Patrick currently resides deep in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. He sucks at sports, can't play any musical instruments, and suffers from crippling anxiety. In his spare time, he can be found trying to beat his best score at Ms. Pacman or passed out on the couch after a tiring day of Law & Order: SVU reruns. His favorite things include television, music, and comedy. He dislikes almost everything else, especially the Tori episodes of Saved by the Bell.
Learn more about my friend, comedian Sue Costello's Kickstarter Project!
Somewhere nestled deep in the backwoods of my hometown, at least according to Google Maps, is a Smallpox Cemetery. If you don’t know me, old graveyards and forgotten relics from the distant past give me giant metaphorical boners. I packed up my car and braced myself for an adventure, which was really just a two minute drive so that equates to transferring my Sam Adams bottle into a sportier travel mug.
When my phone’s drop pin icon indicated that I was standing on top of it, I scanned the area only to find a ranch-style house that was probably no more than thirty years old and overgrown brush. A second journey was conducted the next day, this time by bike and some light trespassing on the aforementioned property. Low and behold, hidden behind two hundred years of inattention were nine disheveled and lonely tombstones.
The names and dates were barely identifiable, but I already have a working theory that these victims caught the disease while preparing smallpox blankets for the local heroes who plotted to wipe out the insidious Native American tribesman who were wrongfully trying to win back the land they were being displaced from. I also learned this past weekend that I am part Native American, which might explain why I’m good at building fires and writing deplorable theories about colonial-era settlers battling viciously contagious diseases.
On a recent romp through Burial Hill, the historic final resting place of the early Plymouth Colony settlers, I came across two headstones marked “Mother” and “Sister.” I couldn’t help but to think of the 1620s-style sitcom shenanigans these two must have endured through the early years of American settlement. With typical fare ranging from “special episode” scurvy scares to recurring jokes about grazing corn stalks. Also, I am willing to bet there was at least one occurrence of the devious duo convincing Squanto to go whiteface in the hopes of sneaking him into a Puritan church’s Sunday morning mass.