News & Politics

How You Should Feel About Columbus Day, Plus 9 Other Things to Know About Today’s Semi-Holiday


Happy Columbus Day, if you choose to believe it’s happy. If you do, and you’re not working, you may want to check out the parade, which heads up Fifth Avenue from 47th to 72nd Streets, beginning at 11:30. New York gubernatorial candidates Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino are both expected to show. If you are working, or you hate parades, or you just prefer to hang with your computer, we will reward you with a steady stream of news items and the occasional entertaining nonsense. Like, 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Columbus Day But Can Astound Friends and Family With…Today Only!

Here goes.

1. Columbus never actually got to America. Instead, he landed in the Bahamas, where he partied and got those beads put in his hair before heading back home to the workaday grind. This is why some of us have to work today.

2. Columbus was addicted to opium.

3. Columbus (and his men) brought syphilis back to Europe. Let no one say they never gave us anything.

4. This Columbus Day also happens to be Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day. Which does not get its own parade.

5. The appropriate, PC way to feel about Columbus Day is conflicted. Especially if you don’t have the day off. Because it’s really not fair to the indigenous peoples — we should all have the day off.

6. You and Columbus would probably not have been friends. By most accounts, he was something of an asshole.

7. Columbus never thought the earth was flat. That was a lie you were taught in school so the teachers could laugh at you behind your back. There’s also some debate as to whether Columbus was even Italian.

8. America’s native peoples got Columbus and co. hooked on nicotine. Which he then brought back to Europe, along with syphilis. Take that.

9. The Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria — those were a lie, too. It was really “La Gallega,” the Santa Clara, and maybe the Pinta, though that was probably a nickname.

10. After Columbus Day, your next actual holiday is Veteran’s Day on November 11, which you can celebrate without compunction. Hang in there.

Today’s a federal holiday, so schools and government offices are closed, banks may be closed, and you won’t get mail or garbage pickup. Mass transit is running as per usual. News is slow, which means it may be the perfect day for Carl Paladino to hang himself. Not literally.


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