The bare bones of the story of Damocles are pretty well known, and the expression "the Sword of Damocles" has become part of everyday language for a lot of people.
Right now, my own version of that damn sword is swinging perilously over my head, attached to the figurative rafters by a strand of horse's hair.
For once, I'm not actually talking about money (though obviously the image fits that situation pretty well too). No, this time, I'm talking about work.
I translate for a living. You know that. I translate mainly scientific and technical texts, often articles for publication in peer-review journals. I also translate a lot of websites, commercial correspondance and newsletters.
Recently, though, the focus of my work has changed. Yes, I did a lot of words for a pharmaceutical firm last month, but not nearly as many as there are in the book on history and museums I'm wading through right now, or the university exchange programme. There's also a media website.
So where does Damocles and his sword (so to speak) come into all this? Well, as a professional translator, I'm bound by deadlines. And deadlines? I have them.
Being poor and freaked out about money has resulted in me taking on waaaaay too much work. And now the deadlines are starting to seem horribly real and very scary.
A quick run-down for you: 150,000 words (yes, you read that right) by 15 June (that's the history/museography book); 22,000 words by 20 April (the university exchange programme); 2,800 words by this Thursday (the media website). Plus a couple of things to proofread, student translations to correct, exams to mark. I mean, I've done some of it (30,000 of the book, for example, about 3,000 of the university thing), but there's still so very much more...
Panicking much? Er, yes, actually.
I can almost feel the tip of the sword on my scalp...
Of course, maybe the most famous version of the story is actually THIS...!