Hollow-Weaning a Windbag
In the mythic tale of The Odyssey, as Odysseus and his shipmates row home to Ithaca, they land on the floating island of Aeolia ruled by King Aeolus. When this “Keeper of the Winds” befriends Odysseus, he decides to help their return voyage by presenting the Ithacans with an ox-skin bag filled with all the strong unfavorable winds. But before their departure, King Aeolus cautions Odysseus:
DO NOT OPEN THE BAG UNTIL YOU RETURN HOME.
Without informing his shipmates of the bag’s contents, Odysseus orders his crew to keep the bag tied and secure until they were home. After more than 10 years away from their loved ones, the homesick and impatient crew members, eagerly rowed for nine days and nights. When Odysseus finally noticed the distant cooking fires of his island people, the whole crew anticipated their ship's arrival was imminent. Unfortunately, while Odysseus slept, his impatient and curious crew speculated that Aeolus' bag might contain treasure. Defying orders, crew members decided to untie it.
Once released, the adverse winds blew and battered their rowing vessel all the way back to Aeolia. The Wind King, aghast and disgusted at their sudden return, refused to aid Odysseus any further. From his perspective, the Greeks had disrespected his gift and ignored his warning. To him, they were foolish, self-centered souls. He was not about to help them a second time.
Of course, at first blush, many might conclude Odysseus' crew was ultimately responsible for releasing the winds. After all, Odysseus had clearly directed them not to open the bag yet in their impatience, they disobeyed him.
Nonetheless, it was actually Odysseus who failed his crew. He had accepted the King's gift, yet had failed to explain its contents, had trusted his impulsive crew to follow his orders, and then had fallen asleep when his ship was closest to home. As a leader of men, Odysseus’ was responsible for understanding his crew's character. However, he not only failed to calculate and defuse their anxiety about returning home after so many years, but also failed to anticipate their curiosity or communicate about the bag contents. Because as their leader, he failed to grasp the situation, it was Odysseus who failed his crew. Keeping this secret, failing to trust his men with the truth while also respecting and protecting the King’s assistance doomed all of them. This critical misjudgement not only delayed, but destroyed their homecoming. Their choices doomed all of them, yet Odysseus' failings as their leader eventually spelled disaster.
Promising Sea Sickness
Odyssey's ancient failed attempt and his failings as a leader to return home reminds me relevant messages about human nature in 2017:
When we follow or release a windbag, we always get blown off course.
Our trust in a windbag blows us away from "our home".
When we are honest and true, no wind will blow us backwards .
A windbag's tale-telling may raise or lower mugs and spirits, but never a halyard or anchor rode. While his boasts and toasts swing and sway, never a sail his gustos fill. His booming vocals only captivate and incite his deaf converts. It's only ego-inflating applause and adulation he seeks. One sudsy, foaming, frothy overblown yarn after another. His brags become gusty bluster. His toxic rants only unify dissent and "dis-status-factions". This ego believes everyone has nothing better to do than listen to his jibjab. While his buffoonery may draw attention, it beckons to sound a sound response. Any tongue-lashing would be wasted on this blowhard. Only a demonstrative rejection of this mindless, muddled mindset will send the message. He certainly can't hear his bombastic and brash bravado, much less comprehend the consequences of his rants and self-promoting raves. Life's loud mouths rarely rail reason. They rile rash and rabid with irrational rhetoric. They doggedly deliver devilish dirty dishes. These blowhards howl hollow and ate. Their unhealthy holler only feeds other hungry-howling hounds. Their clap-trapping complaints and claims actually drown rational thought. Their outlandish and outrageous "bad-havior" belies reality. Like any loud, foul fart that may at first emit a cheesy, inappropriate chuckle, yet those close enough rarely escape the stink and stench. The nonsensical arrogance assaults common senses and only stokes the fumes and fires a base discontent and distrust. The false entertainer without an audience is like the emperor without any clothes. The audience's shallow intrigue may be partly to witness his implosion and explosion. The fate of all drawn to his drag lies in their ability to escape their hot air.
