“The phrase “Midas touch” is a relatively recent idiom of English used to describe an individual who is able to make money where others may not. The phrase implies that in a consistent manner, the individual is able to profit from their actions.” Subsequently the “Minus Touch” is urban slang, that I’m positive, I originated, for meaning the opposite of Midas Touch. A reference that was lost in translation and invoked more an omen or curse instead of a joke! Doesn’t happen too often, but a sure sign for me, not to do “anything” important that day or until such affectedness wears off. Especially, till I can regain my wits, locate my marbles, about me. Where’s my shawl, I feel a chill?
This story starts like every morning, birds chirping, kitty meowing, a little neck pain (I can flatten a pillow, from “dreaming”, like no other), a dire need to brush my teeth, and the ever-ritualistic process of starting coffee. Like clockwork, “Sunshine”, I go about my mornings in autopilot, and if one little thing goes awry, my senses awaken. Downed my first 8-ounce glass of water and a good yawn “escapes” (no one around, so I don’t have to cover my mouth). Depending upon how much sleep obtained the night before, I might shrug it off and continue the hypnotic rhythm of morning chores. I’m awake! Somehow, I’ve managed to “dump” (slipped out of my hands) a brand-new pound of freshly ground coffee grains all over the kitchen floor. “Believe you me”, I will be cleaning grounds for years to come.
I’ve worked hospitality and “in” the service industry my whole life among a million “other” occupations. I’m also the youngest of 5 titans (give or take a few), so you know what rolls down hill and I’ve been delegated or relegated as the clean-up crew since time began, for me anyways. I can count on one hand how many mishaps or blunders I’ve made and that’s not many! I have stated before, I’m superstitious, emphasis on the “super”. No this “spill” was what I refer to as the “Minus Touch”. A play on the words Midas Touch, whom I was aware of some aspects to the catchy phrase, but never bothered to finish the story. And hence we’re off on a quest for its origins.
A beautiful day awaits us, these fair April skies of blue and white swirls of cotton candy clouds. The flowers are all magnificently in bloom. 65 degrees, sunny, and cold here, but crisp and clear, for the moment. Just enough time to fly through a historical portal and back to a time of mythology and lore (8th century BC). It’s 10:30 pm there, but also glorious night skies to fly through and stars to wish upon. We’ll jet about 7000 miles away by this story’s airline of friendly passageways and we might just “run” into a king with an “epically” golden “whopper” of a tale. We must insure not to get donkey kicked to any curb (that hurts) or turned to gold!
“The most famous King Midas is popularly remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. This came to be called the golden touch, or the Midas touch.” I believe this thought (notion turned potion of misconception) made time believe this was an awesome affliction or truly a wish of all wishes. We’ll talk wishes, genie’s, gin, magic carpets, more kings and queens another day of writing. Perhaps a better understanding of this story would capture a better suited phrase, otherwise, I’ve unknowingly invoked a curse of sorts. Ignorance may not be bliss and feigning innocence may not pass for a provoked punishment or failed test.
“One day …, as Ovid relates in Metamorphoses XI, (“8 AD Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus (Rightly). Comprising 11,995 lines, 15 books and over 250 myths, the poem chronicles the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythic-historical framework.”
“Although meeting the criteria for an epic, the poem defies simple genre classification by its use of varying themes and tones. Ovid took inspiration from the genre of metamorphosis poetry, and some of the Metamorphoses derives from earlier treatment of the same myths; however, he diverged significantly from all of his models.” (I’ll say!)
“One of the most influential works in Western culture, the Metamorphoses has inspired such authors as Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, Geoffrey Chaucer, and William Shakespeare. Numerous episodes from the poem have been depicted in acclaimed works of sculpture, painting, and music.” You have to “see it” “to believe it”!
“Ironically, interest in Ovid faded after the Renaissance, there was a resurgence of attention to his work towards the end of the 20th century. Today the Metamorphoses continues to inspire and be retold through various media. Numerous English translations of the work have been made, the first by William Caxton in 1480.”)” (“He is thought to be the first person to introduce a printing press into England, in 1476, and as a printer was the first English retailer of printed books.”) Thanks Wikipedia, “you” know “everything”!
*Back to the story and might as well envision a garden of the world’s best (imagination holds a keyless door) with draping grapes, wisteria, bougainvillea, golden climbing roses, and Swedish Ivy, everywhere lush and plentiful as they come.* “Dionysus (“God of the grape-harvest, winemaking, orchards and fruit, vegetation, fertility, insanity (what now!?), ritual madness, religious ecstasy, festivity and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth.”) found that his old schoolmaster and foster father, the satyr Silenus, was missing.” (Oh no!) That’s how trouble comes afoot.
