Prometheus Voices A Concern by Alex Berg

"Griepenkerl- Theft of Fire" by Christian Griepenkerl - found online [2], James Steakley. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -

“Griepenkerl- Theft of Fire” by Christian Griepenkerl

Zeus? Can we talk for a second about this punishment you’ve meted outĀ for me? And, before I begin, I am sorry about the whole giving fire to mankind thing. I didn’t think you’d take it like you did, and I know you’re upset, so I’m not going to sit here and butt heads with you about whether or not I should be chained to this mountain for 30,000 years, having my eternally regenerating liver pecked out daily by Ethon the giant eagle-monster. I know I’ll lose that argument, so I’m not even going to try. I just wanted to voice what I feel is a legitimate concern: I feel that my continual lack of a liver may have a deleterious effect on my health.

I don’t know how much you know about livers, Zeus, but I’m sure you can


Prometheus Being Chained by Vulcan-Dirck van Baburen

appreciate the fact that it’s a major organ. It plays a major role in metabolism. Now, I know that since I’ve been chained to this rock I haven’t been eating as much as I used to, so my need to have an organ which secretes bile to help break down fats is admittedly diminished. However, the liver serves many functions beyond the aiding of digestion, including but not limited to the conversion of ammonia to urea and breaking down hemoglobin. These are necessary processes that all bodies must carry out, and I fear that my liver simply can’t do them while Ethon the giant eagle-monster is pecking it out.

Besides, I stand at a constant risk of infection. Even with Deucalion faithfully tending to my liver-wound every day, my innards are being continually exposed to eagle bacteria and the outside world. The resulting infection may very well trigger a hepatitis attack or primary sclerosing cholangitis. Despite the fact that I will regrow a new liver free of these diseases as soon as my current one was been eaten, the liver’s importance in the digestive system ensures that the systemic damages caused by these maladies may plague me for some time to come. I understand that you’re upset with me, but do you really want to live with the guilt of being responsible for giving a titan biliary cirrhosis? I don’t think that you do.

ZeusMaybe I should have said something sooner, but if- just for the sake of my liver- you could alter my punishment ever so slightly. If you just want me to experience terrible pain day in and day out, fine. I’ll regenerate whatever that lousy eagle eats, so it shouldn’t matter. Have Ethon eat off all of my toes, for instance. Or my fingers. Heck, he can even eat my nose, ears, and lips for all I care, but my liver is too important of an organ to be toyed with so lightly. For that matter, so are my heart and lungs. Frankly, I’d prefer if all of my internal organs could be put on the “do not eat” list. Thanks.

Or, if you really insist on having my liver removed over and over again, why don’t we find a better way to do it so that we can give the old livers to people who need transplants? I’m sure that there’s scores of hemochromatosis and hepatocellular carcinoma sufferers out there who’d like to have a titan’s liver in place of their own. This is just wasteful. Ethon doesn’t even care for the taste of liver. He told me. Well, just a thought. It might help people remember you as “Zeus, bringer of livers to the ill” instead of “Zeus, who occasionally takes human form to seduce temple virgins.” Just a thought.

Tell you what- I’ll let you sleep on it. You don’t need to make a decision one way or the other right now, but mull it over tonight and see how you feel about it in the morning. When you figure out what you want to do, just let me know. I’ll be right here- chained to the side of Mount Caucasus, screaming and writhing in agony as my tender liver is deftly pecked out of my side. And hey, Zeus- thanks for listening.

This post pilfered from Alex Berg’s old blog, Microanalysis.

Can’t exactly remember the myth of Prometheus? Here’s a short version.

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