(History: it’s all about big guns and bad beer)
It’s done. The jury is in. Weird has a new world champion.
Until recently, the most bizarre people I had ever met were some beer-fueled fraternity guys in Athens, Georgia. Apparently, this crew were pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in disturbing the peace, with a minor in falling off balconies. These guys put the “dys” in “dysfunctional.”
But that was before I met Pachakuti. Hang up the phone, folks: we have a winner.
In the 1400s, a very focused social climber in Peru changed history, and created a whole bunch of potential jokes. His name was Wiraqocha which, as far as we know, was not his fault. Wiraqocha became known as the first Inka (literal translation: “I have more soldiers than you”). He changed his name to Wiraqocha Inka (this was entirely his fault) and settled his family in Qosqo (literal translation: “Costco”).
Historical Sidebar: The Spanish referred to Qosqo as “Cusco,” which is a strong indictment against Spain’s public education system.
Things went well for about 8 minutes, until King Wiraqocha’s clan was attacked by the fierce Chanka (literal translation: “fraternity guys”). The valiant Inka King yelled something about conquering “half the world,” then shoved his family into the Qoztetzlmizkotl (literal translation: “SUV”) and valiantly ran away.
But not the whole family. A younger son (Inka Cusi Yupanki) stayed in Costco, defeated the Chanka, and then, as part of an unorthodox fraternity hazing ritual, skinned them.
Historical Sidebar: The Spanish referred to the Inka as “savages,” leading anthropologists to posit that Spain, at least once during the 15th Century, must have visited Athens, Georgia.
King Wiraqocha was well-pleased with his younger son, Yupanki, and to show his gratitude, plotted to have the youngster killed. But Yupanki, like many young people today, didn’t know how to accept a gift graciously. Yupanki rebelled against his father, the King valiantly ran away again, and Yupanki took over management of Costco, renaming himself Pachakuti (literal translation: “Worldshaker”).
Quickly, the Worldshaker got busy, running up and down the Andes, conquering everything in sight. For 25 years, he participated in an early form of political redistricting that spread savagery and wild decadence from Costco to Lake Titicaca and, ultimately, to Athens, Georgia.
Administration of the expanding empire fell to the Worldshaker’s son, Thupa Inka Yupanki (literal translation: “Rahm Emanuel”). Thupa, lacking the grandiose ambition of his father, the Worldshaker, gave himself the princely ceremonial name Tsodium Qloride Kuti (“Saltshaker”).
As Pachakuti’s influence grew, so did his greed (much like the United States in our time). He named his empire Tawantinsuyu (literal translation: “anagram for ‘Tuna was Unity'”) and built the magnificent, gold-plated central plaza of Awkaypata (anagram: “Paw at a Yak”), which became known as the crown of Mother Earth, or “Pacha Mama” (see “whole bunch of potential jokes”).
And, much like the United States in our time, the whole scheme ran on no money whatsoever.
In 1471, Pachakuti died peacefully, or not. Suddenly, Thupa the Saltshaker was King, and it went straight to his little Inka head. Thupa declared himself a god (literal translation: “member of Congress”) and insisted on being hauled around in a golden litter. As he was carted up and down the aisles of Costco, lying in his litter, the awed citizenry would get so carried away by his glory that they would pull out their eyebrows and eyelashes, and that’s where we get the expression “bald-faced lie.”
Historical Sidebar: Thupa thought the ground was not worthy of receiving his holy saliva, so when he had the need, Thupa would simply spit in the hand of a nearby courtier, and that’s where we get the expression “TGIF.”
Thupa began the custom of marrying one’s own sister, a custom that’s still practiced in some of the more hilly regions of the United States. In fact, according to some historians, he married two of his sisters. And these were in addition to his two or three hundred subordinate wives. And that’s where we get the expression “masochistic moron.”
