February 15, 2016


Written circa 1995.

I’m seeing commercials for a new headache medicine called Orudis.™
Wasn’t Orudis an Egyptian deity?

Yes. Orudis was the Egyptian god of pain relief.1

According to myth, Ra went to Orudis after Isis smote him (Ra) on the head (and we all know what it’s like to be smitten by Isis—as opposed to “smitten with Isis,” which may indeed be the case here, as an alternate version of the legend states that Anubis grabbed Isis by the ankles [as he was prone to do—no, I'm sorry, Isis was prone; that's why Anubis grabbed her ankles in the first place] and, swinging her bod[il]y, whacked Ra in the temple [well, where else?]—but I digress). Either that, or Ra created Orudis to handle the situation. The hieroglyphs are ambiguous. Ambiguous Hieroglyphs. My new band.

Orudis conjured two magic beads (12.5 milligrams each) and told Ra to swallow them. The myth is unclear at this point as to whether Ra did so and his headache went away (and dispersed into the world; the first headache remedy was also the genesis of all mortal headaches—there’s two sides to every coin, y’know?), or whether his whole head went away, or whether Ra gave Orudis that look—you know, that look—and whacked him in the temple (the temple of Orudis, that is) with the once-again ankularly-wielded Isis (this may be where the “ankh” comes from), making him feel better instantly (Ra, that is, not Orudis—or Anubis—and certainly not Isis). Or Isis whacked Anubis with Orudis and/or Osiris.2 I mean, when it comes down to it, who can keep track?

In any case, the headache of Ra was cast out of the picture and into the annals of medicinal theology. So, you see, the over-the-counter availability of Orudis recapitulates a millenia-old legend or, possibly, brings it to a close. I hope.

1. The god of non-steroidal analgesia, to be precise.
2. Rumor has it that Ptolemy had a frieze of the whole thing in his bathroom.

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