In ”Ulysses,” Odysseus tells how adverse winds blew his ship off course to the land of the lotus eaters. His crew joined island inhabitants dining on the narcotic fruits and flowers, which were so delicious they left off caring about their home.
“Though they wept bitterly, I forced them back to the ships and made them fast under the benches (where) they smote the gray sea with their oars,” he said.
Should we praise Odysseus for staying on task or take him to task for not partaking? Farm-to-table offerings are the rage now, granted 3,000-plus years later. Was going home his own form of lotus?
Some people are so fixated they miss out on life’s other pleasures. Others work to avoid going home. Take me. I can write and take pictures fulltime—it’s like play for me—or go home and not be the boss of anything. My wife is the majordomo of our domestic scene, such as is.
Guys like me need a Dr. Don Boys Club to buoy our spirits. Boys writes essays with titles such as “Pious Preachers Promote Pernicious Propaganda!,” “Will Blood Flow Down Wall Street?,” “Drop Pig Poop on Mecca!” and more. He is parsimonious with periods for a reason: assertions pale when you’re full of rhetorical questions and exclamations.
“Does the Bible Require a Wife to Obey Her Husband?” asks Boys in his latest, as if he has any doubt.
I went home and read the piece to my wife.
“Who’s Dr. Boys?” she asked.
“A wise man who holds a Ph.D. from Heritage Baptist University,” I told her.
“I repeat my question.”
“‘The Apostle Paul,’” I quoted Boys, “‘wrote in Ephesians 5:22–23: ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.’”
(Paul also wrote, in Corinthians, he wasn’t married, but Boys doesn’t mention that in his article.)
“‘The husband,’” I continued, “‘has to fulfill his place as leader and decision maker and the wife must respond. If she is wise and Christ-directed, she will submit to his leadership.’ Doctor’s orders!”
“He’s a Ph.D.,” said my wife. “Those aren’t real doctors.”
“‘Cowardly, sniveling husbands,’” I kept reading, “‘and overbearing, commanding wives are a modern abomination. The broken homes resulting in unmotivated, uncivilized, uneducated, and undisciplined children are the consequences!’”
“So you take Flannery to McDonald’s and help with her algebra,” said my wife.
“I command you to do it! So saith the Lord of the House!” I thundered. Well, I tried to thunder …
As I ordered McNuggets and tried to explain compound inequalities to my daughter, I wished I possessed Boys’ certainty. As a man of God, he knows everything about pig poop, abominations and propaganda, whereas doubts plague me. I need to learn more before passing judgment.
Another addictive lotus the ancient Greeks warned us about is pride. For instance, it’s hubris to think I’m more humble than Dr. Boys is.
But wait, there’s more. I envy people so ignorant they think they’re smart, hence know bliss. Add lust, greed, sloth, wrath and gluttony and I’ve got the deadly sins covered. Time to start on ones that are just life threatening.
What does Dr. Boys counsel? “Each day,” he writes, “before I get out of bed, I ask myself, ‘What can I do today to make my wife even happier?’”
“Honey,” I told my wife. “I can’t imagine you being any happier than having me as a husband, but is there something more I can do today?”
“Take your bags,” she replied. “I’ve already got them packed.”