In 1493, Thupa died, possibly due to extreme conjugal exhaustion, or an overdose of nagging. This time, succession was bound to get tricky, since Ole Salty had fathered over sixty sons. So the “negotiations” began, resulting in (surprise!) the oldest heir getting killed. The surviving son took the name Wayna Qhapaq (“Wayne Newton”) and became The Inka, though he wasn’t yet old enough to act like a true idiot. Until he came of age, two uncles ran the Costco, until (surprise!) one uncle killed the other. Once Wayne Newton reached his majority, he (surprise!) killed two of his brothers and (surprise!) married his sister.
Wayne’s son, Atawallpa (“Wal-Mart Inka”), looked greedily to the east and took a stab at annexing Ecuador, but the natives there apparently weren’t interested in incest. Nevertheless, the Inka armies prevailed, after which Wayne settled into some kind of depressed funk. Historians tell us that for the next 6 years, King Wayne just moped around in Ecuador, wearing a vampire-bat wool shirt and getting drunk on chicha, a muddy, maize-based beer commonly found in Athens, Georgia. As you might imagine, this dark era was peppered with massive resignations by scores of saliva catchers, who ultimately unionized (United Phlegm Workers Local 23) and struck for better wages, just before they were all (surprise!) killed.
In 1525, at the end of this era (literal translation: “will this be on the test?”), Wayne died after falling off a fraternity balcony. Following the inevitable non-bloodless intrigue, one of Wayne’s teenage sons won the day and named himself Washkar Inka (literal translation: “The God of Drive-Thru Auto Cleaning”). The sulking, overlooked Atawallpa stayed in Ecuador and opened a chicha micro-brewery. King Washkar took Dad’s body back home, killed everybody within 6 degrees of separation, and then (surprise!) married his sister.
Historical Sidebar: Shortly after returning home, King Washkar found out that his mom (his dad’s sister) had not actually, technically, married his dad, so he forced her to have a dart-gun wedding ceremony with Dad’s mummy. As one historian drily put it, “even for the Andes this was an unusual step.”
Washkar and Atawallpa spent the next few years trying to sneak up on each other with a sharpened llama bone. Legally, Atawallpa’s claims to the throne were a bit weak, since his mom was only his father’s cousin. The shame! I mean, how nearly not undisgraceful is that?
After 3 years, Atawallpa was captured and imprisoned, but his wife (named “Aunt Doris”) snuck an atavistic proto-crowbar into the prison, and he managed to escape by digging his way out. Insulted, under-medicated and armed with an atavistic proto-crowbar, Atawallpa quickly captured Washkar’s head general (“Uncle Doris”), cut off the general’s head, stuck a bowl on it, filled it with chicha, and shared a drink with his own generals. And that’s where we get the expression “beer head,” not to mention “yuck.”
Atawallpa and his army then headed back to Costco for the final smackdown. Washkar Inka was captured and forced to marry himself. Atawallpa, the newest Inka, started interviewing sisters.
And then, as so often happens in history, one of those bizarre coincidences occurred, a credibility-testing coincidence, like the Pilgrims sailing from a place called Plymouth, England, and then just happening to land in America at a place called Plymouth Rock.
As Atawallpa Inka was busily setting up his government and selecting Saliva Boys, a courier arrived from the coast, breathlessly informing the new King that tall ships had landed, carrying pale hairy men who sat atop enormous animals.
Yes. It was Siegfried and Roy.
Historical Sidebar: No, it wasn’t.
It was Francisco Pizarro, the conquistador (literal translation: “insecure male manifesting over-compensation issues during a mid-life crisis”). The Spanish had arrived. The ultimate undocumented workers had breached the border. And as quickly as the empire of the Inka had risen, it fell even more quickly.
The Inka had slings. The Spanish had horses and armor, guns and cannon. The Inka had rooms full of gold and silver. The Spanish had, well, horses and armor, guns and cannon. It was pretty much over by lunch.
Pizarro and 168 men had just taken down the greatest empire on earth.
And that, students, is where we get the expression “Second Amendment.”