It is Columbus Day, a city holiday in San Francisco. Our office follows the court's calendar, so I get the day off, though I like to imagine that in my stead, my administrative tasks are being handled by the finest slave in all of Hispaniola. Because that's what Columbus would have wanted.
I'm going to celebrate by going to North Beach - but I'm not going to drive through the Broadway Tunnel, or take a bus. Instead, I'm going to wander the city aimlessly in a random direction. Wherever I eventually end up, no matter which neighborhood, I'll insist it IS North Beach, refer to all the residents as Italians, and claim the territory in the name of Queen Isabella. Also, I will steal their land.
One thing's for sure - I will be having Indian food for lunch.
I have friend in law school who is taking a class on Property. Today's lecture? Adverse possession. Because that's what Columbus would have wanted.
I used to live in Berkeley, where they don't celebrate Columbus Day. Instead, it's Indigenous Peoples Day, a celebration of the Amerindian populations which were tormented and exploited by Columbus and subsequent colonialists. Given that this is the city of Berkeley, there are some people who see Columbus Day as an opportunity to protest, often in the form of chalking or spray painting "Fuck Columbus!" all over campus. (The phrase nearly always contains an exclamation point, if not three, which indicates that the protester is deadly serious in his or her opposition to the half-millenium dead Genoan sailor.)
I'm not sure who is going to be affected by this message. Guilty-looking exchange students from Barcelona? People putting excessive amounts of sugar in their coffee? A student trying to find a new route to Pimentel Hall by circumnavigating the Valley Life Sciences Building? I have been tempted to add my own anti-Columbus message to the graffiti: "Because Bicentennial Man fucking sucked."
Five years ago, I ran an old fake interview with Christopher Columbus. According to the comments, many high school students use it as a research tool. And I think that's what Columbus would have wanted.