With her group, Laetitia headed south from Sandusky to the Pickerel Creek Wilderness for some bird watching. Then they headed north again to the lakeshore to hike in the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Late that afternoon they arrived at Pandora, Ohio, a village of about 1,200 inhabitants and their evening’s destination.
When “Pandora” is mentioned, most think of Pandora’s box, based on a corruption of a myth recounted by Hesiod that might be more appropriately called “Pandora’s Jar.” In Greco-Roman mythology, Zeus is angry because Prometheus gave fire to mortals and directs Hephaestus to craft the first woman on his forge. With the help of Athena, Hephaestus creates a beguiling goddess-like being whom Zeus gives to Prometheus’s brother Epimetheus as bride, along with a jar with a warning label telling the couple not to open it. Zeus gets his revenge when Pandora, overcome by curiosity, opens the jar and unleashes all manner of evil on humankind. The last thing to come out of the jar is hope.
At happy hour that afternoon, Laetitia sat at the bar next to a woman of about her own age who introduced herself as Flora and said she taught English at a nearby community college. Flora said she liked living in Pandora except for one thing. She deplored people who make bad jokes about her Pandora’s box, crude slang references to female genitalia. She motioned at a boisterous group of men sitting at a table near the door. “They all used to play sports. Some of them were pretty good once, but ‘man and boy stood cheering by and home we brought them shoulder high’ hasn’t happened for a long time. My dad calls them ‘schlock jocks.’ He says they used to be athletes, and now they’re just athletic supporters.”
Laetitia smiled. Flora sipped her bourbon and water and continued, “These days they mostly drink beer, talk sports, support the local sports teams, and tell bad jokes. Watch when I walk out after I finish my drink. At least one of them will make some dumb joke about my Pandora’s box.” Flora’s prediction was accurate, and afterward, Laetitia wrote the limerick of the day.
A canny young lady named Flora
Through experience came to deplore a
Lad who tells jokes to jocks
‘Bout her Pandora’s box,
The bane of all girls from Pandora.