Monday, October 8, 2012

Hello Columbus

Every school kid knows that in 1492, Columbus tied his shoe…or lost his shoe…or did something with his shoe.

I’m not sure.

However, no matter what the shoe incident entailed, it somehow led to a monumental discovery that affects quite a few of us, in that some folks, at least in this part of the world, have today off.

An event in and of itself worth celebrating…no matter what the reason.

If people had the day off to celebrate the discovery of salami, believe me, there would be just as many Salami Day parades as there are Columbus Day parades.

But I’m not here today to talk about salami, because, as I just said, today is Columbus Day, which traditionally means, besides parades, there are half off sales on everything from clothes to cars.

It’s also the day that we celebrate the discovery of America, by a man, not named America or even anything close to America, who may or may not have actually even been the first person on his boat to have seen the first glimpse of American coast line, let alone the first person to travel there.

So it’s a confusing holiday to begin with.

In fact, a lot of people think Columbus Day is more about the date on which Columbus was born, rather than the discovery of the new world on October 12th…but even that is a bit messy because if you notice, today is only October 8th…so apparently the actual date, no matter what it signifies, doesn’t really matter that much, just as long as we can make a 3 day weekend out of it.

And that’s another thing…it’s not even a full fledged national holiday any more with a mandated day off. In fact, unless you’re some sort of a civil service worker or school teacher, you’re probably stuck sitting at your desk or plucking chicken feathers, or whatever it is that actual people do…wondering why you’re not sleeping in today too.

So you can see we’re wading in muddy waters here.

The whole history is least from what I was able to glean from my usual lackadaisical Wikipedia research, which consisted of skimming through a bunch of mostly accurate information in about 2 or 3 minutes, which is the longest amount of time I can sit in one place in the morning, especially after 2 cups of coffee.

Apparently, back in Columbus’ real day, there was a lot of competition to bring back goodies from the east. So much so, that people experimented with all kinds of inventive ways to make the journey east quicker and easier, because as we all know, the early bird catches the worm...time is money...and a stitch in time is better than a late stitch, or no stitch...which has nothing to do with sailing in any direction what so ever.

All in all, despite the many navigational theories and innovative ship building techniques designed to hasten the journey, one thing remained constant in everyone’s thinking….in order to go to the east, either near of far, one must actually travel east.

Except for Christopher Columbus—known for his stubbornness—who said…

“If everyone is going east, I’ll go west. What have I got to lose? Besides, the restaurants are less crowded.”

And so off he went, a stubborn Italian man on a mission to discover a shorter route to the East Indies, notably Japan, which was said to be a haven for inexpensive electronic goods, especially the much anticipated new flat screen 3D HD TV’s.

However, Columbus being Columbus, created a lot of disharmony aboard ship by his insistence that the new TV’s were not flat at all, but instead round.

Anyway, to make a long story short, mostly so I can try and figure out the schedule for the new baseball playoff system that has just commenced (talk about muddy) Columbus eventually made land fall somewhere in the Bahamas, which in itself was lucky, because imagine if he had landed in New Jersey, especially in the summer, when the Jersey Shore crowds can be unmanageable.

Stubborn to the day he died, the always controversial Columbus would never acknowledge that he did, in fact, discover a new world at all, or that it was not, also in fact, anywhere close to the East Indies and the Asian shores he so steadfastly sought.  

“If this isn’t the East Indies,” he would argue, “Why then are the natives called ‘Indians’?”

But it was mostly a rhetorical question, since by this point, most people tended to avoid the real Columbus altogether, preferring, instead, to interact with one of the many statues erected in his honor, which they claimed were much more pleasing to talk to than the real thing and made more sense.

Which brings us back to today—Columbus Day—a day off for some, but not for many…which may or may not celebrate a man who might be Italian, but possibly might not, who may or may not have been the first to discover America, even though he wouldn’t admit it…and insisted on watching only standard round screen TVs, because to him, flat screens were just wrong. 

Enjoy the day…unless you’re working.



  1. What is this shoe jazz that all schoolchildren know about? I never heard -- and some folks don't like Mr. Columbus at all. They say he was mean to the Indians, Native Americans to be Pc correct. But I am a native American, born in Boston.

    1. In 1492 Columbus tied his shoe.
      In 1493 Columbus stopped to….

      Use your imagination here, but something that rhymes with 3.

      Maybe it was just a New Yawk school kid thing.

  2. I never heard that! Makes you wonder what he did in 1494. Closed the door, hit the floor, killed a bore, asked for more...


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