It’s Independence Week; what better time to brush up on that most American of American stories: Paul Revere’s ride. Now, the way I always understood it, Paul Revere rode from Boston to near Lexington, warning Americans that the British troops were making their move. But then Tea Party historian Sarah Palin gave us a more authoritative account:
“He who warned uh, the British that they weren’t gonna be takin’ away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin’ sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed.”
So, with that in mind, we take you back to a cool April evening in 1775, somewhere near Boston, to what really happened on the night of Paul Revere’s ride...
Joseph Warren: Hey, Revere...lantern on the horizon.
Paul Revere: Where?
Joe: Well, can’t tell just yet. Let me get my looking glass.
Paul: You know, if it’s in the third windowsill of the Norton place, that means Prudence is back in the town! (nudge)
Joe: Well, it’s not in the Norton place. Norton place is to the west. This light is in the north.
Paul: Damn...Hey, wait. North Shore Donuts is on the north side of town. Hot and ready?
Joe: No...I think it’s in the church across the street.
Paul: Oh. Wait...the Old North Church?
Joe: Is the Old North Church the one with the big steeple?
Paul: They all have big steeples. This is the 18th century.
Joe: The REALLY big steeple?
Paul: ... OH. MY. GOD. I’ve got to go. I HAVE TO WARN THEM!! Meanwhile, on the road to Lexington, two Englishmen take their tea out on the porch...a visitor approaches:
William Worchestershire: I say, Reginald. Do you hear that commotion off in the distance? Is that the posty?
Reginald Featherbottom: No, just a barmy lad out on his horse.
William: I hear him, Reginald, I hear him! Sounds as if the chap making that racket is coming right for us!
Paul: HEY! BRITISH! HEY! You two...British, right?
William: Are we British? I say, preposterous inquiry on your part my good chap. I should say not...we’re English.
Paul: English? You ain’t English. I speak English!
William: If you say so.
Paul: Yeah, well...I got a message for you.
Reginald: Oh you do, do you? And just what is your message?
Paul: The British are coming.
Paul: OK, the English are coming.
Reginald: Blimey, you say the British are coming??
Paul: That’s right you limey bastards. The British are coming.
William: Bloody hell man, we are already here!
Paul: YOU ARE?
William: I just said that! Why on earth would you warn a pair of Englishmen that Englishmen are coming?
Paul: Hey, don’t play mind checkers with me. My job is to warn you that the British are coming.
Reginald: What are we...I mean, what are the British coming to do?
Paul: The British are coming and we’re going to kick your ass!
Reginald: I say, why are you going to kick us in the arse?
Paul: Because you’re trying to take away our guns.
William: We are?
Paul: You are. You’re violating my Second Amendment rights!
William: Second Amendment of what?
Paul: HOW DARE YOU NOT RECOGNIZE THE U.S. CONSTITUTION WHEN YOU HEAR IT!?
Reginald: I say, ol’ chap...No such document exists. This is 1775.
Paul: Well, one of these days, CHAP, such a document will exist. And in it will be a vague sentence about armament and militias that will be taken way out of context to mean that I can have as many guns as I want. And I’ll be damned if someone like you is going to take them away.
William: I take it you are an American, sir?
Paul: You betcha!
Reginald: And you have been riding across the countryside all night long?
Paul: Yes I have.
William: In an attempt to warn the British that the British are coming.
Paul: That’s right.
Reginald: And you’re brassed off because you believe that we’re violating your second amendment rights...which actually do not exist yet.
Paul: HANDS OFF MA GUNS!
Reginald: OK then. If it makes sense to you, who are we to point out the countless logical flaws in your reasoning? Thank you for the warning.
Paul: You’re welcome.
William: Off you go...
Paul: OFF I GO! [voice trailing off in the distance] The British are coming...the British are coming!!
William: I say, Reginald. Do you think this democracy stands a chance?
Reginald: If they elect leaders like him, no.
William: Quite. Tea, Reginald?
Reginald: No, I believe I’ve had my fill of tea, William. Believe I’ve had my fill of tea.
“PolySigh” is a weekly political column by Matt Hooper. Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.