If there’s anything we here at MojoFiction know about American history, it’s that it happened sometime prior to today, probably in the past, where times were simpler yet somehow harder, you had to walk uphill both ways, and the East India Company’s new batch of Chai Tea was so overly spiced and undrinkable that a bunch of patriotic Americans dressed up like Captain Kidd and threw it all into Pearl Harbor, officially starting the Revolutionary War against Canada. Of course, if it had been Oprah Chai, there would never have been a revolution, only world peace and a free subscription to O for everyone. But there was no Starbucks yet, so no one knew about Oprah Chai until it was too late.
As you can see, we know a lot about history. So, it was a tremendous surprise and irritation when our phone buzzed in the middle of our coffee break to remind us we had to go participate in our son’s last school project of the year: The Hero Walk.
What is a Hero Walk? Usually, that is when MojoFiction goes out walking. But in this case, the students had all chosen an important figure from the Revolutionary War, learned all about them, and then pretended to be them for the afternoon. Parents would walk around the classroom, visiting each student and inquiring as to their role in the war. The students also produced posters full of additional information and drawings and words and stuff that we were probably supposed to read.
Our son was portraying the Marquis de Lafayette.
We know what you’re thinking, the French helped during the Revolutionary War? That doesn’t sound very American historyish. But, apparently, the French did all kinds of things for the fledgling colonies, like teach them how to talk flippantly to the British and get away with it. They also taught Thomas Jefferson that, while getting drunk in public is unseemly, getting drunk on French wine is very sophisticated and sets a good example.
We walked into the classroom looking for our son, or, as they say in France, “Whoever is right up front, because that’s a good place to start.” But when it comes to American heroes, there really is only one place to start.
We made our way to the station of that most famous of American heroes and said hello. The young student said, “Hello, good sir. I am Samuel Adams….” and then he proceded to talk about some kind of historical stuff that we probably knew already because we are so knowledgeable about history. When he stopped for a breath, we said, “Okay, so, tell us about your beer. When did you first think cherry and wheat would go together? Have you ever made a shandy? Why not?”
“Because a shandy isnt’ a beer,” he said. Or, at least, that’s what he would have said if he knew anything about American history. But he claimed not to know anything about any beer and so we resolved to talk to the teacher about the obviously errant textbooks that claimed a shandy was beer.
We said adieu and waded through the crowd, stopping at several other heroes, including, apparently, several women, which led us to believe there was some suspicious history going on here. Surely, Abigail was a man’s name, co-opted by women later on to give them a place in the Revolutionary War.
Finally, we arrived at our son’s station.
“Good day,” he said. “I am the Marquis de Lafayette.” He said this in a smashing French accent that was so good it caused the French to immediate run over and give him their only copy of the Mona Lisa.
“I did many interesting things during the war,” he continued, “including being French and eating many bon bons. When my musket fired it went ‘le pew pew pew!’ and everyone thought it was adorable.”
After the war, the Marquis went back to France and somehow survived the French Revolution. Afterward, he could have been dictator of France, but he passed and a certain Napoleon Bonaparte stepped in.
Our son, the Marquis, then pointed to a series of pictures he had drawn to illustrate his role in the revolution. The pictures were a little confusing to us, as you can see.
“According to this,” we said, “there was a Marquis who stood atop his hoard of gold. He traded it for a fancy American uniform and met George Washington. But he got really bad gas and was propelled away at a very fast pace.”
This is the look we got back. This is the look of a very annoyed Frenchman. He was so annoyed that he became slightly blurry, which is very hard to do.
He said loudly, “I do not know this silly man. Certainly, I am not related to him.” Then he pointed to the captions below the pictures that clearly spelled out story of the Marquis de Lafayette.
“That probably makes more sense,” we said.
We’re still very suspicious.
Seriously, Samuel Adams didn’t know anything about beer.