How I Spent My Columbus Day

Yesterday was Columbus Day and, in order to celebrate the astounding, stupendous, and history-changing mission that Christopher Columbus and his intrepid crew undertook way back in 1492, I decided to take the day off from work and do nothing.

In the modern world, we often celebrate other people’s astounding achievements by being indolent and lazy.

This is not because we are actually indolent and lazy (well, some of us are).  No, it is because we like to affect a life of luxury.  We like to believe that, if only one of our hare-brained schemes would pan out, we could take off every day for the rest of our lives and do what we really like, rather than what organizations pay us to like (or pretend to like). 

This bit of mental deception keeps us going for another couple of weeks or months of mind-numbing drudgery until our next day off.  So, in that respect, we are all of us a little bit like Columbus.  Except his hare-brained scheme actually panned out.

Just to be clear, Columbus Day is not a day that many organizations celebrate by giving their employees a paid day off.  No, I took the day off quite of my own volition by using up one of my very valuable vacation days.  It was my little way of saying, “Thanks, Chris, for discovering America.  Or somewhere close to America.  Or something.

In the modern world (which I cannot seem to escape for the life of me), Columbus is no longer hailed as a visionary who was willing to risk everything to discover new routes and new worlds.  In fact, he is somewhat vilified as having imported several European innovations to those new worlds, such as small pox, syphilis, and a sneering disdain of the Oxford comma.

But I, for one, am willing to give Chris a bit of a break.  After all, I’m sure the inventor of the internet probably thought they were doing something good for humanity, and look how THAT turned out. 

No, you can’t always judge someone by what humanity chooses to do with their discovery or invention or innovation.  These things tend to take on a life and a direction of their own, quite separate from the intentions of the inventor or discoverer. 

Just ask Mary Shelley.  She created an entire horror franchise based on the idea.

So, let’s all give Chris a break.  I’m sure he did not set sail from Castile, leaning upon the railing on the lido deck and staring out into the infinite sea, thinking, “I hope someday to be known as a venereal-disease-riddled genocidal imperialist.

He was probably thinking something more along the lines of, “If I can just discover this all-water route to India, I can make enough money to pay off the ship, put Mom and Dad in a nice retirement villa, and spend my days dabbling in watercolors in the Genoa countryside.

And he would have, too, except someone invented the internet and all hell broke loose.

6 comments

  1. We call it Thanksgiving up here in Canada. Not the juggernaut that yours is, pretty tame and low-key. (which is our mission statement coincidentally)

    You’ve likely answered this in your archives, but I assume you are as witty in person as you are on ‘paper’. Am I right on target or, more likely, shootin’ blanks? I can be pretty witty given the right circumstances (and lubricant). The thing is though, I hear a click, and that is when my wit is at an end, and can no longer be fit for human company. Off I go to pet a dog, cat, or my ermine wrap.

    Anyway, hope you’ll reply – sorry don’t visit WP as much. I dislike the new format (why didn’t they ask ME if a change was warranted) and my readership has dropped off (I’ve upped the quality of my content). I am active on Instagram, that service for introverts who go out once in awhile. BTW gyms have opened – yee HAH! (is that correct? Or is it yee HOO?) Love ya Biff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Wilt! Sorry it took me so long to reply to your awesome comment. Life, and all that jazz.

      I kind of wish our Thanksgiving was more tame and low-key like yours. Our Thanksgiving has pretty much been co-opted, beaten up, and shoved into the gutter by that blight on humanity called “Black Friday”, and now even “Gray Thursday”. Thanksgiving proper is all but forgotten now except as the starting gun for the Christmas shopping season.

      As I have gotten to become more familiar with Canada’s celebration of Thanksgiving, I must say that I much prefer it. For one thing, it is far enough away from Christmas to avoid being coupled with it in any way. And your version seems to definitely be much more about thankfulness, and less about gluttony and excess.

      As for whether or not I am witty in person or not … I have been told that I am and that I have a keen wit. My problem is that I am not good at shouting over other people to get my punchline out there. If there is a great deal of conversation going on, and I have a quarter-second window to get my humor out there, I often miss the opportunity and, like you, go off to find something else to occupy myself. That is why I never went into stand-up comedy. I don’t think I could deal with a heckler very effectively.

      I can totally sympathize with your not being on WP much any more. Neither am I. The new format has somehow sucked all the joy out of writing on my blog. I know I shouldn’t let a little thing like that stop me, but it has. I’ve never been one who likes change, and this particular change was just a bit too much for me. Hopefully, I will get over it soon, though.

      Thanks for the awesome comment and for continuing to read my stuff even though I am not a very good blog buddy. I will try to get better.

      I hope you and your family are doing well. Stay safe. And keep on cartooning! Yee-haw! (though any of the ones you listed are also correct).

      Love ya, Wilt.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Actually, Columbus being a man, I can picture him leaning on the deck railing and crying toward the western horizon, “Come on, Orient, Show up and prove me right!” I’ve noticed that men like to be proved right. 😉

    And I see that you haven’t altogether abandoned the Oxford comma — which is a very useful squiggle in my books. Happy day after Columbus Day — which I see is morphing into Native Americans Day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We men are simple creatures. A simple pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears and we are loyal and faithful for life, and will take a bullet for someone. Or am I thinking of dogs? Oh well … the principle is the same. I think.

      I actually LOVE the Oxford comma, and I cannot understand why it is even controversial. The Chicago Manual of Style gives it two thumbs up. My reference to it in my blog, and coupling a disdain of it with horrific diseases, was actually my poking fun of those who sneer at the OC. But, like the whole once-space-vs.-two-after-a-sentence thing, it is not a hill I am willing to die on. After all, it is just a comma.

      Liked by 1 person

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