“The Children of the Dirt” by Simon Rich

20 08 2015

I first heard the following story on NPR’s awesome podcast¬†Invisibilia.

“The Children of the Dirt” by Simon Rich

According to Aristodemus, there were originally 3 sexes. The children of the moon, who were half male and half female. The children of the sun, who were fully male, and the children of the earth, who were fully female. Everyone had four arms, four legs, and two heads, and spent their days in blissful contentment.

Zeus became jealous of the humans’ joy, so he decided to split them all in two. Aristodemus called this punishment “The Origin of Love”, because ever since the children of the earth, moon, and sun have been searching the globe in a desperate bid to find their other halves.

Aristodemus’ story though isn’t complete, because there was also a fourth sex, the children of the dirt. Unlike the other three sexes, the children of the dirt consisted of just one half. Some were male and some were female, and each had just two arms, two legs, and one head. The children of the dirt found the children of the earth, moon, and sun to be completely insufferable. Whenever they saw a two-headed creature walking by, talking to itself in baby talk voices, it made them want to vomit. They hated going to parties. When there was no way to get out of one they simply sat in the corner, too bitter and depressed to talk to anyone. The children of the dirt were so miserable that they invented wine and art to dull their pain. It helped a little, but not really. When Zeus went on his rampage, he decided to leave the children of the dirt alone. “They’re already fucked” he explained.

Happy gay couples descend from the children of the sun. Happy lesbian couples descend from the children of the earth. And happy straight couples descend from the children of the moon. But the vast majority of humans are descendants of children of the dirt, and no matter how long they search the earth they’ll never find what they’re looking for. Because there’s nobody for them, not anybody in the world.

It’s August. It’s not hot, but it’s still August. I feel stuck. I feel restless. It’s a Thursday night and I’m facing a Friday that won’t be very TGIF because it just means a whole weekend with no one to see and nowhere to go. I’m alone tonight, just like all every night. But I remembered this story and smiled, because I’m a child of the dirt. and, apparently, so are lots of other people.

Just ten days until September.