|Sherman is my little Napoleon. He's short. He's determined. And he's really pissed off that the restaurant doesn't have the seafood he'd planned on eating.|
By a twist of fate my family and I have ended up on the island of Elba for the last four days. Those of you who find the name familiar probably were listening during your history classes in high school. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about just google it. Basically Napoleon got himself exiled to this island a long time ago for being too ambitious and successful. People like Napoleon scare other power hungry people, so the great leaders in Europe had to find a nice place to put him so he'd just stay away. Elba. Elba is really nice. It's a large-ish island in Tuscany off the western coast of mainland Italy. We swam, hiked, swam, picked blackberries, explored grocery stores, played ping pong and pool games, filmed a video at Napoleons summer house for Jonathan's job, ate food and gelato, slept, etc.
We meandered through Napoleon's summer house and his regular residence today. Really, he couldn't have had it much better material-wise. His house was gorgeous. He had all the furniture and stuff he could want. He had a great view and plenty of space. Upon arrival he took control of the entire island, people and all. In fact, as we were on our way to his house, we asked a local gentleman for directions and his response was "The house of the Emperor is . . ." and he indicated with his hand. So apparently Napoleon still has his followers. However, after 10 months of life there he took off. And I ask myself, am I any different from him? Well, yes. I'm certainly not as ambitious as he was. My goals aren't as big. But if I look at my life and take account of what I have, am I still desiring something else? Would I dump what I have if there was a chance I could attain something more? Well, yes, but I don't think its necessary to dump what you have to move forward. Maybe sometimes.
Back to my main topic. Napoleon gave up this paradise on earth, Elba, and returned to his goals. I guess what I'm trying to say is that when I realized that Napoleon had a real good set up here on Elba (because at first I thought he was all alone and shackled in some dark dungeon with only one feeble robed gatekeeper to bring him his daily gruel and empty the contents of his chamber pot off the rocky cliff out of the barred windows . . . . eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-splassssshhhhhh!!!!!!) I wondered why he'd ever leave. Just like I wonder why women who have beautiful hair bother to dye it or change it so often. Or why Volkswagen stopped making the Vanegon when they had something so good going on. Or why people stopped growing their own vegetables because store bought ones taste inferior and always will. Why? Well, the answer is "They wanted something different" and even though I think that "something different" is not that great, they think its pretty awesome. Napoleon had a sweet house, view, garden, library, etc. according to me, a female in the 21st century. To him, his sphere of influence had shrunk considerably and he could probably never forget the greatness of his position or the vastness of his power. He was probably pretty bored talking with the same old people too. So, I can't really judge him for taking off. The moral of the story: We shouldn't judge others if they want to do things we think are weird, lame, stupid, or even dangerous. Chances are we appear stupid to at least one other person on this earth, but they have had the decency to withhold their verbal judgments from us for this long. And if they haven't, and you've already been told you're stupid, join the club and move forward.
-Napoleon did, and look where he is!
-No, stupid! In the history books!