“A Satyr is a male nature spirit with ears and a tail resembling those of a horse, as well as a permanent, exaggerated erection. (Get your guffaws out now, there’s more dirt to grind.) Early artistic representations sometimes include horse-like legs, but, by the sixth century BC, they were more often represented with human legs. Comically hideous (No Pierce Brosnan here), they have mane-like hair, bestial faces, and snub noses and are always shown naked. Satyrs were characterized by their ribaldry and were known as lovers of wine, music, dancing, and women.” As legends, scrolls, papyrus, by whisper of mouth, “donkey” ears, and Wikipedia state, “The old satyr had been drinking wine and wandered away drunk, to be found by some Phrygian peasants who carried him to their king, Midas (alternatively, Silenus passed out in Midas’ rose garden).” Don’t you hate it when that happens? So, embarrassing!
“Midas recognized him and treated him hospitably, entertaining him for ten days and nights with politeness, while Silenus (“Presides over other daemons and is related to musical creativity, prophetic ecstasy, drunken joy, drunken dances and gestures.”) delighted Midas and his friends with stories and songs. On the eleventh day, he took Silenus back to Dionysus in Lydia. “Lydia was an Iron Age kingdom of western Asia Minor located generally east of ancient Ionia in the modern western Turkish provinces of Uşak, Manisa and inland Izmir.” Dionysus offered Midas his choice of whatever reward he wished for. Midas asked that whatever he might touch should be changed into gold.” I wonder if King Midas had ever heard the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true!?” (Aesop’s Fables circa 260 BC; always a crowd pleaser.)
“Midas rejoiced in his new power, which he hastened to put to the test. He touched an oak twig and a stone; both turned to gold. Overjoyed, as soon as he got home, he touched every rose in the rose garden, and all became gold. He ordered the servants to set a feast on the table. Upon discovering how even the food and drink turned into gold in his hands, he regretted his wish and cursed it.” How could this be?
“Claudian (Latin poet) states in his In Rufinum: “So Midas, king of Lydia, swelled at first with pride when he found he could transform everything he touched to gold; but when he beheld his food grow rigid and his drink harden into golden ice then he understood that this gift was a bane and in his loathing for gold, cursed his prayer.” Drat, more ways than one! Try not to curse, use an expletive, completely negates the entire objective and adds another layer of insult to injury. Whoops, might we be lost, do I have us turned around?
“In a version told by Nathaniel Hawthorne in A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys (1852), Midas’ daughter came to him, upset about the roses that had lost their fragrance and become hard, and when he reached out to comfort her, found that when he touched his daughter, she turned to gold as well. Now, Midas hated the gift he had coveted. He prayed to Dionysus, begging to be delivered from starvation. Dionysus heard his prayer and consented; telling Midas to wash in the river Pactolus. Then, whatever he put into the water would be reversed of the touch.”
“Midas did so, and when he touched the waters, the power flowed into the river, and the river sands turned into gold. This explained why the river Pactolus was so rich in gold and electrum, and the wealth of the dynasty of Alyattes of Lydia claiming Midas as its forefather no doubt the impetus for this origin myth. Gold was perhaps not the only metallic source of Midas’ riches: “King Midas, a Phrygian, son of Cybele, first discovered black and white lead” and what has led us here today. Seems like a happy ending, right, or left? Haven’t seen any signs yet.
“However, according to Aristotle, legend held that Midas died of starvation as a result of his “vain prayer” for the gold touch.” Hard to say, maybe once the music died, he headed for the coast or a country-side villa costal size. Maybe cashed in his 401k, drained his accounts, and took that retirement plan forth to greener pastures or hills? The hills are alive with music, and we should head in that direction. Listen for a fiddle playing fool or a pied piper with exceptional views. Better keep some change in are pockets and be glad we’re not children in that era!
“Midas, now hating wealth and splendor, moved to the country and became a worshipper of Pan, the god of the fields and satyrs. Roman mythographers asserted that his tutor in music was Orpheus.” Upon divine introduction, the orchestra blows heavenly notes and harmonious winds from his entrance or a fancy version of a harmonica solo of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold, will do.
“Orpheus is a Thracian, Bard, legendary musician and prophet in ancient Greek religion. (“Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited large parts of Eastern and Southeastern Europe in ancient history. Thracians resided mainly in the Balkans (Wouldn’t you?) but were also located in Asia Minor and other locations in Eastern Europe.” Oh, and rumors his daddy might have been Apollo), (“In Celtic cultures, a bard is a professional storyteller, verse-maker, music composer, oral historian and genealogist, employed by a patron (such as a monarch or noble) to commemorate one or more of the patron’s ancestors and to praise the patron’s own activities.”)
He, Orpheus, was also a renowned poet and, according to the legend, travelled with Jason and the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece, and even descended into the Underworld of Hades to recover his lost wife Eurydice.” We’ll chat about Eurydice, Egypt, fleece, hellfire, better-halves, Titan fathers, and not looking back, another day of writing about, harps, lyres, lutes, mountain climbing, and flutes filled with overflowing champagne. A cherry on top of another Sunday! Sounds appetizing, we’d better look for a nibble, or grand buffet style picnic. No meat or dairy please, only goat yoga for me.
