Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Tunic Of Odysseus...Sort Of

The year was around 2002 CE, and I was in high school. Mine was a very proud establishment, that is to say, proud of who they were. There was no shortage of school pride. Pride Week was something that many students liked to participate in. Each day had a specific theme of dress, and several teenagers loved the fact that they could wear things like hats for the few days it was scholastically legal. I myself didn't normally take part in any of it, but when Hero Day came around (I believe on a Tuesday), I started brainstorming. 

Because it was right after September 11th and the Iraq War was starting to heat up, many people, including teachers, wore military combat uniforms or coats to honor the American soldier as their hero, which was totally fine. But I didn't want to be like everyone else. I always wanted to be different, my own person. The Hero I thought of that I most liked at the time was from the Greek story that my English class had studied a couple years prior, The Odyssey. It was the start of my love for ancient Greek religion, culture and myth. So I decided that I wanted to be Odysseus for the day, but the problem was a lack of clothing. How in the world was I going to find royal garments of ancient Ithaka?

Fortunately, I wasn't the only unique thing about my school. The World History teacher, by the name of Mr. Oor, was the definition of an adult class act. He would actually dress in clothing from different time periods to help students interact more with the learning, and I soon found that some of ancient Greece was in his classroom wardrobe. Upon request, he was glad to let me borrow some things. Even though it wasn't royal attire, it was an ancient Greek tunic that the Greeks of the time would have worn. I threw it on over me and added a pair of plain black pants. I was the one and only person in the entire school who looked anything like that, and some people even laughed, but I felt strong, comfortable and happy. I have found in life that you have to find a certain level of pride and delight with who you are and where you are, otherwise you're destined for unhappiness.

Odysseus was my Hero that day. Unbeknownst to me at the time, He would become part of my religion later in the future. While many others around me honored the American soldier, I went back to the culture that gave birth to the ideals of the American nation. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.