The Epic of Gilgamesh
Death Quotes Page 4
How we cite our quotes:
Enlil went up inside the boat
and, grasping my hand, made me go up.
He had my wife go up and kneel by my side.
He touched our forehead and, standing between us, he blessed us:
'Previously Utanapishtim was a human being.
But now let Utanapishtim and his wife become like us, the gods!
Let Utanapishtim reside far away, at the Mouth of the Rivers.'
They took us away and settled us at the Mouth of the Rivers.
Now then, who will convene the gods on your behalf,
that you may find the life that you are seeking? (11.196-205)
If you've ever watched the legendary HBO crime series The Wire, you may be familiar with the practice known as "juking the stats." This is when the bosses at police force decide that they've had it with high crime rates, and tell all the division commanders to bring the numbers down. So what happens if the division commanders can't deliver? They monkey with the statistics, that's what. Robberies get reclassified as petty larcenies, fights get reclassified as loitering, and on down the list until—presto!—the statistics say that crime is down. And evidently, it's an old technique. Here, Enlil, the king of the gods, had wanted to destroy the entire human species with the Flood. But now the Flood is over, and two human beings have survived. So what does Enlil do? He jukes the stats, that's what. By reclassifying Utanapishtim and his wife as immortal, and hence not human beings, he gets to preserve his perfect record.