply couldn’t refuse: the hand of the most beautiful mortal woman in all of Greece. Of course, befitting of his nickname here, the dolt chose the gal. While everyone around him was probably groaning louder than an ignored crowd on an episode of Who Wants to Be A Millionare, at least the tense and terrible ordeal was over….right?
Oh, the girl was beautiful, alright. Aphrodite had given the dolt one winner of a woman. However, the funny thing about that gal is that she, unfortunately for many, many people, happened to be already married (something the goddess failed to mention completely). Not only was she already married, but to a rather powerful guy at that. Therefore, when the dolt abducted her in order to take her as his own wife, you can imagine it started a teeny little fight. Just a little one. The common name for this little ditty?
The Trojan War.
So, after my long short story, you can see why I found a golden apple being a present given out for Valentine’s day to be a rather hilarious one. Even if it happens to be just some golden tin foil slapped around a crappy apple shaped shell, the story is there behind it to make it a rather funny symbol that I thought I’d share with you. If you’re interested in the actual story, you can check up on it here.
Here’s looking forwards to D V-Day, folks,