Big City Celebration

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One of the things I miss about living in a big city are the city-wide brawls. Many of them just took place on the editorial pages of the newspaper, but some of them broke out in actual fist-fights.

I was thinking of that because I see by my calendar that we’re coming up on one of Denver’s big kerfluffles. For most of us, October 8 is just another one of those days when the Post Office takes a long weekend but—

Wait, let me get something off my chest that’s been bugging me for a long time. If the Post Office is going to cut service down to 5 days a week, and if it makes a lot of advertisers upset to think of their Saturday mailers not going out, why don’t they just close the Post Office on all Mondays? Seems like they’re closing every other Monday anyway for President’s Day or some other made-up holiday.

Mail men take Mondays off like police congregate at donut shops, so let’s just go with the flow instead of fighting it.

Now, back to October 8th. For most of us, it’s not a big day. For some elementary kids, it’s the day they make cardboard cut-outs of those three famous ships: the Enterprise, the Millenium Falcon and the—oops, sorry. I, of course, meant to say “the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Claus” which were, as we all know, the three ships that intrepid explorer Ralph “Columbus” Day sailed from Italy to America in an effort to try and find India.

October 8th is, without going to all the trouble of looking up “facts”, either the day of Columbus’s birthday or the day he landed in San Salvador. As a nation, we celebrate that because we’re thankful that we have graduated from school and are not required to find San Salvador on a map.

In Denver, Italian-Americans celebrate Columbus Day because Columbus was not Italian. The central feature of the celebration is a parade through downtown Denver which consists mostly of guys on large, non-Italian motorcycles and a few local bands and even some floats.

Another feature of Denver’s Columbus Day “celebration” are the Native Americans who come out to protest the Italians. In the days leading up to the day, one of the Denver traditions is to have as many people from both sides as possible write letters to the editor complaining about either the Italians and how they represent American Imperialism at its worst and their parade just has to be in celebration of the killing of Indians; or letters from Italian-sympathizers who say America is a land of free speech and they’re not championing the slaughter of natives so much as glorifying in a chance to skip work.

Somewhere along the parade route, at least one fist-fight will break out. This will soon be joined by many Italians and Native Americans who all dress alike so I’m pretty sure they have no idea who they’re pounding on. Five or six of them will be carted off to jail and the rest will go home and start sharpening their …

Pencils. More letters to the editor need to be written, after all.