In "How I Got Smart" author Steve Brody uses a few allusions to mythology. The first is a nod to Cupid, the Roman god of love. Cupid, son of the gods' messenger, Mercury, and of Venus, the love goddess, was often shown as a baby with wings. He carried a bow and if someone was shot by one of his arrows, that person would fall immediately in love.
Steve Brody writes, "Cupid aimed his arrow and struck me squarely in the heart," when he sees Debbie for the first time.
Another allusion comes later in the essay. When Brody finds out that Debbie has a boyfriend, he is seriously disappointed: "I felt not only hurt, but betrayed. Like Agamemnon, but with less dire consequences, thank God."
Here, the allusion is to the Greek hero Agamemnon, who is betrayed and killed by his wife, Clytemnestra.
At the very end of the essay is another allusion to the Pierian Spring, which was a spring in Macedonia held sacred by the mythological Muses. It was considered the source of art, science, and knowledge. Brody uses this allusion when he decides to continue buying and studying encyclopedias in spite of his original reason for doing it (Debbie) now being gone.