Monday, April 28, 2008

My Ancestors are Horse Thieves

Selected excerpts from A Tragic Legacy: DeMartinos Throughout History, my upcoming magnum opus tracking the genetic history of my family. Described by Newsweek as "like Roots, but terrible." Presented in capsule format.

Pierluigi DeMartino (1821-1895)

Often described as "the Poindexter of Italian Unification", Pierluigi was a boon companion to the great Giuseppe Garibaldi, the flamboyant and charismatic leader of men who was instrumental to making Italy what it is today. Pierluigi's main duties included serving as a human stepladder for Garibaldi, massaging Garibaldi's pet parakeets, and hiding during battles. Pierluigi is most remembered for the manner of his death, as described in a contemporary history:

"Announcing his intention to be the first man to fly, DeMartino clambered to the top of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Strapped to his back was a most marvelous contraption, consisting of complex wooden wings, a makeshift tail festooned with the feathers of a goose, and a barrel in the shape of a reverse-cannon, filled with saltpetre and gunpowder. With a brave cry, Pierluigi lit the gunpowder with a nearby brazier, propelling him up and above the golden dome of the basilica. All watching were amazed, as the flying Florentine made several circumlocutions of the plaza, finally coming to rest safely approximately six hundred meters away from his takeoff point.

Whereupon he was pecked to death by a flock of angry parakeets. This situation was reported to have brought much merriment to the Pope.

Lord Fauntleroy D'Martin, Second Earl of Shropfordshire-upon-Weezington (1550-1631)
Primarily responsible for kickstarting the period of scientific advancement, philosophical debate, and artistic explosion known as the Rennaissance, Lord D'Martin was famous for simply making crap up. Among the examples:
  • He wasn't British
  • He was a commoner and not a member of the nobility
  • "Fauntleroy" wasn't even a real name at the time
  • Shropfordshire-upon-Weezington has no Earl, because it doesn't exist. When asked where his lands were, D'Martin would reply, "Oh, somewhere between Scuzzyville, Fauxtown, and Wales."
  • Wales also did not exist until D'Martin came up with the concept. Scuzzyville and Fauxtown did not catch on.
Whenever D'Martin was presented with evidence of his deceptions, he would evidently laugh them off, saying something along the lines of "Forsooth, get thee a loade of HIM!" This was seemingly enough to charm even the most stringent of critics, until he made the mistake of saying it to Pope Urban VIII, regarding the pontiff's objections to D'Martin's claims of "totally being an angel". This remark and consequent defiance were overheard by several important thinkers of the time, and the Enlightenment soon followed.

Reportedly charmed by D'Martin's insouciance, the Pope nevertheless had him burned at the stake. D'Martin's last words were "Better a Hot Stake than a Cold Chop!", followed by screaming.

Ragnar Bloodaxe (972-1011)
Likely responsible for the strain of light-colored eyes in the otherwise quintessentially Italian countenance of the DeMartino clan, Ragnar raided up and down the coast of the Mediterranean for many years. His last name is actually a slight mistranslation of a nickname bestowed upon him by his war-leader, Eric the Fuschia--"Blood Ass".

The reasons for this should be fairly clear upon examining Eric's newly-discovered journal entries, in which he recounts several raids in which Ragnar took part:

April 10, 990 Took the crew on a raid today. Totally rad! We captured several oxen (which we ate), many chickens (which we ate), and approximately fourteen Spainiards--men, women, and children--which of course, we ate. Only one casualty--young Ragnar, on his first raid, was shot in his left behind with an arrow.

September 22, 993
Another successful raid! This time, we messed around with some French peasants. Boy, do I love French food! Lost Hrothgar and Buliwyf, unfortunately. Ragnar was stabbed in the right behind. This is becoming kind of a concern as he is having difficulty sitting down in prime rowing position.

June 4, 998
Guess what? Blood Ass got hit
AGAIN! He'd never gotten hit with a shuriken there before, but this Far East trip has offered all of us new experiences. I don't even think it matters at this point--it's basically all scar tissue back there.

January 1, 1011
Italy this time. Yet another raid. Captured the Pope. You know, it occurs to me that no one has ever really taught Ragnar how to defend his flank. Which may explain all the ass wounds. I'm going to work with him on that. Anyhow, the Pope thought it was funny. We ate him.

Analysis of Ragnar's corpse indicates that he did eventually learn to successfully defend the rear portions of his anatomy. Unfortunately, that left the front portions rather open to attack--Ragnar Bloodaxe was killed on the raid just following this final entry, victim of approximately forty-seven assorted arrows to the chest, stomach, and head. His ass was unharmed.

Julius Caesar (100 BC-44 BC)
You can't prove otherwise.

Pharaoh Jodmaru XII (3672 BC-3640 BC)
An outside-the-tomb thinker, Jodmaru XII decided the traditional pyramid structure was yesterday's news. He summoned the greatest architects from across his great and mighty empire in order to create the greatest of tombs. The soon-to-be God told the assembled experts that he wanted a thousand-foot tall tomb that would dwarf any currently built or expected to be built. He wanted a pyramid, alright, but there was a twist.

He wanted it point-first. Upside-down.

His greatest architects told him he was an idiot. Being a kind and enlightened despot, Jodmaru killed them and hired his less competent cousin, who owned a chariot dealership down by the Nile, to construct his tomb. Jodmaru fully expected his upside-down pyramid to be the toast of North Africa.

Unfortunately, while observing construction of the pyramid (which had reached a great height of 15 feet), Jodmaru was crushed to death when the thing toppled over, ironically burying him under a correctly-constructed pyramid, right-side up. This caused the high priest of Anubis much merriment. The location of this totally embarrassing tomb has been mercifully lost to history.

Mar (40,000 BC.--39,970 B.C.)
A common ancestor to ten percent of humanity, not much is known about Mar. He was discovered, perfectly preserved, in a bog in northern Italy. On his person was a makeshift spear, assorted religious trinkets, and one of the earliest instances of a journal. Mar seemed to be attempting to make a list of his ancestors. The language is indecipherable, but Mar was able to make one illustration of his most recent ancestor, getting pecked to death by a gigantic prehistoric bird, while a fellow caveman (wearing something eerily resembly a papal mitre) points and laughs at him. We can learn much from studying this fascinating individual.

1 comment:

michaeld said...

Horse Thieves! Horse Crap! funny had me for a second,then I woke up