A Lesson for Sisyphus
Of course it was all Sisyphus’s fault, and he knew it. That was the most insufferable thing about him.
He knew it was his fault and he was just so smug. Misery loves company, but that doesn’t mean that the
company will love your misery. They’ll hate it; they’ll hate you; they’ll get back to their own lives shortly
Sisyphus was the first to get put on the rocks, and the rest of us have had to follow suit and direction
“Mind your rock there; don’t let it get stuck in that crack.”
“Don’t forget to push with your legs, don’t use your back.”
He would offer his tips on the subject just because he was the first. He can always offer something
better for those of us who are pushing our loads up our hills. The worst part is that it starts to be contagious
and we start to do it to each other.
“Did you hear Tom got his boulder stuck again? He just doesn’t know how to wiggle it around to get it
around the crevices.”
“He may get moved to a different hill.”
“He may have to find a whole new patch of hills to work in.”
“Do you think he’ll get to take his boulder with him?”
It wasn’t easy to get those boulders up the hill anyway. You had gravity working against you. You had
the incline working against you. It was not an easy hike either; falling is a common occurrence, everyone at
some point got run over by the weight of your burden, and I don’t think it’s the gravity or the incline that
makes the load any heavier so much as the pusher’s perception of how steep the climb.
Every morning we leave our wives and go to work just like our father’s did.
“You weren’t born to be a king.” Sisyphus told us all on our first day. Just like he did for our father’s
and our grandfather’s back to the beginning of the chore. “I was born to be a king. I’ve been rolling rocks up
a hill since before you could roll your heads on your necks, but I’m the king of the boulder rollers.
Remember that when you go home to the people you aren’t even going to treat like queens, or think of like queens.”
I hated my father because he took that speech to heart. He’d come home guilty after the first day of
work and he kept the guilt. He slept with it beneath his bed, and he carried it with him in bags underneath
his eyes. When he died he bequeathed it to me, but I didn’t want it.
One day I left it at the bottom of the hill with my boulder.
Everyone else yelled at me, and asked what I was doing. Why I hadn’t started yet, didn't I know how
long the day was, and that rock wasn't going to push itself now was it?
I told Sisyphus that I had decided to be the king of the non-pushers, and if he would be so kind as to
excuse me; I needed to get back to my queen; the one with the pancake eyes and a syrupy sweet
Sisyphus watched me go. Then he looked at my boulder lying at the bottom of the hill, shrinking
down to the size of a pebble, and he wondered why he’d never thought of that.
Andrew Depew is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and spends the better part of his year writing and waiting for college basketball season to start. He currently resides in South Carolina.