08 October 2007

It's Columbus Day here in the good old U.S. of A. A day in which we celebrate the "discovery" of America (much to the surprise of those already living here. It's not like they were an aspiring starlet or an unsigned band, just hanging out, waiting to be discovered...)

Apparently, the holiday was created in 1892 (400 years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue in the famously rhymed 1492) by President Benjamin Harrison. (Benjamin Harrison of course being otherwise known, at least to me, as "that dude who was president between the 2 Grover Cleavlands". Also, he's a handy answer to trivia questions about related presidents.)

Anyway, I mostly think of Columbus Day as "that day we used to get off work/school but don't anymore." State offices in Florida don't care to let us stay home and rest on this day (ditto President's Day). Federal employees do get the day off, as my friend Rakes is always quick to point out.

I did just discover that the day is celebrated in places other than the U.S., which I didn't know (in Spain and throughout Latin America, to name a few). I also learned that it is now called Día de la Resistencia Indígena (Day of Indigenous Resistance) in Venezuela. Sometimes I love that crazy-ass Hugo Chávez. (Mostly for this..."it smells of sulfur still...")

For me, Columbus day always brings back the same memory. I was at a Public Enemy concert and Chuck D took the opportunity to address the issue between songs. His words were to the effect of "today we celebrate Columbus Day. Columbus was trying to find a way to India and landed in America instead. Do you know what Christopher Columbus was? Christopher Columbus was a lost motherfucker..."

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