120 years ago today in front of Old St. Mary's Church on Grant and California, "[o]n the reeking pavement, in the darkness of a moon-less night under the dripping rain..., Norton I, by the grace of God, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, departed this life.".
Like Frank Chu multiplied by one thousand awesomes
Norton was on his way to lecture at the California Academy of Science the night he died. Have you ever been invited to lecture at the California Academy of Science? No. You haven't. And you probably aren't homeless and delusional. Norton was. How does that make you feel?
Hemlock = Bad. Fernet = Good.
During his life, he also dissolved the United States, abolished Congress, criminalized political parties, saved a group of immigrants from anti-Chinese rioters, ordered the construction of the Bay Bridge, advocated for abolition, established laws against people calling his fair city by detestable names, and got the SF board of supervisors to buy him new clothes even though he had repeatedly ordered their arrest. Norton had plays written for him and about him. Mark effing Twain wrote an epitaph for Norton's dog. Dude straight up invented his own currency...
...and San Francisco shopkeepers actually accepted it. Kinda makes your life seem pretty pathetic, don't it? You should be nodding, because it really really does.
Oh, and he also rode fixies before they were cool. Suck on THAT, hipsters.
Probably on his way to Zeitgeist
In short, Emperor Norton won at life. And I don't mean he "won at life" in that lame internet way that people say when someone posts a gif of cute fuzzy panda bears going down slides. I mean he really, actually Won at Life. Period. The end.
So to commemorate his death, I toast to him. The Emperor, the Protector, the Man. May he live in our hearts forever.
Filed Under: San Francisco in general, Emperor Norton was better than you, lolhipsters, dubious historical comparisons, ginger backs go well with hemlock actually