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[Tidbits] Coral, Perseus, and Medusa


Listen. Here’s how one story goes. It’s the scientific version,
and I suppose, for some of you who have a tendency to rely on the
logical minds of our century for enlightenment, it will do.
Coral, they say, grows in warm and clear shallow water at depths
ranging anywhere from 10 to about 45 feet. To pursue empirical
evidence to it’s ultimate conclusion, there are those who would
say that the finest coral, from the beginning of time, was found
in the Mediterranean…more specifically, in an area of Italy
just a bit south of Naples. I, personally, would not disagree
with any of the above statements. However, I feel that they, the
enlightened minds of our time, lack an important element of
More specifically, how did the stuff called coral
come to be in the first place. It is here, my friends, that the
scientific community falls by the wayside. And so, as a public
service, I’ve decided to tell you how it happened. It happened
like this:

There was once a king who hid his beautiful daughter in an
underground chamber made of bronze where no one could see her. No
one, that is, but Zeus, who, when he saw her, felt an urge in his
loins he could not quell. (Am I allowed to say loins on the
Internet?) Anyway, Zeus fell in love with the lass and visited
her in the form of a gold shower. Talk about symbolism. From this
union, sprang forth a son of Zeus named Perseus.

Superstition caused Perseus and his mother to be cast to sea in
a wooden box where they floated and ultimately reached a small
island called Seriphos. And there Perseus grew up to the full
splendor of manhood. Now, we all are familiar with the rashness
of youth, are we not? Well, Perseus was no different. A friend
asked for his help, and Perseus, eager to show his willingness,
said something to the effect of: I’ll help in any way I can. I’ll
even get you Medusa’s head if you want. Olympus must have been
stunned into silence. Perseus’ friend said, hey, cool dude, I

I am not going to bore you with the details I’m sure most of you
know. Suffice it to say, Perseus chopped the Gorgon’s head off
and stashed it in a bag and started on his way back home. When
you have a treasure like a serpent-headed beast whose image can
turn you to stone if you look at it, you don’t waste time
dilly-dallying. Off Perseus sped. Over hill and dale and desert
he flew. Till he arrived in a place in Egypt called Philistia,
where he saw a naked woman chained to a sea cliff. It was love at
first sight. Listen, you see a helpless naked woman chained to
rock while you’re running around with a monster’s head in a sack,
you would also probably pause for a second, if for nothing else
than to take stock of your life. You know things are not going
along at a normal, even keel.

Of course, like in all romantic novels, Perseus decided he would
marry this lass. Her name was Andromeda. However…he first had
to fight a a monster to prove his worth. So Perseus drew forth
his vorpal blade, and before snicker-snackering about, he placed
Medusa’s head face down on a bed of seaweed which her blood
instantly turned into coral. And that, folks, is the true story
of how coral came to be. For the rest of the story of Perseus and
Andromeda, you’ll have to do some reading on your own.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.

Take care,
Benjamin Mark

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