Tuesday, August 15, 2006

He gave his life for tourism...

King Tut (King Tut)
Now when he was a young man, He never thought he'd see
People stand in line to see the boy king.
(King Tut) How'd you get so funky?
(funky Tut) Did you do the monkey?
Born in Arizona, Moved to Babylonia (king Tut).
(king Tut) Now, if I'd known they'd line up just to see him,
I'd trade in all my money And bought me a museum.
(king Tut) Buried with a donkey (funky Tut) He's my favorite honkey!
Born in Arizona, Moved to Babylonia (king Tut)
Dancin' by the Nile, (Disco Tut) The ladies love his style, (boss Tut)
Rockin' for a mile (rockin' Tut) He ate a crocodile.
He gave his life for tourism. Golden idol!
He's an Egyptian They're sellin' you.
Now, when I die, now don't think I'm a nut,
don't want no fancy funeral, Just one like ole king Tut.
(king Tut) He coulda won a Grammy, Buried in his Jammies,
Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia,
He was born in Arizona, got a condo made of stone-a, King Tut!
--Steve Martin, 1978

I spent much of yesterday travelling to and from Chicago with friends. We had tickets to the Tutankhamun exhibit at the Field Museum. It was great. I missed the old boy the first time around, and I wouldn't have appreciated it then, I'm sure.
It was jammed with people, and that was with the crowd-control created by only selling a limited number of tickets for each time slot. However, no one was rushing you to get through the exhibit, so you could certainly take your time examining an artifact--and sometimes you had no choice but to do so.
Of course, not every item that they found in the boy king's tomb was in the exhibit. Some items were just too fragile to make the trip, I'd imagine. Tut wore over 150 pieces of jewelry, layered in all his wrappings, of which they exhibited maybe ten. The major disappointment was in discovering that neither Tut's famous funerary mask (used on all the advertising literature) nor his sarcophagus were in the exhibit. I guess they stayed behind in Egypt or Britain. They did have several funeral masks (including one for a stillborn child!)and at least one sarcophagus, for Tut's probable grandmother.
Sarcophagus: there's an interesting word! It's not only fun to say, but the meaning is entertaining as well. It comes from 2 Greek words. Sarx/Sarcos, which means "flesh," is the first part of the word. The latter half comes from Phago, meaning, "I eat." I guess you put the person into the sarcophagus, and after a while you go back and look inside, and, "What's this?", the flesh has been all eaten away from the bones! I guess that's what they thought of when they coined that term.
Anyway... a lot of exciting artifacts in amazing shape and remarkably vivid colors at times.
The gift shop had plenty of overpriced items related to the exhibit, but one in particular caught my funny bone and made me mix my metaphors. It was a Kleenex box cover modeled after Tut's mummy mask. The opening through which you draw the tissues was the bottom edge of his nose! One patron told me it reminded him of how the ancient Egyptian mummifiers pulled the brains of the deceased out through the nose with hooks! Poor Tut! Respected as a god in his day, never faced old age, now a Kleenex box! And, as my friend Chris said, if what the Egyptians believed about the afterlife is true, we've really ruined him for eternity with this exhibit!

Listening to: "The Official Music Created for Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs"

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