For thousands of Florida residents following Hurricane Idalia, the power is off. No Netflix, no ice, no coffee maker, no refrigerator, no freezer, no lights, no computer, no printer, no washer, no dryer, no oven, no microwave, no phone charger, no HVAC, no ceiling fans.
They are currently living like … the people who made America great.
Consider the first boatloads of badasses who arrived in America — at a time when ships were wood, and men and women forged of iron.
The English mastermind behind the first attempt to start a colony in the New World was Sir Walter Raleigh, who in 1587 inspired the standard Scream-theme movie by telling a group of 117 English men, women, and children, “Listen! I think it would be a good idea for us to split up. You go check it out spooky place, uhhh, I’ll wait here.”
Unfortunately for the group, the spooky place he wanted them to “check out” was the New World while he “waited” at home in England.
(Click to view)
Before we go one sentence further, let’s consider what you just read: One hundred and seventeen men, women, and children.
How insane did that group have to be? Imagine yourself in those circumstances today:
Walter: Dude! I’m gettin’ together a group of people to move to Iran to crank up the business world there – make fortunes and stuff. You in, or what?
You: Sweet! How will we get there?
Walter: I’ve got a most excellent rusted, old, gas-leaking, no radio, no AC school bus that could explode at any moment.
You: What are the business opportunities?
Walter: Don’t know – never been there. I’d recommend going all in on pork-belly futures.
You: Are you going with us?
Walter: No way, dude. I’m, like, the guy in charge. I gotta stay here and stand around with my hands on my hips — you know, envisioning things.
You: Okay, I’m in. I’m sure the wife won’t mind me being gone awhile.
Walter: Uh, yeah — look, man — you gotta bring your wife, and your kids. This is a one-way trip. What you say, my adventurous friend?
You: (Please fill in your response here) _________________________
Since 117 of these maniacs offered a different response than you, the group set sail for America, and landed on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Roanoke Island. After snuggling in among the swampy terrain, mosquitoes, humidity, gnats, malaria, and poisonous water moccasins, the group’s leader, John White, pulled the old “Hey, I forgot something” routine, got in the ship, and sailed back to England. He told them – get this – he was sailing back to get supplies. Can’t you see Mr. Guy-in-charge explaining it?
John White: Hey, guys, I’m gonna run back to England to get some beer … maybe some ice.”
Settlers: Right on! Pa-a-a-a-a-a-a-arty!
John White: Anyone want a pizza?
Settlers: Right on! Pa-a-a-a-a-a-a-arty!
John White: Okay — Bye!
Settlers: Pick up a DVD of Season 9 of Keeping Up With the Queen, too!
With every man, woman, and child counting on him for these life-sustaining supplies, John White bravely accomplished the five-month round trip in a blazing two and a half years, and was surprised when he arrived back at Roanoke that … no one was there. (Let’s put this in a modern timeframe: You’re at a movie and your date strolls off to get some popcorn, but fails to return for fourteen days. Are you gonna be there?)
The only signs of the original settlement were some rusted pieces of equipment, and the word “CROATOAN” carved into a tree.
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What happened to them? Indians? Starvation? Disease? Historians have blathered on about it for years. The true answer, of course, sits right inside the acronym. The settlers formed a committee, discussed the issue, and decided that John White was not coming back. CROATOAN, it turns out, actually stands for:
Where that neighborhood was is lost to history.
Then, of course, we have the lunatics who established Jamestown.
On December 20, 1606, another group of madmen gathered their families and set sail from England, including some rich men to sit around and give orders, and some poor men to actually do all the work. The poor men, interestingly, paid for their passage by agreeing to be indentured serfs for seven years, but — good news — most avoided the burdensome commitment because — bad news — they died. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Sorry.
Anyway, thirty-nine of the one hundred forty-four passengers died during the treacherous ocean crossing, resulting in an unthinkable zero lawsuits filed against the ship’s captain, doctor, owner, or board of directors. The group collided with the coast of Virginia, and instead of sailing up and down the coast looking for a survivable “location, location, location,” decided the malarial swamp in front of them looked just peachy. (A decision possibly hastened by the olfactory trauma of having thirty-nine corpses as bunkmates.)