Loudmouths like to be heard. Like a bratty, bullish child, they pout and pounce until they attract the attention they crave. Substance is not their cup of tea; they drink mostly from the sound of their voice. These sump pumps, drunk skunks and dumb dunks can only promise pointless palaver. Here are some imaginary bombastic bar-stooling blow-fishing seaside "sailors" spewing their false promises and proclamations:
"NO, bellows", exclaims unpaid Bar Bill, "I only come here to hear myself spitz and spätzle. I only want to blow in your ear. Don't care a swig for your swill; I only interested in spouting my rot gut."
"I hear Swenson's swagger-bragging his boat near fit to set sail once the weather and tides are favorable."
"Yea, wasn't that last year when old Angus staggered in here announcing that?"
"Well that's nothing, how about Handy; he's been shining on about his vessel's readiness since he stuffed his skiff into his garage two years ago."
"I'm setting sail to Indonesia next week", clamors Foggy. "Lucky if I stumbles into Inez and her readiness. She's not ready for my parting party."
"What about Randy? He's awaiting for his first mate, cook and bottle washer to show up this season. Said she would be here last year this time. Says he is interviewing prospects over at that table in the corner near the ladies room. Awe no rest room for those wenches who lend him an ear."
"Then there is Barton, nice chap ashore, prattles on about his ship's grounding off Hatteris in '04. Waiting for another berth upon a tramp steamer; his favorite table is over there next to the jute box. I think he only listens to the 'Wreck of his Mary Dear'.
"Just needin' a final coat of bottom paint; she'll be ready to sail to Tahiti." announcing Keely.
"After she's fitted with new rags, we raisin' 'er hook on first favorable tide," portends Pretentious.
"Ah", proclaims Sandy, "Once I finish sandin', stainin' 'er teak, we off to the islands, mon. Yea, she's beached on Bimini, but jus' as soon as I find way to cross, I'll raise her to her old glory."
"As soon as I find crew", stews Stevedore, "she and I settin' our compass and autopilot for the Bahamas. Should be soon as the sun falls lower than my yardarm."
"After hurricane season, I'm sailin' her south to the Virgins", proclaims cocky Stormy Petro.
"After I scrape away Lucky Lady's bottom barnacles, polish her brass and shine her binnacle, I'm unfurling her for Figi", promises Rusty Reed.
"Have you forgotten night-capper Brandy? Boy can he down a dozen shooters. Life of all his private parties, that is until he passes out. Joe Six Pack be proud, can swallow a case of swill and swirl a girl's tail with tawdry tales. He knows how to entertain talent. Thought he had acquired a bow berth aboard the Bristol schooner."
All windbags are full of themselves. They are filled with heated high-almighty airs that only stir passions and pundits. They generate conversation, but they can not converse. Their audience adulation feeds their emptiness and draws attention. They have nothing positive to offer; their promises are only glib, gab and guise. They only take us off course with their discourse.
Winds always communicate intensity and strength. Yet while ill winds can delight or destroy, they know not how to converse. They only blow one direction. While winds can carry, cool, clear or calm messages, they do not listen. They only blow hot air.
Lessons about listening to a windbag on another Halloween:
- When fake is considered the norm, all is abnormal.
- False leaders can't lead with false promises.
- When trust is suspect, so too is confidence.
- Hot air may rise and never falls on deaf ears.
- Those who cry false describe themselves.
- Windbags like balloons are likely to implode or explode.
- Windbags are full of themselves.
- Windbags can't hear themselves over their ego.
- When loud speakers rail against others, they fail to see themselves.
Hollow Ween lessons?
When will we learn to ween ourselves us from a hollow blowhard?
Maybe when we face our own hollow-weening?
Could it be we have to rewatch the Legend of Sleepy Hollow for some clues?