Damocles’ Sword


How many of us haven’t felt like Damocles at some point in our lives?  Me?  I’m lucky enough to feel like Damocles many days lately.  The good thing is several of my friends and colleagues actually know what I mean when I mention Damocles.  Although Damocles, according to Greek legend, envied the king’s power and accepted his offer to switch places, only to find a sword hanging above the throne held by a single horse hair.  In my situation, I don’t envy power at all, and I’ve gone out of my way to avoid being in a position of power because I’ve held that position before and really don’t like it; nevertheless, I’m under constant threat of the sword falling.  On my head.  Out of the blue.

So I’ve nicknamed the bane of my existence Damocles and refer to myself as constantly being under Damocles’ Sword.

For those who have not heard or don’t remember the Greek legend/story/mythology (pick your term), here’s a quick recap:

http://www.livius.org/sh-si/sicily/sicily_t11.html

I, however, like Bon Jovi’s rendition much better.  The song’s called Temptation, but he does a great job of illustrating the feeling of frustration, and knowing the futility of one’s endeavors yet being unable to stop.  In short, being under Damocles’ Sword.  At least, that’s how I interpret the song.  See if you agree:

I’m walking straight into the ocean, tell the tide I’m on my way.  I’m gonna hang my head down by Damocles’ Sword.

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