Homer’s Honda Odyssey
“Our Odyssey continues to be plagued by infotainment glitches, freezes, and outright refusals to turn on ….” — Car & Driver magazine
I’m not blessed with a loving spouse and family, or even a hating or indifferent spouse and family.
But if I were so fortunate, I would have a 2019 Honda Odyssey minivan. So comfortable! So roomy! So functional! So Lunar Silver Metallic! So signaling that I don’t care what people think of me or if my stuff still works!
Mostly I would want a Honda Odyssey for the literary wink. As a lit major in college due to my faulty genetic makeup because my parents and their parents and their parents were also foolhardy and fervently hoped one day to work part-time refilling the hot food bar at Whole Foods once it was invented and also volunteer to seat the eight regulars at the local experimental theater just to indulge our creative side, I was forced under pressure of final exams to speed-read the Bazooka Joe bubble gum cartoon version of Homer’s Odyssey.
Glad I did. Blown away. The Odyssey is an amazing story of a guy who left home, had adventures, and came back home to torture his family with constant tales of his adventures especially how he resisted #MeTooing a siren even though she tempted him. They just had one drink and that was it. Ok, she touched his stuff, but it was no big deal.
The Odyssey has all the elements of a timeless and gripping epic: bathos and pathos; Athos, Porthos and Aramis (the Three Musketeers); Chico, Harpo, Groucho, Gummo, Zeppo, Karl and Richard (the Six Jewish Socialist Comedians plus one American adult contemporary and pop/rock singer, songwriter, musician and record producer); and Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey (the typical Medicare-accepting therapist’s patient load).
I know just enough about the Odyssey to wonder how Homer (the ancient Greek, not the exhausted Fox animated sitcom protagonist, doh! ) might have portrayed his hero’s journey and adventures in a $47,000 Honda Odyssey fully loaded EX Elite minivan with CabinTalk® In-Car PA System, CabinWatch® Rear Seat Monitor, heated, ventilated and power-adjustable seats, 15 cup holders, adaptive cruise control, and so much more.
Let’s imagine Homer and the Odyssey today:
1. “Of all creatures that breathe and move upon the earth, nothing is bred that is weaker than man.”
Update: “Yes, honey, I know we paid extra for the HondaVAC® built-in vacuum that makes cleaning the interior convenient and simple no matter where we are. But the kids are just going to grind their snacks into the carpets again tomorrow so why bother?”
2. “There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.”
Update: “Could we talk about your sister and how she doesn’t care about your mother as much as you do some other time? I have a long day tomorrow. What? You think I don’t care about you? Do we have to go through this again? I can’t deal with this right now. I’m going to go sleep in the Odyssey.”
3. “There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”
Update: “Sweetie, I thought you were giving us directions. You’ve been there before. I haven’t. Could we just put on Waze? You don’t have the app? You just … here, give me that. Hold the wheel. What’s your password? H … A … T … E … H … U … S … B … A … N … D … 6 … 6 … 6 … FUCK! Christ, did you see that guy? Came out of nowhere. Asshole!”
4. “A man who has been through bitter experiences and traveled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time.”
Update: “If I have to sit here in my Odyssey for one more minute watching this Little League regional championship game to see my kid bat and run like he’s being attacked by horny bees, I’m going to finish this second six-pack because it’s noon somewhere better!”
5. “[I]t is the wine that leads me on, the wild wine/that sets the wisest man to sing at the top of his lungs/laugh like a fool — it drives the man to dancing/it even tempts him to blurt out stories better never told.”
Update: [Coming home from a holiday party, pulling into garage and sitting in the Odyssey. Long dead silence.] “Ok, ok, I know. You’re right — I should never drink and do karaoke. And ok, you’re right, my work friend was coming on to me and touched my stuff. But it’s no big deal.”
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer