Gather around children and give me your ears, for I am about to tell you the greatest story never told. It involves some of the biggest names in American history and has changed the course of the world forever. I’m talking about the American Revolution, a fight for independence that some have attributed to high taxes or low representation or other such trivial events. Here is what really happened leading up to and on that fateful day, April 18, 1775 (three days after we turned in our taxes).
Back on a hot summer day in 1758, a young man named George was in Boston, visiting from England, and he happened to be thirsty, so he entered a tavern for a drink. The tavern, called “The Pisser” (ironic because there wasn’t a latrine in sight) was owned by one Samuel Adams, a rather successful, overweight alcoholic whose greatest joys in life were his beer and the whorehouse across the street. When George asked the bartender for a drink, Adams supposedly denied him because he was “too white.” Everyone at the bar laughed (because it was true) and young George was humiliated. George went on to become King of England, and it has been said that he never forgot the insult.
Fast forward to Feb. 14, 1775, when King George III, a heavy opium user at the time, decided, “Screw them all, I’m going to crush the colonies” during one of his many opium trips. Luckily for the young colonies, a servant boy named Hubert Chaplin, whose descendant would become famous in black and white cinema, overheard him and immediately told his father, Hoover Chaplin (don’t blame them for the unimaginative names, they were English). Ol’ Hoover had a brother who lived in Boston so he passed the message along, perhaps doing more for the country than anyone not named George Bush.
Hoover’s brother worked as an apprentice to a silversmith named Paul Revere, an alcoholic and a man of principle (I know, it didn’t make sense to me either). Revere was a good friend of Sam Adams, as they often traded stories and a few brews at the Pisser. In fact, and not many people know this, Revere and Adams had entered a partnership just a few months earlier to make and bottle the strongest beer in the world. Sam Adams would make the beer and Revere would make the bottles. No one was told of this plan so they could keep it from being taxed by the British authorities. And so they sent out to make the brew, coming up with “The Mad Hatter,” a brew that had triple the amount of alcohol of regular beer. Revere had designed one of the most ornate bottles ever made, inlaid with silver and gold with vulgar Bible stories carved in silver.
They had decided to send several bottles to their good friend, Colonel Sanders, who lived in Charleston, S.C. However, on the way there, the British Royal Navy, looking for smugglers, hijacked the ship. The bottles and their contents were sent to England. King George happened to come across a few bottles. When he found out that the brews were made by Sam Adams, he flew into an impressive rage and deployed an army to Boston to track him down, torture him into making some more beer and maybe cut off his testicles and feed them to the lions that resided in the Royal Zoo in London – apparently lions loved man balls (this part isn’t as important to the story).
When the troops came to Boston, trouble was a-brewin’. Sam Adams, in his infinite wisdom, had thrown a major party at The Pisser and given out free beer for a solid six hours, so by the time the British had landed people were a bit rowdy. A crowd gathered and Paul Revere drew some cheers when he threw some stones at a soldier. Then a little kid came up behind a Brit and promptly stole his belt. Not only did that draw tons of laughs but the soldier fired his gun and hit some drunk guy in the face. Then, as the history books say, all hell broke loose. They even gave it a cool name, the Boston Massacre. Good times.
Anyways, back to the story. As soon as the British soldiers showed up, Sam Adams and Paul Revere realized that the beer they were shipping to South Carolina was hijacked. Their only hope was to stockpile it in a little warehouse in Concord, a warehouse owned by a friend named Nathaniel Kerry who was a shoemaker by trade, although he preferred to make sandals, which he called flip-flops. Ironically, his descendant would become the most famous flip-flopper in history. But what they hadn’t planned on was the traitorous little prick selling them out to the British in exchange for an exotic plant that the Redcoats called “marijuana,” which came from the island of Jamaica. Nathaniel Kerry would later sell his shop to smoke marijuana full-time.
On April 18, 1775, Revere and Adams were planning on riding down to Concord to check on their stash of beer and hopefully transport it by wagon to North Carolina for safe-keeping. To get ready for their ride, they stopped at a little tavern called the “Golden Ball Tavern” in Weston and smoked a little opium. This was probably a bad idea because they began to hallucinate immediately afterwards. Sam Adams thought that the Redcoats were chasing them, while Revere kept imagining two lanterns guiding them. So to the first person they saw on the roads, Adams cried out, “The British are coming after us,” while Paul Revere began babbling about some lanterns. Naturally, the traveler was distressed and hurried on to tell the villages of the news. However, the British had no intention of going anywhere. In fact, they were all about to get on their ships and bounce when the news hit them that the British were coming. The commander, Thomas Gage, was a bit hard on hearing and he mistook “The British are coming after us” to be “There are British left in Concord.” Fearing that perhaps a regiment hadn’t come back after a particularly hard night of partying from Concord (a noted hotspot for booze and loose women), he decided to go bring them back. And that is the story of how a simple misunderstanding, some cheap opium and a case of beer launched a war that would create a whole new country. Stay tuned next week to find out the real story behind the real American Revolution.
Maystrovsky is a member of the class of 2009.