With all the doom and gloom going on in the Bulldog Nation, here's something to take your mind off of the current state of things:
It's time somebody stood up and defended Christopher Columbus, who wasn't trying to do anybody any harm when he discovered the New World 500 years ago.
Chris was just inquisitive, and he wasn't going for any of that business about the world being flat.
Chris was always saying to his friends, "If the world is flat and there is no New World out there somewhere, I'll eat my hat."
And Christopher Columbus, in renderings I have seen, usually was wearing a large hat with some feathers on it.
It's one thing to eat a baseball cap or a beret, but try to get a large hat with feathers on it down the hatch and you've got quite the gastronomical dilemma on your hands. Columbus had a lot of risk here.
And somebody finally took him up on his bet.
He said, "OK, Mr. Know-It-All, why don't we get three ships and start sailing out to sea? If we come to the end of the Earth, we can turn around and sail back and we'll watch you eat that goofy hat of yours.
"But if we find out the world is round and there's a New World out there like you say there is, I'll eat your hat and come over to your house on Saturday mornings for a month and wax your car."
Columbus replied, "It's 1492. We don't have cars."
"OK," said his challenger, "then I'll wax your horse."
Columbus couldn't back down. But he had a problem. He didn't have the money for the three ships. So he went to Queen Isabella.
"I'll give you the money for your three ships," the queen said to Columbus, "but if you do find the world is round and there is a New World, I want you to bring me back a hair dryer, a Lady Schick electric razor, a case of Jack Daniels and some shag carpet.
Columbus agreed. He bought three ships with the money Queen Isabella gave him and named them Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria for the original Shirelles, who got their start in Europe in the late 1400s, as did Columbus.
So off Columbus went. There was a lot of scurvy and rickets during the trip, but the world turned out to be round just like Columbus said it was.
He landed in the New World, bought a condo on an oceanfront golf development, picked up everything Queen Isabella wanted and sailed home.
His challenger did, in fact, eat Columbus's hat. Unfortunately, it was the only hat Columbus had and, being unable to keep his head warm, the brave explorer caught pneumonia, died and was never able to return to live in his condo or see Disney World.
He did, however, leave the shiniest horse in town.
But it's politically correct now to blame Columbus for what was to come later, a mass exodus of people from the Old World to the New World, which led to New York City, congresspersons, smog, Miami Beach, shopping malls, various diseases and the disappearance of the snail darter.
The popular phrase now is, "Columbus didn't discover America, he conquered it."
Listen, somebody else would have done it sooner or later. Humans have always sought new horizons.
And we're still doing it 500 years later. What about all those astronauts we sent into outer space? We look upon them as heroes, but there are those who want to defame Christopher Columbus.
Did any of our astronauts have to deal with scurvy or rickets? Did any of the m have to raise their own money to pay for the trip? No.
I say hats off to Columbus. It's like Queen Isabella said when he delivered the hair dryer, the Lady Schick razor, the booze and the carpet.
"Chris, you da man."
- Lewis Grizzard, "A Case of Jack Daniels Please" - Atlanta Constitution, October 12, 1992
*** Check out this and other Lewis Grizzard stories at http://www.lewisgrizzard.com/.