Exclam! Comic 29: The Modern Tantalus
This strip is based on a real-life incident. This weekend, our hot water decided quite capriciously to stop working, meaning that our showers worked in fits and spurts if we wanted them to be non-cold, in a manner shown above. (For some reason, doubtless similar caprice, the hot water decided to work again. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.)
The title and joke (as if there was one) may need explaining. Frankenstein, the classic horror novel by Mary Shelley, has the subtitle of The Modern Prometheus, a fitting one since Prometheus in Greek mythology brought fire from the gods to man, while Victor Frankenstein brings similarly forbidden knowledge (of making life) to fruition. (Prometheus was also punished by being chained to a rock with an eagle eating his liver every day (it regenerated daily as well) but for something like that, see my friend Ultimus’s Broke Man Adventures.)
Tantalus, after whom this strip is titled, was a man punished by the gods to stay forever in Hades in a waist-deep stream with succulent fruits dangling from branches above his head; whenever he was thirsty and tried to drink, the stream level would lower; whenever he was hungry and tried to pick the fruit, wind would blow the boughs out of reach. In a similar way, his travails are represented in my struggle with that most First World problem of dealing with troubles with hot running water. If I were more literary-minded and less lazy, I might well make that Frankenshower: The Modern Tantalus parody, but given my nature, I’ll settle for publishing this cartoon.