Simple Pleasures Number 10: Milo of Croton
Once I’ve posted my simple pleasures blog, I sit back and wait to see what emerges for next week.
So it was that I found myself wandering casually around Holland Park in a curious and relaxed frame of mind when I came across a statue of Milo of Croton. Reading the inscription I discovered that apparently he was an athlete of great strength and repute (actually a wrestler) who on spying a tree with a wedge stuck in it, decided to free the wedge with his bare hands. Unfortunately poor Milo was interfering in places he shouldn’t – the wedge came free but the hands got stuck instead. Which meant he met an ignominious end by being eaten by wild beasts.
Now while that is all quite interesting from an Ancient Greek history point of view, try as I might, I couldn’t see what possible relevance that could have to my Simple Pleasures blog; in fact it seemed like a sad, little tale with no pleasure in it whatsoever. Although to be fair, haven’t we all at one time or another attempted to show off our prowess at something and ended up with egg on our faces? Or in Milo’s case something so much worse.
A lesson in what may result from excessive hubris perhaps but a simple pleasure? I think not.
So I bade farewell to Milo and went on my way, pausing only to exchange slightly embarrassed looks with a squirrel who was furtively trying to dig up some recently planted bulbs.
Imagine my surprise therefore when returning from the shops later that afternoon with a trolley full of fruit and salad, Milo once again entered my thoughts and frankly would not budge. Images of him with his hands stuck firmly in the tree became stuck firmly in my mind. His twisted body. His inelegant stance. His ghastly demise. GO AWAY I instructed sternly, there’s nothing for you here. I don’t even like you.
And that’s when I admit, I had to pause for a moment.
For I wonder if some of you are like me? Do you sometimes get fixated on people you don’t like? Even people who may repel you? Just a teensy bit? Do they intrigue you? Do they get under your skin for reasons you simply can’t explain?
Well this is what has happened with me and Milo. As on other occasions in my life, I’m fascinated by the person I can’t fathom or work out. I’m not sure if that’s a simple pleasure or a complex one but if someone is quirky, original, strange or just downright weird, you will find me in their orbit desperately trying to understand what makes them tick.
So it’s for that reason I’m going to visit Milo again during the next few days to see if I can work out what it is that’s pulling me back. Perhaps the importance I’m attributing to him is just a figment of my imagination or fantasy but my gut tells me there’s something there I need to understand.
And as for the outcome of that little visit, well, you will just have to wait for next week’s blog.
Oh, the simple pleasure of a story that ends on a cliffhanger…