Gondolier smackdown: the scoreBy
Some while back, I recounted the unpleasantness between two gondoliers near Piazzale Roma on August 14 which resulted in the just-boarded passengers of one combatant (the defender) being overturned into the drink. One detail of this encounter that has only now been reported is that not only did the aggressor gondolier — they’re never named, which is tiresome — yell horrible things at the defender, he got to the point of physically attacking him and attempting to hold his head underwater. If you should ever dream of trying to become a gondolier, this is not a skill you’ll be tested on.
Now, for anyone who might have been wondering how the story finally ended, the case has just been adjudicated by the Ente Gondola, the governing body of the gondoliers, and the sentence doesn’t involve courses in anger management or hours and hours of community service. Unfortunately.
The nameless defender has been given a two-day suspension. The published accounts of this kerfuffle never described how he responded to the attack but evidently he didn’t just stand there and take it. So, two days.
His nameless aggressor, however, has been suspended for six months, beginning November 1. This means he won’t be working at Christmas, New Year’s, Carnival, or Easter.
Don’t start taking up a collection just yet, though, and you don’t need to picture him shivering at home, wondering how to make a pound of pasta last a month. Because he, like all gondoliers, undoubtedly has a substitute. And when the gondolier isn’t working, the substitute takes over (hence the word “substitute….”). And the gondolier, wherever he is (skiing at Cortina, snorkeling in the Red Sea, whatever), gets to keep 3/4 of the money the substitute makes. So this outcome is basically a great thing for the substitute — six months of work!!! — and a type of paid vacation for the gondolier.