a guy named guy

A normal blog would present things in chronological order.  But you’re not reading a normal blog, since I’m a random thinker.  For the linear thinkers out there, sorry – the following story happened in November.

During high school I was lucky enough to have a string of hippie history teachers.  I will never forget the day we watched the movie Hair in class and I truly felt that I had never seen anything so interesting in my entire life.  It remains to this day, one of my favorite movies and I don’t care what anyone says, George Berger remains one of the all time super dudes.

Although I graduated from high school with a pretty good understanding of the age of Aquarius, I’m not sure I gained much understanding of any other type of history besides US counter-culture history. {Side note: The summer after I watched Hair for the first time, I waited on John Savage at the cafe on Cape Cod where I worked.  It was my best brush with fame to date. ;)}

So now that we’re living in France, I’ve gained many pieces of historical knowledge that are related to many other countries other than the US.  The first among them, that the British call the US Revolutionary War the War for Independence.  I nearly spit wine out my nose at a party when my friend Steve mentioned this fact to me.

Then we were invited to this bonfire by family friends in honor of Guy Fawkes Day.  At the time, I had no idea who Guy Fawkes was, but since I associate bonfires with s’mores, I was more than happy to accept the invitation.  Before the party, I started talking to my friend from the UK about the bonfire and she told me this story that every year on November 5th there are massive bonfires lit all over England to celebrate the fact that Guy Fawkes didn’t blow up the House of Lords in 1605.  Since I am so slick and clearly not very well versed in English history, I started to say that this plot sounded a bit familiar – like something I might have seen as a movie………….maybe something with Natalie Portman with a shaved head and a guy in a weird mask…………..

I guess I should have paid more attention to world history at some point in my life and I’m lucky my friend isn’t judgemental.  The bottom line:  The movie V was based on Guy Fawkes.

Fast forward to the bonfire.  I came fully loaded with tons of marshmallows but I knew the s’mores would be incomplete because graham crackers don’t exist in France.  We would have to get by with just the marshmallows (newsflash: most marshmallows are pink in France).

In addition to lots of information about Guy Fawkes, here is what I learned that night.

1) Most non-American kids don’t know what a marshmallow is and they have never heard of a s’more

2) Guy Fawkes style bonfires are WAY too hot to safely toast marshmallows – there were no calamities, just lots of untoasted marshmallows to eat

3) Guy Fawkes style bonfires are so hot they will melt the lenses of your glasses

I made Tim take my glasses back to the US to get new lenses in them, since they were still under warranty.  The lady at the glasses shop took one look at them and said, “They look like they’ve been melted.  Did your wife put them near something hot?”

I’m blaming Guy.

Here is an ad for a French cruise that I recently saw as a poster in the supermarket.  Just thought you might enjoy checking it out.  Does it make you want to go on a French cruise?



5 responses to “a guy named guy

  1. Hi Steph! Just found out about your blog and I love it. Seems like such an amazing experience for your family. Happy New year!
    btw-that pic is hilarious,that guy does not look my idea of a good time…

    • Meg! Great to hear from you – glad you like the blog. I nearly peed my pants when I saw that guy on the cruise poster – I caused a bit of a scene when I pulled out my phone to snap a pic. Not sure that ad would work in the US……

  2. Just to continue the delayed response to bonfire night episode, here are a few more facts for you about Guy Fawkes.

    1. Perhaps the greatest lesson for the English in this whole episode was not to let a Catholic (!) antiestablishmentarian be in charge of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords.
    2. Guido Fawkes was eventually questioned under torture. Today, this evidence would not be admissible in court and had he been more fortunate to be born in modern times, he may have been a free man.
    3. Having said that, he did admit prior to torture that his intention was “to blow you Scotch beggars back to your native mountains”. According to Wikipedia, “His steadfast manner earned him the admiration of King James, who described Fawkes as possessing “a Roman resolution”.” In fact, he was a Yorkshireman and his demeanour is testament to this.
    4. One of the questions that he was asked under torture was “”When and where he learned to speak French?” Distrust of French speakers remains to this day.
    5. Other effigies that have been subjected to the bonfire on 5 November throughout the ages include the Pope and Margaret Thatcher.
    6. During the 19th century, “guy” came to mean an oddly dressed person in British English, but in American English it just meant a man.
    7. Fawkes is sometimes referred to as “the only man ever to enter Parliament with honest intentions”.

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