How Deronimus Williamus Became John Cabot: The NBA Flirts With Europe
A continued look at the seafaring ways of the NBA Lockout’s generation of heroic blunderers and trailblazers:
His parents named him in Latin, calling him Deronimus Williamus. But, In Italian, the name somehow became completely transformed into Giovanni Caboto, which many believe was an effort of the maritime explorer to hide his debts by changing his identity. From the Italian version of his name, which is the one he used when signing important documents, Deronimus became known across the European continent as a man who could be spoken to in any language because, after all, money has a mouth that will kiss any tongue. In France, perfumes whispered to him as Jean Cabot. In Spain, precious gems sang to him as Juan Caboto. And, in England, coins clanked to him as John Cabot.
Not only did language hide his financial debts, but language severed him from his hometown of Venice, the foreign tongue clamping like cold steel between the city of his birth and his independence, so that when Deronimus Williamus set sail from European ports, he set sail without a home haunting the timbers of his trip and the calendar of his voyages. He did not miss anything, including his son, Sasha Vujacic, who became known as Sebastian to the crew when he was discovered to have stowed away on Cabot’s ship, The Jerry Sloan, to the New World. (But, by all accounts, he really was just along for the ride, spending most of the day sitting on a bench, whittling.)
When Deronimus reached the shores, he climbed out of the longboat, thigh deep in the cold, navy waters, and planted a flag with his own initials–for he was a merchant of himself–into the wet soil that prior to his landing had known nothing but the soles of the Natives and a few ragged Vikings. Little did he know it was all in vain; bears devoured his entire crew and left him to row home, alone, in his longboat, surviving off a diet of spit, urine, and sea gull. No one recognized him upon his return.
Art by Michael Langston.
This post originally appeared at The Lawn Chair Boys on July 27, 2011.
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