Columbus sailed the ocean blue
In fourteen hundred and ninety-two.


That, of course, is the ditty that Baby Boomers learned to assist us in remembering that Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. Yay Christopher!

Except subsequently we learned that it wasn’t actually America where he landed his fleet —the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Instead, it was somewhere near the Bahamas. He is also credited with discovering the pina colada and the swim-up bar.

Historians overlooked that tiny geographical error. They also overlooked the fact that his employees celebrated the fact that they hadn’t sailed off the end of a flat world by pillaging the indigenous people, all without spilling their umbrella drinks.

For reasons I can’t exactly understand, Italian Americans, in particular, gave their love hugs to the explorer, which resulted in President Roosevelt naming the second Tuesday in October Columbus Day. I’m pretty sure he was so tied up with worrying about an impending world war that he told his staff, “Give the Italian Catholics their holiday to get the Knights of Columbus off my back.”

And then he instructed his chief of staff to make him a piña colada. “But instead of rum and pineapple juice, make it with gin and vermouth,” he reportedly said.

Generations later, so-called woke people began pointing out that we shouldn’t be celebrating a man who sanctioned the pillaging of natives. Point well taken. Still, protests broke out, and Italian Americans clung to their holiday, all the while flinging meatballs at the protesters.

President Biden calmed everyone down by proclaiming the second Tuesday in October Indigenous Peoples Day in 2021. The result? Nowadays, the only people who get the day off for Indigenous Peoples Day are federal employees.

But back to the “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” ditty. I wish there had been a ditty to help me memorize algebra rules.

Happy Columbus/Indigenous Peoples Day.

One thought on “Discoverers

  1. Kris, you’re back! OMG, great giggles today. The move must be complete and your plates are where they should be. I bet your pinched nerve is better, or at least the pain meds are!

Comments are closed.