The halls of history are littered with once-important people whose contributions have become forgotten by time, much like how Chewbacca didn’t get a medal after the Battle Of Yavin, but The New Yorker has tried to rectify this for one historical figure by publishing an “autobiographical” piece from the perspective of Oatsy, the horse Paul Revere used for his famous Midnight Ride. The essay was actually written by Simon Rich, the creator of Man Seeking Woman, but you might not even realize it was penned by a human thanks to the elegant use of a realistically horse-like syntax. For example, here’s how the piece begins:
Growing up horse, I do not expect much from life. My ten older brothers all end up in stable. My sisters become glue.
From there, we learn about how Oatsy met Paul Revere, a regular guy from Boston who is “easy to carry,” and how the two of them shared the same dream of leaving a “big mark on world.” Then, one day, Oatsy heard that the British were coming and convinced Revere to help him tell everyone:
Paul cannot run fast, because he has fat legs, and also he is human. So he is, like, Hey, can you do running part? And I am, like, Of course. I will carry you whole way to town. And when we get there you can do speaking part, since you are not horse and you know English and can talk. And he is, like, Deal.
Unfortunately, there’s a reason we don’t remember Oatsy the way we remember Paul Revere. As Rich/the horse tell it, Revere’s sudden fame quickly went to his head, and gradually began to diminish the contributions Oatsy made to his heroic ride. That pops up in this harrowing passage:
And then person from newspaper jumps out, and he is, like, Paul, Paul, how did you ride so long through night? And I snort, because of course Paul did not ride. I rode. He just clung to my back with eyes closed, crying whenever his face got brushed by leaf.
After that, the story becomes all-too-familiar. Oatsy begins drinking out of puddles by the brewery. He lashes out against his family. He begins drinking out of whatever puddles he can find, saying, “like, who cares, get it in me.” He also starts “trotting around glue factory” in hopes of convincing them to just take him in.
Seriously, though, the piece is pretty funny, and it’ll be included in Rich’s collection Hits And Misses (in stores later this month).