J. Griffin Hughes
I am the Oracle of Delphi
Updated: Jan 28, 2021
The world did not end on December 31st, 1999. Y2k bugs did not bite, and the predictions of Nostradamus and Prince remained unfulfilled. That was the night I received the gift of prophecy.
At our New Year’s party, my friends had laid me down in a quiet bedroom after I decided that out on the lawn would be a pleasant place to take a little nap. Later, when one came to check on me, I proved that even though I could not walk on my own and had difficulty keeping my eyes from closing or the room from spinning, I could still recite Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules from memory. Yet more mysterious enchantment was at work than either “Tenser’s Floating Disc” or “Magic Missile.” My chemically altered consciousness was tapping into my connection to the greater universe and the secrets hidden therein.
When I once again could walk, I snatched up the blanket that had been draped over my half-passed-out body and drew it over my head and shoulders as hood and shawl. Then I made my way back to the party, which had wound down for the most part. Only the old regulars remained. They asked how I was doing. I announced with wide eyes, in a high-pitched voice, “I am the Oracle of Delphi!”
My friends required a moment to recover from their laughter before they could ask of me my oracular wisdom. This I gave them, “Two babies with free boxes of cereal!”
Now, you might think what would have made more sense — slightly more anyway — would be if I declared that free babies were available if you turned in box tops from two boxes of cereal. Or maybe two babies could be received for three boxes of cereal, instead of free boxes. But that just shows your mind is not yet ready to comprehend the mysteries of the Oracle of Delphi.
No further prophecies came from me that night, but that alone gave my friends plenty to laugh over for weeks, months, I think even years to come. On only one other occasion did the Oracle visit me. That was about three years later on the night of my college graduation.
I followed the commencement ceremony by feasting with family and marking the occasion with my first and only tattoo. Still buzzing from the needle’s sting, I joined friends to celebrate with drunken revelry. Then at some point, I unfolded a paper napkin, held it over my head as a flimsy hood, and announced once again, “I am the Oracle of Delphi!”
This time the Oracle offered to answer the queries of those gathered, granting its wisdom to whatever existential discord plagued those dearest to me. The question I received was more personal than profound, as one of my friends decided to see what unfiltered response might come out of me. In vino veritas.
“Who was the best lay you ever had?”
As vessel for the Oracle, I was afraid for a moment. In that state, I could not recognize who had asked the question. My eyes were closed and all sounds melted into a cloud that I felt as though I floated within. More than one of the ladies present had graced me with the pleasures of her company, and it would be ungentlemanly of me to rank them so crudely.
What I in my fear and my questioner in her questioning did not fully appreciate was that at that point, I had stepped into the background of my own mind. The Oracle was speaking, and the Oracle had not been involved in any of the “laying” I had been part of. And so the Oracle had its own answer.
“The best lay I ever had was... a Frito Lay!” Thus spake the Oracle.
Being driven home at the end of that night, I vomited all over the passenger door of the car that carried me, just barely missing the open window. The next morning, I could not move from my bed, only throb and ache and groan. To pass the time during my suffering, I watched my sister’s DVD of The Osbournes and found Ozzy strangely understandable.
Prophecy has its price.