They disembarked, and the rich men began their jobs of posturing, and the poor men began their jobs of working. This division of tasks didn’t last long, as within a few months the policy became “all-hands pitch-in,” instigated by the fact that an additional fifty-one of the settlers were no longer “pitching in” at all, and needed to be pitched into a six-foot-deep hole.
In the winter of 1609-10 the remaining settlers discovered the true meaning of “there’s no place like home.” The men were so busy burying everyone that they’d forgotten to do little extras—like gather food. With the cupboard completely bare, they endured this period known as “The Starving Time” by eating the settlers courteous enough to drop dead. This new source of food gave them energy… not enough energy to improve their situation, but enough energy to dig up the people they’d buried a few months previous, and eat them, too.
The whole affair redefined the idea of being chewed out by a neighbor.
Finally, the guy you learned about in school—Captain John Smith—stepped to the front, took charge, and began giving orders (hopefully the first of which was for everyone to floss their family and friends from between their teeth.) Much of what the modern world thinks about Captain John Smith is based on Smith’s writings about himself; in addition to being a mercenary, he worked also as The New World’s first a spin doctor. In reality, his primary accomplishments were:
1. Befriending the Indians.
2. Convincing the Indians to share their food and knowledge.
3. Killing the Indians.
Although many may consider this barbaric, an even larger number would consider it “leadership,” given the uncanny resemblance between Smith’s behavior and the behavior of most American presidents.
The Indians, of course, weren’t particularly fond of Smith’s system of diplomacy, and resorted to old-fashioned creative thinking to retaliate.
Brave #1 Yo, Homebrave, these Settlers are harshing my mellow.
Brave #2 They’re not all bad. Some are dead.
Brave #1 Hey! I got an idea. Remember how last winter we told them we eat corpses in the winter? So then they ate theirs?
Brave #2 Yeah?
Brave #1 Let’s tell them we light tobacco leaves on fire and suck the smoke into our lungs.
Brave #2 Dude, tobacco leaves will kill you. Even an idiot knows that.
Brave #1 We’re talking about people who ate their dead.
Brave #2 Good point.
And so it happened …
The settlers bought into the idea, got hooked on nicotine, introduced tobacco to London, and the population of London (because there was no Surgeon General’s warning) became addicted. Thus, tobacco became the “cash crop” that saved Jamestown.
Unfortunately, the word “cash” popped little Jamestown up as a blip on the greed-adar screen back in England. Of course, as we know in hindsight, the Jamestown settlers remained in daily hand-to-hand combat with the Grim Reaper himself, but the fact that they weren’t eating their dead anymore offered proof positive to the government bureaucrats that all the really hard work was done, and it was time for payday.
The lust for said payday led to bickering between private enterprise (The Virginia Company who funded Jamestown) and the public sector (The King and his bureaucrats), which then led to the formation of Committees, Sub-committees, Oversight Committees, Ways & Means Committees, and a Task Force on Forming New Committees. All these committees eventually agreed on greed, and declared the New World open for ‘bidness.
(They failed, however, to notice that the only people thriving were undertakers and members of Gravedigger’s Local 001). Before long, droves of fortune seekers began to bum rides across the Atlantic to Jamestown, where they found primarily that:
a) All the chicks here were taken (and many eaten as part of a low-carb diet).
b) This settling stuff is a lot like hard work.
So what did they do? They worked their asses off. Okay, not all the time—there was the occasional break for getting mauled by a bear, eaten by a cougar, struck by a poisonous snake, tomahawked by an Indian, and killed by disease.
But the bottom line? We spring from hearty stock, you and I! These people lived short and brutish lives, surround by world that was bloody, tooth and claw … and when word got back home that everyone wasn’t dying, more people came!
America is the land of mutts … insane people, chiseled out of granite. Men so tough, they could eat their dead neighbors. Women so tough, they could squeeze out a baby, then eat their dead neighbors, then help pull stumps out of the field — all in the same day! This has gone on for centuries: Mutts cross-breeding with mutts, then breeding with newly arrived mutts, and the process has given us a collective gene pool the likes of which the world has never seen.
We the people have a lot to live up to … let’s start doing it!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Prioleau Alexander is a freelance writer, focusing mostly on politics and non-fiction humor. He is the author of four books: ‘You Want Fries With That?,’ ‘Dispatches Along the Way,’ ‘Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?‘ and ‘They Don’t Call It The Submission Process For Nothing.’ Oh, and if you want to see his preferred bio pic? Click here …
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