Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two Columbus......

Sometimes it just takes a word or a phrase to make you pause…. And then pause again…. and think to yourself, “Huh?”

Yesterday morning I had to go to the Post Office. Because of Monday’s holiday the line was even longer than usual.

There were more than 30 people in line and none of us was thrilled to be there. People were complaining about how slow the service was and the usual stuff about lousy service at the Post Office.

Now I don’t complain at the Post Office. I smile and compliment them and tell how much I love stamps. Because… well…. There’s a reason they call it “going postal”.

In front of me were two younger guys, maybe in their twenties. They were texting or tweeting or whatever you do with what used to be a phone when one of the guys says, “I don’t see why we had to have a holiday for the Colombians anyway.”

There’s a moment in time where everyone hears the same thing at once. Maybe it’s a gunshot or a slot machine jackpot or maybe… just maybe….. It’s when an idiot speaks.

There were at least half a dozen of us that heard this and we all kind of had this, “he can’t be that stupid” look on our faces.

And then…..

The guy in front of him spoke.

“It’s about the drugs. I think we do it because they’re trying to stop the drugs coming in.”

The first thing that popped into my head was, “What are the odds that I would have two people who were obviously dropped on their heads as infants in line in front of me at the Post Office?”

Or maybe I had just met two of the people that had dodged “No child left behind.”?

Then an older woman in line in front of them said, “No it wasn’t about Columbians it was about Columbus and him discovering America.”

And then someone next to her said, “The Vikings discovered America long before Columbus.”

And someone behind me said, “I think the Indians might have had a thing to say about that. They were here way before either of them.”

A conversation ensued that I didn’t quite catch all of but I heard the words, “slavery”, “genocide”, “disease, “invader”, “colonization”, “explorers” and “hero”.

The two idiots that started the conversation didn’t even respond. They kept texting and tweeting and ignored the whole conversation.

I had stayed out of this whole thing until the older lady looked right at me and said, “What do you think?”

They all stopped talking and looked right at me.

Even the two idiots.

“Hey I’m just happy an Italian guy got me the day off.”

They paused for a moment and then went back to their discussion like I didn’t even exist.

“What is wrong with all of you people? The man gave us a day off. Why do we care whether or not he owned slaves, spread diseases caused global warming or played on special teams for the Chargers? The man gave us a holiday. That’s all that matters to me.”

When I got home last night I told my wife what had happened in the Post Office.

“You know Christopher Columbus was actually Portuguese.”

“What? No he wasn’t he was Italian.”

“Sorry he was a Portuguese Nobleman spying on the Spanish.”

“That’s ridiculous I saw a painting of him eating a torpedo sandwich on the deck of the Santa Maria. That’s an Italian sandwich.”

“Where did you see a painting of him eating a sandwich?”

“In the Louvre. It was on the Discovery Channel or the History Channel or one of those channels that has a show about finding something that they never find.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Monster Quest, Mystery Quest, Destination Truth, UFO Files, Ghost Hunters or any of those shows that suck you in and then never find anything.”

“You’re the idiot that watched that crap not me. And what does that have to do with Columbus?”

“Well I have a theory that Columbus was actually an alien life form that transformed himself into Columbus. I think he was sent here to find another alien, The Lochness Monster, and that the Lochness Monster ate him. Now the ghost of Columbus the alien still searches for other alien life forms on earth. That’s what I think.”

“Uh huh…… Are you done?”

“Nope. Have you ever wondered why none of those shows ever looks for things like ghosts or monsters in the day time? It always has to be dark. That’s because ghosts and monsters never figured out daylight savings time. Think about it.”

“Whatever Calabrese.”

“What if all the so called monsters in the world were actually alien life forms?”

“I don’t care.”

“What if menopause was actually brought to earth by alien life forms? Maybe Columbus wasn’t trying to discover anything. Maybe he was trying to run away.”

“You’re a dead man talking.”

“It’s just a theory. Don’t blame science. It gave us a national holiday.”