Vol. 8, Issue 2, April 27, 2010
Education for the Otiose

Greek Bonds Downgraded; Zeus Sorry He Left Hermes In Charge

A day after Standard and Poor's slashed the debt rating on Greek bonds to junk status, Zeus, resplendent thearch of Olympus, held a press conference in which he admitted that things were getting out of hand under the rule of his wayward son, Hermes.

"We've been taking turns at the helm, you see; all part of this family counseling we've been going through," he said while toying with a small lightning bolt in his left hand. "We Olympians are a bit of a dysfunctional lot, and our therapist suggested that sharing responsibility might help us each understand the others' situation. Biggest bloody mistake I ever made, and I've made some doozies."

Hermes is popularly known as the messenger god with the winged hat, but he is also the god of thieves. He holds the record as youngest felon in history, thanks to his remarkable heist of a herd of sacred cattle from elder sibling Apollo mere hours after he was born.

"Things were pretty good under Hephaestus," Zeus said, "got the country through the beginning of the Industrial Age quite nicely there. And Athena did all right in establishing national autonomy back in the 1830s. But Hermes... Hermes is another story entirely. I'm still not sure why I agreed to this in the first place."

Under the heavenly guidance of Hermes, government corruption and financial malfeasance in Greece has become so rampant that it is virtually an art form. The spiralling Greek national debt is burdening the economy of the entire European Union, but the Greek populace is unwilling to entrust its government with the additional tax revenue necessary to help offset the debt.

"I thought things were bad when Ares set up that stupid Junta back in the sixties," grumbled Zeus. "But that was a walk in the park compared to the mess Hermes has created. My portfolio has really taken a bath during the past twelve months. Thunderbolts aren't cheap, you know. And that bastard Thor keeps hoarding them, driving the price up for the rest of us."

Hermes, whose divine guidance is currently emanating from an undisclosed but extremely luxurious location, has insisted that everything is fine, really, and that he has a sure-fire plan to turn things around if people could only provide him with their bank account and social security numbers.

With most of the more competent Olympians either ineligible for a rotation in the driver's seat or otherwise unavailable - Athena emigrated to the United States nearly a century ago, and Hera has been on vacation since 1982 - Zeus is rapidly running out of options to deal with the fiscal legacy of his wayward son.

"Maybe it's time to give Dionysius a turn," mused the divine patriarch. "If ever the country needed to start drinking heavily, it's now."

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