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The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Friday, August 24, 2007

Ponce de León Attempts to Play Off Not Finding the Fountain of Youth as if the Whole Thing Had Been a Joke

by Dan Klein

Juan Ponce de León (c. 1460 — 1521)

And so during our trip to the New World, I discovered a vast landmass and claimed it for you, your Highness. I named it Florida because, let me tell you, this place was loaded with flowers and, believe it or not, I actually landed there right in the middle of the Feast of the Flowers. Truth is, I was gonna name it Florida anyway, but pretty cool right? And yeah, I saw a couple of natives, blah blah blah, pretty standard expedition. Yup, so, uh, that’s all she wrote. See ya later.

Hm? What other thing?

Youth thing? I don’t remember—Oh! Oh that! Man, good memory. Well, yeah I was just joking around. Wait, you didn’t really believe that I was searching for an eternal source of life, did you? Heh, c’mon, you guys should know me by now. I’m always jokin’ around. That’s my thing.

O.K., no, you’re right. Exploring is my thing. But joking around is my other thing. Hey, ya gotta do something while you’re out at sea for so long. Keeps ya sane, you know? (Nervously clears throat.)

What do you mean you don’t get it? What is there to get? It’s funny because it’s such a crazy idea for me, the renowned Ponce de Leon, to travel all the way across the Atlantic Ocean just to see if some magical fountain that could grant everlasting life was real. Sounds like a crappy movie. It’s absurd. Alluring, too, sure…very, very alluring. Just to think if it actually existed, my god … but, seriously, c’mon.

No I’m not just saying that because I didn’t find the Fountain of Youth. For God’s sake, I barely looked. I mean I—uh—I didn’t even look at all! O.K., O.K., sure, I snooped around Florida a little, but that was it. Only Florida! You’d think if I really wanted it, I would have looked harder.

O.K., yes, that is something someone would say who originally was serious about it, didn’t find it, and then tried to play it off as a joke, but I’m being serious now. The whole thing was made up, a little prank. Seriously, like when I was searching, I was doing it all silly and cartoony, and I’d do a funny accent. I was just trying to liven things up for everyone. Like this one time I screamed that I had found it and everyone came over to see, and it just turned out to be a weird shaped rock with water coming out of it. And a few days after we all had drank from it and nothing happened, I was like, “Gotcha!”

Yeah, I’m pretty sure some of the guys thought it was funny. It wasn’t like laugh-out-loud funny; it was more conceptual.

Yes, I realize how expensive the expedition was and yes, I would pay that kind of money for the sake of a good joke.

Because I’d like people to think of me as the fun conquistador.

Well, whatever. Listen, this isn’t getting anywhere. The whole thing is stupid, so let’s just drop it. I’m sorry it went over your head, but just know, from now on, the next time I say something crazy like that it’s a joke, O.K.? God. Which reminds me, we should start planning the next expedition to set up a permanent colony there.

Please stop laughing.

Dan Klein works as busser at the Grey Dog's Coffee in New York. This piece was based on a true story. He has written a thing on McSweeney's, contributes to The Onion, studies improvisation at the Magnet Theater, and is a member of Pangea 3000. Currently, Dan Klein is sad that his accomplishments were summed up in one sentence.