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What he did on his summer vacation

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The reason for the unusually long time since my last post is the inverse correlation between the current heatwave (still increasing) and my capacity to think and/or act upon my thoughts (still decreasing).

Of course it’s summer so of course it’s hot.  What does everyone expect?  The Siberian front that usually moves through here in January? Everybody complains about that too.

And I recognize that longer and more intense heatwaves have been tormenting people in many other parts of the world.  But I don’t use my brain there and I haven’t been using what’s left of it here lately either.

For about a week now the daytime temperature has gone near, and now will be going past, 96 degrees F/36 C.  With searing sun which not even the most foolhardy cloud has dared to veil.  The “perceived heat” will be over 100.  It’s like living in Pascagoula with palazzos.

But heat doesn’t seem to prevent people from doing all sorts of unusual things, so I thought I’d share one of the more eccentric or anyway less horrifying recent summer events (by “less horrifying” I mean episodes not involving drug overdoses, marital homicide/suicides, fatal hit-and-run accidents, and so forth). Many of those have a highly ironic nature which might lead you to consider them humorous, but I’m going to avoid them.

The best of the batch is being accomplished by a certain Ivano De Marchi, 65 years old, who lives in Marcon (just 14 miles/22 km from Venice).  He has been driving around the Veneto in his convertible BMW with a coffin jammed into the passenger seat.

Here is a video of a sighting on the A4 highway near the Vicenza Ovest exit.

For those who don’t see the video, here’s the link:

I’ll simplify his explanation: It’s a pilgrimage.  Not any ordinary one, but a “protest pilgrimage” to punish the mayor.

Back in 1988, De Marchi paid a lot of his own money and time and energy to create a motocross track, presumably near his hometown and presumably something he intended for his own enjoyment.  I don’t know how much money or time you need to construct a motocross track but I know it’s not something you just throw away, like the 20 million dollars Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt spent for that chateau in France.

Anyway, he spent the money, then the mayor razed the track and cut it up into parcels, presumably for houses (there was no mention of a miniature golf course or firing range).

So now, 23 years later, revenge.  According to De Marchi, the Virgin Mary came to him in a dream and told him to undertake 1000 pilgrimages with a coffin to 1000 churches, after which time presumably the ex-mayor will be ready for his box.  That’s the assumption De Marchi is going on.

Of course the police have stopped him (no word on whether the bishop has sent out his own squad).  They gave him the breath-test and the drug test and he was just fine.  “Then they made me open the coffin, which obviously was empty” — actually, not so obvious to even a moderately alert policeman.  “After that they told me to be careful, and they let me go,” he concludes.

“Of course I”m careful: The coffin has got its seatbelt fastened.”

If we are given any updates on the fulfillment of his vow, especially the expected outcome, I’ll certainly let you know.  As it is, while the rest of us are being steamed like asparagus out here, he is out there breezing along with his coffin and his retaliation to keep him company.  I have no idea if he has a time frame for this quest — even if he were able to visit ten churches a day, he’d be at this for at least three months.  It’s not going to be quite so much fun when the winter rains move in.

But for now, he’s happy.  At the least, he’s not stuck in miles of traffic coming home from vacation, like all those really dumb people.



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