10/12/2004: Bad Pun o'the Day:
From an email correspondent, who noted that officially, October 9th was "Leif Ericsson Day":
I remember him only for the historical anecdote (possibly related by James Thurber - I can no longer recall) about Ericsson's reception when he returned to his homeland after his long voyage.
He arrived at about the time when the Vikings - a noticeably democratic people who instituted some of the world's first parliaments - were holding an election for a new leader. Naturally Ericsson and his men got off their longboat and went to the polling station. But, though the rest of the crew were allowed to vote, Leif himself was not, for his name did not appear on the list of registered voters.
Ericsson was outraged. Of course, he had been away on his voyage of exploration for a long time. But this was no excuse for depriving him of his most basic rights. So he went to see the Viking bureaucrat in charge of organising these things, to find out why he was missing from the list of voters.
The bureaucrat was tremendously apologetic. After consulting the records, he was able to confirm that Ericsson had indeed been deleted from the list of citizens of the country, and therefore from the list of
"I'm sorry", he said, "but the records give no idea of why this happened. It must have been a momentary error on my part, a moment of madness."
"You mean....?" said Ericsson.
"Yes", said the Viking, "I must have taken Leif off my census."
Len on 10.12.04 @ 08:46 AM CST