Okay, so the kid and I went to the diner this afternoon because I was too lazy to cook dinner. He’s always complaining that we never do anything together, and I figured it would be a nice thing for us to sit and have a conversation about whatever is under the sun.
Sadly, even though he is only 12, he would rather sit and watch the football game than engage in intellectual discourse. Whatever. I had to ask the waitress to move us.
At any rate, we sat near the waitress station where a group of waitresses were shooting the breeze until their next customers come along. Without really meaning to, I just happened to overhear their conversation. Apparently, one of them was glad she was off school on Monday “because of the holiday.”
The other waitress didn’t know what holiday she was talking about.
Waitress 2: Which holiday is that?
Waitress 1: Columbus Day or something.
Waitress 3: We still celebrate that?
Waitress 2: Yeah, I thought that was something from elementary school. What is Columbus Day about anyway?
Waitress 1: It’s the guy who discovered America.
Waitress 2: Who discovered America?
Waitress 1: Christopher Columbus.
Waitress 3: Who is that?
Waitress 1: The guy who discovered America.
Waitress 3: I thought it was George Washington.
Waitress 1: It might have been, but I know Columbus Day is about Christopher Columbus.
Waitress 2: Oh, he was the guy with the ships trying to sail to China.
Waitress 1: Yeah, that’s him!
Waitress 2: He was like trying to find China and then he came here by accident, then he went south or something.
Waitress 3: South like in the south, or like South America?
Waitress 2: South like in the south. He went to Florida.
Waitress 3: Oh, because I think it was South America.
Waitress 1: It was somewhere south.
Waitress 2: He had the three ships, the Nina… something, I forget the other two.
Waitress 3: I don’t know either.
Waitress 2: That was a long time ago, like in the 1700s. 1792.
Waitress 3: Dang, that was a long time ago.
Then they all got up because some people came in needing to be seated. I was laughing my ass off and the kid wanted to know what was so funny. I tried to explain it to him but since he doesn’t know who Christopher Columbus is either, he was just staring at me. “I don’t get how that’s funny.”
First of all, George Washington did not discover America. And if Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1792, he was a day late and a dollar short. Besides having been dead for nearly 300 years, America had already been “discovered” and was moderately populated. In fact, by 1792, the Declaration of Independence had already been written and we were pretty much finishing up the whole American Revolution thing. So uhm…. Christopher Columbus can keep sailing, not to Florida (that was Ponce de Leon) and he wasn’t looking for China, not really. He was looking for India.
But I guess that’s why they’re waitresses and not historians.
This is why we fail.