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main index © Jeff Matthews entry Dec 2002, rev. Apr 2011
Everything is related to Naples
Number 146 in this series. Link to all items here.
Myths—Urban, Euro & Napo
A myth is a traditional story, possibly with historical basis, serving to explain phenomena of nature or the customs and institutions of a people. Admittedly, the tale of Peirithous being punished for the attempted seduction of a goddess may not mean as much to us as it did to the ancient Greeks, so we now have what are called 'Urban myths'.These are tales that shed light on our own modern-day 'customs and institutions'. The most famous of these, as near as I can tell, involves the woman who put her little rain-soaked doggie into a microwave oven to dry him off! This supposedly reveals something about our relationship to our technology, as does the one about the woman falling asleep under a full-body tanning lamp and getting her contact lenses welded to her eye-balls.
With that, I am now shattered to
report that one of my most cherished stories about
Naples falls into this realm of make-believe; it is
urban legend, myth—not true, in spite of the fact that
it should be and that I personally know the guy who
knows the man whose cousin's friend heard about it.
That's the way I heard it, and that's how I've been repeating it all these years, but now it seems that this story in one form or another has been cited as 'true' in so many parts of the world that it can only be false. Too bad. I really liked it. It had potential; the scuba-diver remains might have been discovered by future paleontologists, who would have then concluded that the sea level back at the turn of the 20th/21st century around here was much higher than surmised. It also had great literary value, since with slight modification, it could be the opening of Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro:
No one was able to explain what the leopard [scuba-diver] was seeking at that altitude.
Car theft, too, has a
couple of good stories connected with it.
Car theft number two: (This
one also involves the San Carlo theater in Naples, but
from a little different angle):
Gentleman Thief/Robin Hood
In the first week of January 2002, a number of tales about the new coin of the realm, the Euro (€) were making the rounds:
These must be true, because I heard them from the guy who heard them from the guy who...
Or how about the battleship that
disappeared from the port of Naples shortly after
WWII? Not hijacked, you understand—it disappeared
little by little, piece by piece, day by day,
apparently the victim of enterprising scrap iron
scavengers! Then, there was the time…