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On Icarus

Remember Icarus? Me neither.

If I made my son wings, I would insist he put on his own loin cloth. (image via wikimedia)

I do remember him as a character from a Greek myth. But I have no direct knowledge of anyone named Icarus. Maybe you know someone with that name.

If you do know someone named Icarus, you probably have teased him about what a crazy guy that mythological Icarus was. Mythical Icarus supposedly died when he flew using wings his father made him out of wax and feathers. Icarus ignored his father’s instructions and flew too close to the sun. The sun melted the wax, Icarus lost his feathers and plummeted into the sea.

Part of Icarus’ problem is that he did not know a bad idea when he heard one. Wax and feather wings are a bad idea.

I Was Thinking About Icarus

I had an Icarus incident the other day.

A few times a year, I instruct a class which I open by doing some juggling. Juggling has nothing to do with the class, it’s just a good way to get the students’ attention as they come back from break. Also, I like the idea that I’m getting paid to throw stuff around for the two minutes that I’m doing it.

I was juggling some eggs, when some in the class challenged me to throw them higher. I did, I threw higher and higher in response to their cheers. I threw so high that one egg hit a ceiling panel and rocketed back down toward the floor. The panel deflected the egg, the egg sailed out of my reach and plummeted to the tile.

My problem was not recognizing a bad idea when I heard one. Letting oneself get egged on when juggling eggs is a bad idea.

This Was Going To Be About Me

Icarus. Fail. (image via Wikimedia)

I was going to write something more that connected Icarus to me. When I did a little reading about Icarus, I learned something that changed what I planned for this post

Greece has an academy to train members of the Hellenic Air Force. Originally, they called the academy the Military Academy Of Aviation. Military Academy Of Aviation is a good name that says exactly what the school is.

Apparently that name wasn’t good enough. Greece renamed their Air Force Academy. They renamed it the Icarus School, because he is a “mythical pioneer in Greece’s attempt to conquer the skies.”

He’s a pioneer, just not a particularly good one. If you’re going to name someplace for a pioneer in a particular field, you should choose a good pioneer.

Do you know what Greece’s problem is? Like Icarus and me, they don’t know a bad idea when they hear one.

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29 Comments on “On Icarus”

  1. Is it me, or does Icarus (“Icky” to those of us who are descendants of his wax wiings philosophy) look like Bib, the anemic Michelin guy?

    I’m sensing a pattern here. I don’t know what it is. I guess the moral of the story is you have to juggle a few eggs to make an omelet. Or something.

  2. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    That explains Greece. They’re perfectly fine with plummeting to earth. The put all their resources into bad ideas and then hold them up as models for their institutions. No wonder the rest of the EU is sneering at them. Wake up, Grecians! Greeks! Or whatever you call yourselves.

  3. Doesn’t matter…I still want to visit Greece.

    Also, do you juggle hard boiled or raw eggs?

  4. tsanda says:

    oma, you didnt mention if the egg broke! I am in a holding pattern here. I can’t possibly get anything done today with the cliffhanger!
    What was the car that exploded when people looked at it? The Pinto? So this would be like renaming its research and development to the Pinto Research Facility?

  5. shoutabyss says:

    Your post is illuminating. I did not know that Icarus flew naked. Good to know. Is it just me or is his nose a little strange, too?

    I love the concept of Icarus. I’ve used him in my blog from time to time to demonstrate what I sit back and judge as the heights of human hubris which always, invariably, crashes back into the Earth. After the crash, that’s where I step in to sift through the wreckage.

    +1 because your post gave me wings.

  6. We Found Him Captain! says:

    Some questions regarding the first photo. Is his father removing the loin cloth or putting it on him? Why does his father have that onion skin hat on? Who is the guy in the background, on the pedestal with his arm in the air? Shouldn’t the guy be holding a starter pistol? And boy! Is he ugly! The last is not a question but rather a statement of fact.

    • omawarisan says:

      The guy in the background is a starter. Guns were not invented yet, so his job was to drop a rock. The best starters knew to hold the rock out away from them instead of directly overhead.

  7. Lenore Diane says:

    “… letting myself get egged on…” Nice. Where is the reference to this situation leaving you with egg on your face?

  8. Debbie says:

    Feather wings and wax weren’t a good combination. Neither is tossing raw eggs heavenward in hopes of catching them — for me, at least! They’d have splatted ALL over the floor!

  9. Jackie Cangro says:

    The name Icarus seems to have fallen out of fashion. Just like Ezekiel.

    • omawarisan says:

      I know. It’s sad. How many little Icaruses (Icarum? Icaraii?) find it hard to get those little license plates with their name on it for their tricycles?

      Yeah, not many. But imagine the disappointment.

  10. Is this where Victoria Secret got their ideas for wings? Icharus wings. Were they paraffin or beeswax? Soy? I’m just curious.
    Also, is that what happens to men who are overly muscular- their balls disappear? Is it me or does he not have any balls?

    • omawarisan says:

      Welcome to Blurt!

      It was some low melting point stuff. Low melting point. I was awake in science class.

      I think it was an optical illusion. The man was flying with wax and feather wings. He had some balls.

  11. If they named their flying school Icarus? Do they also have the Ivan Boesky School of Economics?

  12. linlah says:

    It’s important to listen to your father.


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