“Once, Pan (“God of the wild, shepherds and flocks, rustic music and impromptus, and companion of the nymphs. He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr. With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is also recognized as the god of fields, groves, wooded glens and often affiliated with sex; because of this, Pan is connected to fertility and the season of spring.” Springing now quickly forward! “The word panic (at this disco) ultimately derives from the god’s name.”) had the audacity to compare his music with that of Apollo and challenged Apollo to a trial of skill (also see Marsyas).” I see a family dispute up ahead, better take cover! A food fight is better than sword. Still a waste for all to behold.
“Apollo was a major Greek god associated with the bow, music, and divination. The epitome of youth and beauty, source of life and healing, patron of the arts, and as bright and powerful as the sun itself, Apollo was, arguably, the most loved of all the gods. He was worshipped at Delphi and Delos, amongst the most famous of all Greek religious sanctuaries.”
“Tmolus (“gored to death by a bull”, see Taurus’, running with the bulls, barbaric rodeos for further research and development for dear reference), the mountain-God, was chosen as umpire. Pan blew on his pipes and, with his rustic melody, gave great satisfaction to himself and his faithful follower, Midas, who happened to be present.” I’m getting a devil went down to Georgia vibe! “Then Apollo struck the strings of his lyre. Tmolus at once awarded the victory to Apollo, and all but one agreed with the judgment. Midas dissented and questioned the justice of the award.”
“Apollo would not suffer (fools gladly and) such a depraved pair of ears any longer and said, “Must have ears of an ass!”, which caused Midas’s ears to become those of a donkey. The myth is illustrated by two paintings, “Apollo and Marsyas” by Palma il Giovane (1544–1628), one depicting the scene before, and one after, the punishment. Midas was mortified at this mishap.” Either starvation, ox’s blood, or eternal damnation of humiliation his final outcome, we’ll never know, but we today can learn from their mistakes. Or can we? I know, we should!
I can hear between the lines and have surmised, that we should do good, just to do good. No reward or shiny trinket will ever replace the “nature” of a good deed, truly. Bottom line, we shouldn’t expect, but accept what is and isn’t ours for the taking. The Minus Touch is almost a reverse of Midas and actually the two have been mixed up, misused, and misinterpreted, chiefly by yours truly. My search engine continues with a pure mind and heart, am I getting old?
“The phrase ‘No good deed goes unpunished’ is a sardonic commentary on the frequency with which acts of kindness backfire on those who offer them. In other words, those who help others are doomed to suffer as a result of their helpfulness.” ” It is also featured prominently in the song “No Good Deed”, from the 2003 hit Broadway musical Wicked.” And a “wicked” adaptation to behold, the musical not the catchy sarcastic utterance.
“It has been attributed to several luminaries, including Billy Wilder, writer Clare Boothe Luce, American financier John P. Grier, banker Andrew W. Mellon, and Oscar Wilde. Although its actual origin has never been established, Dante Alighieri wrote a similar adage in his narrative poem The Divine Comedy: “amor sementa in voi d’ogne virtute/e d’ogni operazion che merta pene” (“love is the seed in you of every virtue/and of all acts deserving punishment”). In one form or another, the saying dates back to the 14th century, if not to antiquity, with a bitter disillusionment redolent of the Book of Job.” Yup, you heard Job!
“Job is an investigation of the problem of divine justice. This problem, known in theology as the problem of evil, can be rephrased as a question: “Why do the righteous suffer?” The conventional answer in ancient Israel was that God rewards virtue and punishes sin (the principle known as “retributive justice”). This assumes a world in which human choices and actions are morally significant, but experience demonstrates that suffering is frequently unmerited.”
“The biblical concept of righteousness was rooted in the covenant-making God who had ordered creation for communal well-being, and the righteous were those who invested in the community, showing special concern for the poor and needy. Their antithesis was the wicked, who were selfish and greedy. The Satan (or The Adversary) raises the question of whether there is such a thing as disinterested righteousness: if God rewards righteousness with prosperity, will men not act righteously from selfish motives? He asks God to test this by removing the prosperity of Job, the most righteous of all God’s servants.”
“When all is said and done, we might think that the right thing happened to Job by getting “fair” treatment in the end, but the fairest treatment every human deserves is the judgment of a holy God. God’s grace to Job was spectacular in light of what every human deserves. Through his suffering Job obtained a much greater intimacy with his Maker. After that suffering, God providentially restored to him a family and belongings so that Job delighted in his Maker’s grace.” (Source answeringenesis.org)
“I want to live. I want to give. I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold. It’s these expressions, I never give up, that keep me searching. I’ve been to Hollywood, I’ve been to the Redwoods, I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold. I’ve been in my mind; it’s such a fine line and it’s been such a good time with you! Thank you for visiting this royal nebula of mythological history with this illogical or illegitimate ghost writer. One of those words aptly apply and since the coffee is freshly brewed, I offer you a cup of dark roasted merriment and bliss, runneth over. Till next time, “Goodbyes are not forever, are not the end; it simply means ‘I’ll miss you,’ until we meet again.” Safe travels don’t get distracted and Godspeed!