October 9, 2011

the nina, the pinta, the sumbitch or other


This is Columbus Day.

It's the holiday in college known as Fall Break, where freshmen go back to their hometowns and suddenly get a fresh perspective on how small-minded and controlling their high school boyfriends are. They won't break up. Yet. That happens on Thanksgiving.

This is Columbus Day.

A day that is supposed to be a holiday. All the services you count on will be closed. No mail, no bank. They're all off work. Lots of people are. Lots of people except you.

This is Columbus Day.

A day named for a man who never came within 200 miles of the future United States. A man who swore - even on his deathbed - that he'd reached Asia. A holiday celebrating the dude who introduced slavery and pandemics to the New World. And when he was brought home after torturing the "Indians" as their governor, he sued the Spanish government!

This is Columbus Day. The leaves haven't really changed yet, it might get muddy, and you didn't make plans anyway. It's the casserole of holidays, unsatisfying and a little confusing. A holiday you can't use, celebrating a guy you can't stand, at a time you can't go anywhere. HAVE A GREAT ONE!


Posted by Ian Williams at October 9, 2011 11:20 PM
Posted by: ken at October 10, 2011 12:56 AM

My wife and I claimed Columbus Day Weekend nine years ago when we got married (10/12/02). Once in a while our anniversary falls on Columbus Day, so it's a special day/weekend for us, even if Columbus wasn't that great a dude.

My birthday (March 5th) sometimes falls on the totally obscure but locally observed (in Chicago) Casimir S. Pulaski Day, which meant I always got a day off from school around or on my birthday, which was nice.

Posted by: CM at October 10, 2011 3:12 AM

No one told my baby boy we're off today, so he got up at 5:40. Agh!

In all of those past entries about love and monogamy, no one brought up this furor-inducing Times vows column...the whole thing was kind of interesting. The internet burned up over this one:


Posted by: avoidthisblog at October 10, 2011 9:55 AM

I prefer to think of October 12 as University Day.

For what it's worth, Columbus is nowhere near as nefarious (or heroic) as his detractors (or hagiographers) would want us to think. He was simply a guy trying to make a buck who was wrong about the size of the earthly sphere. It's not like he knew about germ theory or smallpox etc...just a greedy businessman.

He was nowhere near as evil as Cortes, Pizarro, or those cats.

By the way, the reason we have Columbus day is first and foremost because he was Italian. Back in the early 20th century, the Knights of Columbus used to be more exclusively Italian, instead of generally Catholic. They petitioned the government for Columbus day primarily because they wanted a holiday honoring an Italian person...

Posted by: craighill at October 10, 2011 11:18 AM

there are 3 million italians in nyc who would like to drown you in a baked ziti casserole for today's post.

Posted by: Ian Williams at October 10, 2011 11:48 AM

craighill, tell 'em to take it up with the Portuguese!

Posted by: caveman at October 10, 2011 5:04 PM

Saw this quote and thought it was appropriate - "If the holidays got together for the holidays, Columbus Day would be the weird uncle who eats at the kids' table."

Posted by: Ian at October 11, 2011 1:05 AM

CM, I just got to read that link. Oh, what deliciously grotesque awfulness all around.

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