An Interview with Sisyphus: The Man and the Myth

Sisyphus and His Naked Determination
Sisyphus and His Naked Determination

BS: Sisyphus declined the invitation to come sit in our posh HumorOutcasts studio for this interview, so we met with him on a steep hill in Tartarus while he stayed vigorously engaged in his usual daily activities—because that’s just the way he rolls. After a brief rocky start of stony silence, the former King of Corinth relaxed and grew bolder as he opened up about his most intimate feelings.

BS: What have you been up to lately, Sisyphus?
S: Oh, you know—same ol’, same ol’.
BS: So the gods have doomed you for eternity to roll a boulder up this hill only to have it roll down again, and then you start all over. How do you feel about that?
S: Actually, Bill, I’m just glad to have a job. These days most of the king business has been shipped overseas.
BS: You don’t feel crushed by the sheer meaninglessness of it all?
S: Look, work is work, and, besides, this is something I’m good at. I’m getting faster every day. I’m also getting a great cardio workout and am getting pretty buff, so I’m sort of killing two birds with one stone.
BS: I do see you’ve developed some rock-hard abs.
S: This boulder gives structure to my day, so I try not to take it for granite.
BS: Of course. Quick question: favorite type of music?
S: That’s easy—rock ‘n’ roll.
BS: And your favorite band?
S: The Rolling Stones.
BS: Favorite dessert?
S: Rocky road ice-cream.
BS: Why rocky road?
S: I love the nut clusters.
BS: Who doesn’t love nut clusters? Now, Sisyphus, what did you do to end up here?
S: Well, Zeus kidnapped Aegina to rape her, like all the others, and when her father came looking for her, I told him what I knew.
BS: Didn’t you realize that if you ratted out Zeus, it would piss him off?
S: Sure I realized it. But I don’t think Zeus should get away with that kind of behavior just because he’s the mightiest of gods. I don’t think we should excuse behavior that bad even when it’s done by pro football players.
BS: I couldn’t agree with you more. Favorite movie?
S: I like Stallone’s films, especially from the mid 70’s through the early 80’s.
BS: Favorite actor?
S: Dwayne Johnson.
BS: Favorite drink?
S: Beer.
BS: Beer?
S: Yeah—Rolling Rock.
BS: I should’ve guessed. Tell us a little about Sisyphus the man. Tell us about Mrs. Sisyphus.
S: Glad to, Bill. Her name is Merope. She’s one of seven sisters, and in my book she’s a real star. She sparkles all day, but she especially shines at night, if you know what I mean.
BS: If you mean she has a body as hot as the sun, then I do know what you mean. Now, Sisyphus, some people think your fate is the absolute worst punishment ever devised. How do you react to that?
S: I’m astonished. Astounded. Truly stunned.
BS: Good answer. I can tell you’re an etymology expert. Now, at the other end of the spectrum is Camus, who thinks you’re a hero, someone who’s been able to rise above his fate, achieve an absurd victory, and to even be happy.
S: Yeah, I don’t know about all that “hero” or “victory” business; that’s probably just a myth. But I think I’m pretty happy—as happy as the next guy, anyway. I tricked Death twice; that was a kick. I’ve got engrossing work, and then when my boulder’s rolling back down, I get to relax. Work and relax—I like the cycle. And the view from the top is pretty nice. It could be a lot worse.
BS: It’s good you can be so philosophical. Any final advice for our readers, Sisyphus?
S: Yeah. Sometimes, a morally correct choice can have tough consequences. Sometimes, to do the right thing, you just gotta have the stones.

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6 thoughts on “An Interview with Sisyphus: The Man and the Myth”

  1. Good piece. You nailed the last line. (If I were more clever, I would say that in a way that includes some kind of rock-or-stone-or-boulder pun.)

    1. As Ben Franklin says in his Autobiography, you’re better off avoiding the habit of “prattling, punning, and joking,” which makes you acceptable only “to trifling company.”

  2. Sisyphus is a lot more grounded than I thought he would be. I expected him to be more up and down.

    1. I know what you mean. There are a lot of peaks and valleys in his actual circumstances, but through it all his positive attitude is rock-solid.

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