Oopsie. I made my semi-annual property tax payment today without realizing that it’s Columbus Day. If it wasn’t for Christopher Columbus, we wouldn’t be paying property taxes. He INVENTED property taxes, so I really didn’t mean to contribute my pain to his honor.
I have to wonder what did the King County Treasury do with all that money I sent them last year? Have they used it all up already? They need to learn how to take better care of their allowance.
Somehow though, he managed to impose a tribute system on them, similar to the one I just submitted payment to. When I worked in information systems, I used to preach that there is no successful system without penalties and rewards. The system our intrepid Christopher came up with illustrates the effectiveness of this policy.
All indigenous residents above 14 years of age were required to find and deliver a specific quota of gold every three months. Upon doing so, they would receive copper tokens that they wore around their necks. Any Indian found without a copper token had his hands cut off and subsequently bled to death.
This is why Columbus had a holiday named after him. It wasn’t the lands he discovered. It was TAXATION. The IRS and the King County Treasury revere him and that why the banks and post offices were closed today. They had to take a day off to count all the money we sent them to keep from getting our hands cut off.
Actually, though, I’m just kidding around. There are a few things things I can’t help liking about Christopher Columbus.
The first is his main ship, the Santa Maria. Just because it sank doesn’t mean we can’t have fond memories of it. Sons Mark and Matthew used to spend 3 weeks a year on board its namesake, the Sea Scouts’ ship the Santa Maria pictured below.
It was one of the launch boats of the old U.S. Liberty Ships. They didn’t find gold, spices or India during the years they were in Sea Scouts but they learned a lot about resourcefulness. As an example, they once ran the Santa Maria in a yacht race against big, expensive competitors, and with Matt as navigator, their ship made a stunning first place victory.
Matthew is pictured rightmost in this picture.
Another thing I like about Christopher Columbus is his name. That’s because I think three of my near-progeny might be named after him: My niece Chris Ford, my niece Chris Milner, and my great nephew Dylan Christopher Melchior.
I’m not sure how Dylan is carrying on the life pursuits of Columbus today, but when he was a bit smaller, he explored the world at high-octane speed. And unlike him, Dylan will never mistake his homeland for India, the Bahamas for Japan, or Cuba for China.
As for niece Chris Milner, I am very proud to say that in her long and successful career as a kindergarten teacher, she tried to carry out good works. She didn’t agree with many of Columbus’s actions, but she did everything she could to promote the good ones.
For one thing, she tried to teach the children to take wise and thrifty care of their allowances so that they might one day apply for a job at the King County Treasury.
And even more important, she patiently taught them that because the world is flat, they must be very, very careful not to get too close to the edge. She’s my hero.