This Odyssey of Life
“I am Odysseus, son of Laertes, known to the world for every kind of craft – my fame has reached the skies. Sunny Ithaca is my home. Atop her stands our seamark, Mount Neriton’s leafy ridges shimmering in the wind…” (Fagles, The Odyssey, 9.21-9.24)
That doesn’t sound right.
Maybe in a past life, eh?
I am Jake, known to…hmmm…the Kenyon Track and Field Team for fried food delicacies and The Food Travels of a Coffee Snob. Green Gambier is my home. Atop her stands our landmark, Old Kenyon’s whitened spires pointing to the sky. Around her a cluster of cities lie…um…mile by mile, Mount Vernon, Coshocton, and Thurman Café’s Columbus too, but mine lies high on a hill, surrounded by the Kokosing, while the others exist away from Middle Path’s ruddy complexion. Mine is a beautiful land, and good for making memories.
Ok, ok, enough! You’re not a Homeric hero. You’re not sitting in Alcinous’ halls on Phaeacia sharing your adventures with the people who love the sea. Plus, you didn’t even invoke the muse! Let’s bring this introduction 3,000 years forward to the present, shall we?
Hi everyone. My name is Jake and welcome to The National Baseball Hall of Fame and…Wait! Take a deep breath. It’s not the summer any longer. I know old habits die hard but you’ve got to try.
Ok, one last time.
My name is Jake and I’m a senior history major at Kenyon College smack dab in the middle of Ohio. I’m slightly obsessed with the Boston Red Sox, ridiculously tasty food, and running biomechanics. I’m a captain of the Kenyon Track and Field Team (specializing in the 60 and 100 meter dashes), a frequent enjoyer of The Gambier Deli, and a Classics nerd who never learned Greek or Latin.
Since I was a boy I’ve been in love with history. First it was the Dinosaurs (which in kindergarten I claimed still lived in the mountains), then The Titanic, followed by the Battle of Midway, Ancient Greece, The Late Bronze Age, The Hittites, baseball, and now Exile. I have spent countless hours poring over books, whether for class or personal pleasure, in order to extricate from the darkest abyss of knowledge the tiniest parcel of information to lead not only to academic comprehension but to possibly gleaming an understanding of life’s journey itself.
I may not be Odysseus, wandering the wine-dark sea in search of a way to go home, but I am Jake, a man wandering through life, searching...
Searching for what?
Am I searching for gastronomical delights, track glory, or Mario Kart honor? Or am I searching for memories to fill the depths of my mind for eternity?
Perhaps I am not searching for any of the above. Perhaps it is the act of searching, not the parameters of the search, that defines me as an individual. Perhaps I am just along for the ride, following the waves to wherever they take me on this odyssey of life.