Some humans have the ability to see the attributes of the gods.
In the past, these people have been called magicians, soothsayers, witches and sorcerers. They have been shunned by society, arrested by the authorities, tortured, or burned at the stake. This is what happens to people who did not have the ability to keep their mouth shut. Those who learned that often fatal lesson, of when to shut up at the right time, have survived their time.
Nowadays it is different. Even a superficial search on the internet will yield hundreds if not thousands of mediums, success trainors, coaches, oracles, astrologists, palmistry experts, and fortune tellers, and other professions with exotic names offering services to change your fate.
We do not know which of them actually have the ability to discern the essence of the divine. Usually, those who advertise their abilities are often the ones who don’t have it.
Those who have the ability are often the most secretive about it. Another group are those who are unaware that they have it, until it is demonstrated to them convincingly. Even then, consciously or unconsciously, they have been discreet about that ability.
Take for example Speedy Gonzales. It’s his real name, because mama Gonzales loved to watch cartoons when she was young. And Speedy had no choice but to acknowledge the name.
It is unfortunate that Speedy is not the fastest runner in all Mexico, or anywhere for that matter. The Coach, who might have been a cartoons fan in his day, picked Speedy immediately for the track team. It seemed a logical choice at the time. And the coach was kind enough not to voice his disappointment at his would-be star. The Coach kept him on the team, although it was obvious to everyone who watches track that Speedy was the slowest runner in the team. Or maybe the whole school. Still, the Coach, who has a stubborn streak like all good coaches, kept the runner in the team. What he has decided, stays decided.
The team members decided to show the error of the Coach’s decision. So the team, in sometimes not subtle ways, moved to oust Speedy from the team. They did it by removing his things from the men’s locker room. Things like the towel or the soap, so Speedy would waste time looking for them. And at the last moment, his team would produce them. You know, a soft form of hazing. After all, they are on the same team.
But Speedy, like the coach, was stubborn, and kept on attending practices.
Until one day, the team decided to hide his sneakers. The players had to change from their track shoes to their regular sneakers after practice, because the cleats on the shoes plays havoc on the floors. But Speedy couldn’t find his sneakers, even after every player had left.
He opened his locker for the fifth time, trying to figure out where his sneakers were. And there on the floor, there was a softly glowing pair of golden sandals. Speedy would have sworn it wasn’t there the previous time he looked at it, but there it is!
Curious, Speedy got it and tried to put them on. They fitted so well. Speedy was so happy.
Then there arrived another member of the team. A friend, really, who came to check on Speedy.
“Speedy, what’s taking you so, long! Exam is about to start!”
“Okay,” Speedy said, hoisting his back pack and walking towards the doors.
“You’re not going there looking like that, are you?”
“You can’t go in barefooted. Where’s your sneakers? I bet they put it on top of the lockers again!”
Speedy looked down at his feet. At his softly glowing sandals which are so comfortable on his feet.
They couldn’t see it!
Now, Speedy could have insisted and said he was wearing sandals. But he didn’t. It was part of his discretionary habit not to make too much about anything. If they can’t see sandals, then they couldn’t see sandals.
Without a word, he went up to the top of the lockers and found his sneakers. Picking them up, and holding them in his hands, he went.
“Hurry up! Put them on and let’s go!”
Speedy tried to remove the sandals. It wouldn’t come off. So, hurrying, he tried to put on the sneakers while wearing sandals.
He could do it! It’s as if the sandals were there but wasn’t there. Ghostly sandals! So off he went.
“Slow down, will you! We have just enough time to get there. No need to rush.”
Speedy wasn’t running or hurrying. It seemed to him that he was just walking slowly. So he deliberately slowed down, and so they came to the exams. With some snickering from other team members, until the exam monitor hushed them and the exam started.
That night, at home, Speedy removed the sneakers and the sandals. He could do it. Putting the sandals on top of his desk he went to bed with lots of thoughts swirling on his mind. They couldn’t see the sandals. Yet he could feel it. And he was surprised that he could put on another pair of shoes on top of it. Dismissing the whole thing as a dream, he went to sleep, half expecting the sandals to be gone.
It was still there in the morning.
During practice, he put on his running shoes while wearing the sandals, and like previous time it was like wearing ghostly sandals while wearing the shoes.
He was running faster now. It seemed to him that he didn’t put on any more effort than usual and yet he could run faster!
The Coach was very pleased!
“You see, Speedy, practice makes you better! Keep on practicing and soon we will have a champion team in our school!”
Soon, Speedy was the fastest runner in the team. And they won event after event. It wasn’t that long until they won the State championship.
The Coach was very pleased. Speedy’s team mates no longer harassed him. He was everybody’s hero.
Then one day, while walking home, he felt his sandals tugged at him towards the small wooded area. He couldn’t stop his feet. Inside the wood he met somebody.
He seemed like a young man, wearing jeans and shirt. And yet Speedy could also see the glow of the helmet on the head of the young man. He was holding a caduceus, a stick with intertwining snakes around it. Speedy knew that if somebody came they would only see an ordinary young man with no helmet and no caduceus.
“I know you!” exclaimed Speedy. “You’re the god Hermes! The Romans call you Mercury!”
The young man smiled.
“Yes, and I’ve come for my sandals.”
And just like that, the sandals were off and came to the feet of Hermes.
“I would lose the ability to run fast!” Speedy wailed.
“No, Speedy. You would still run fast. You’re body has been attuned to the powers of the sandals and it wouldn’t come off.”
And with that, Hermes was off.
And that’s that. Speedy is not so superstitious. Or likely to be blabbing about his experience. Speedy realized that in some ways, this was fitting.
There are still many questions left unanswered. But the most important of all is why Hermes was there in the first place.
You see, the school which Speedy Gonzales went to is called the Olympus Academy.