Dear Kid,

Waaaay back, before Pandora was a music station, even before Pandora was jewelry, she was a box. More accurately she was a myth. Even more accurately she was a Miss in a myth with a myth-sterious box.

Maybe I’d best start at the beginning.

NOT what Pandora found in her box. DearKidLoveMom.comOnce upon a time, Zeus got mad at Prometheus (who had given fire to the humans). As we know, Zeus had anger management issues. Anger issues, combined with cunning, combined with god-like power is a potent mixture, and Zeus was nothing if not potent.

So he decided to get back at Prometheus and his brother (Epimetheus) and all of mankind. He was that kind of a god.

Zeus had Hephaistos (I don’t think we’ve talked about Hephaistos. He is/was the blacksmith god, the god of volcanoes and melting metal and stuff like that. Known as Vulcan in Roman mythology and Birmingham, Alabama.) forge a beautiful woman. Don’t ask why a smith should be the one to forge a beautiful woman—that’s how the story goes.

Zeus named the woman Pandora (which means “all-gifts”) and gave her as a present to Epimetheus.

Now, my dear child, what have we learned about gifts from the gods? Basically that you’re in deep doo-doo. You will offend the gods if you refuse the gift (gods do not accept rejection well) and you’re clearly screwed if you accept the gift (gifts come with strings and conditions and other problems).

Faced with the choice of offending Zeus and getting a beautiful bride or offending Zeus and getting nothing, Epimetheus went with Door Number 1 and chose to marry Pandora. (For the record, Prometheus warned him not to, but since when do siblings really listen to each other?)

Zeus also did one other sneaky thing. He gave Pandora a box. With a really big lock on it. And told her never, ever, ever under any circumstances whatsoever was she to open the box. And he gave the key to Epimetheus.

I told you Zeus was pissed, right? Because no way could Pandora (who had been made for beauty not brains) avoid thinking about what was in the box.

And the more she thought about what might be in there, the more she wanted to open the box. And the more she wanted to open the box, the more she begged Epimetheus for the key. And the more she begged him for the key, the more he said no (why he didn’t take it to the vault is beyond me). And the more he said no, the more she absolutely positively had to see what was in the box.

One day, Pandora opened the box. (Reports on how she opened it vary. It may have been that Epimetheus fell asleep and she stole the key. It may have been that she just broke the big lock. It may have been that the lock was just a small seal and not a big deal to break. Investigative journalism was not very thorough in those days.)

The very instant the box cracked open, all the troubles we now know about flew out. There was disease, and worry, and crime, and hate, and envy, and sloth, and short hems, and ugly shoes, and badly applied makeup, and strife, and every other bad thing you can think of (as well as several you can’t possibly imagine).

Pandora slammed the box shut (bam!) and tried to catch all the bad things to put them back in the box. But they were well and truly gone. Still Pandora could hear one last thing in the box. She was afraid to open it, but eventually she did. Out flew one last little thing.

It was beautiful. It was Hope. Zeus had included Hope in the box to keep people going when the nasties got to be too much.

Love, Mom