By Ascepius, Greek God of Science and Medicine, as told to Jen Mierisch, Contributor
Listen up, mortals. This is Asclepius, Greek God of Science and Medicine, and I have a bone to pick with you. You’ve been disrespecting me, and I’m madder than Hades after Persephone left.
Folks, let’s get one thing straight. Science brought you into this world, and science can take you out. You really think you know better than me, the son of Apollo? Why do you think Zeus made me a god? Because science matters, bitches. You seem to have forgotten how much I’ve done for you over the millennia.
Recently I’ve heard you say that “science should not stand in the way” of sending schoolchildren into tightly-packed classrooms during a pandemic. You seem to think face masks—the same ones you want your surgeons wearing—are somehow “unproven” at blocking germ transmission. And that’s just this past year. Don’t think I missed the time your leaders claimed “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” when sperm enters the birth canal without permission (Really? Do vaginas have armies now, like the Trojans?). I’m beginning to think you’re all Minotaurs, because you’re at least half bull.
Apparently you want to have your baklava and eat it too. You want to enjoy some of my gifts while rudely spurning others. That’s not how it works, ungrateful apes. When you reject science because it doesn’t suit your mood, like a peevish child tossing a toy chariot, you shall have your science privileges taken away.
I hereby revoke my gifts from all science deniers.
For starters, say goodbye to the days when everybody smelled pleasant. You shall no longer have antiperspirant, invented by a surgeon. Every time you lift your arm, it’s gonna be like Pandora’s box opened up all over again!
Got a headache? Bummer. Pain medicine was developed by – guess what? – Science, to which you now have a no-access pass. Of course, you could drill a hole in your head to let those bad humours out. Great cure – it only has a 90% fatality rate!
You say your fever’s 103? Ibuprofen is now off limits. Sucks to be you! Here, have a few leeches, that’ll do the trick.
Birth control? Gone. Oh, you like The Pill? The IUD? Spermicide? You know who created those? Scientists. Have a good time overpopulating your planet; Gaia ain’t making no more dirt. You men can go back to sheathing your columns with sheep’s guts. Or you ladies could always turn yourself into a tree. Worked for Syrinx when she was running from Pan, that horny old bastard.
Oh, you suffer from diabetes? You need insulin to survive? Well, tan my hide, you know how synthetic human insulin gets made? In a lab. Oh well. You might want to give that oracle at Delphi a call, because I’m not picking up.
No more vaccines for you. What, you don’t want to die from smallpox, measles, and polio? Not my problem. Say hi to my buddy Cerberus when you get to the underworld, and don’t forget to tip your ferryman!
Need surgery? Chemotherapy? Denied. Oh, quit complaining. If Sisyphus can push a boulder up a hill, you can tote around that ten-pound tumor.
Welcome back to the good old days, when half of your babies died before reaching adulthood, and one in twenty wives died in childbirth! Better say a prayer to my Aunt Artemis on that one, cuz I ain’t helping you.
Who do you think gave you the Hippocratic Oath? Me, maggots. “I swear by Apollo the physician, and Asclepius…” Hello! It was glorious, but then you took my name out of it. “Do no harm,” my sun-kissed Hellenic ass!
You’d best start making it up to me, if you know what’s good for you. A temple dedicated to me in every major city would be a good start. I’d like a statue in every park, and make sure you get the snakes entwined correctly on my upright staff.
Do it now, folks. The Rod of Asclepius does not enjoy smiting people, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Snap to it, or I’ll send the plague that rots off your peckers and permanently cancels all your streaming subscriptions.
Jen Mierisch draws inspiration from science fiction, ghost stories, and the wacky idiosyncrasies of human nature. Her work has appeared in Fudoki Magazine, Funny Pearls, Little Old Lady (LOL) Comedy, Sammiches & Psych Meds, Lighten Up Online, and elsewhere. She lives, works, and writes just outside Chicago, Illinois. Read more at www.jenmierisch.com.