“You are cursed, son of Douglas,” gravely intoned Pythia, the Oracle at Delphi, “to speak naught but the Truth for the common man, to give voice to his troubles, to be a bastion of critical respectability even unto AM radio.”
Bruce Springsteen had come to Mount Parnassus to learn his fate. He’d been troubled by the mass acclaim of his most recent proclamations, known collectively as ποταμού, or, more colloquially, The River. As a result, audiences for his sermons swelled to unmanageable, if not terrifying proportions. He wanted to escape the rising expectations now plaguing him
“My parables are being diluted and misinterpreted even as more of the faithful flock to hear me deliver them,” he explained desperately, his hands outstretched and fingers spread wide.
“Sacrifice unto Demos–the God of acoustic sound,” exclaimed the priestess, whose frenzied imagination was now positively inflamed with ethylene vapors leaking through chasms in the floor of her cave. “Scale down the Olympian auditory of your message, lest you invite the wrath of the Gods!”
“What, abandon the wide-screen, Spectorian vistas which characterise my music?” he cried. “What folly is this?”
“Quiet, son of Adele!” the prophet commanded. “And I mean that literally.”
“Next,” she added.
“But how…?” began the New Jersey college drop out.
“Next!” interrupted the Oracle pointedly.
No more enlightened than when he’d entered, the man whose name means “jump stone” stumbled out of Pythia’s lair, blinking in the glare of the Greek mid-day sun.
‘Quiet’, ‘Scale Down’, ‘Acoustic,’ ‘Demos’. He repeated the priestess’ words over and over trying to find sense in them.
What did the Oracle want him to do?
Finally, he sat down against a wall, cradled his head in his hands and had to admit he didn’t know.