joy magnetism: Island of lies

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Island of lies

Magnet #598 - Shakespeare's Macbeth

Last month, Scouting NY, one of my favorite bloggers blogged about The Archaeological Dig at Governors Island.

The second I saw his fabulous pictures, I was totally intrigued. A whole underground city that was buried? How could I not know about this? Why weren't more people upset that a whole city was just buried away? Why would it be archaeologists from Belgium digging up the sand? Why?

I knew I had to visit. My sisters agreed, and we planned it for Open House NY, the last chance we'd have before they closed for the season. Everyone was excited to go.

Then, very late Friday night, after everyone was asleep, I went back to Scout's blog, and stumbled on this story he posted a couple days after.


I quietly freaked out, while the rest of the room snored away in ignorant bliss. As I posted on his site, I realized I had a choice. I could tell everyone with me the truth. Or keep my mouth shut to see if they were taken in. So funny, because I started second-guessing my sister, wondering (enough to ask) if she'd read Scout's follow-up story. She hadn't.

So, off we went. We took the ferry across the way, and joined a really good National Parks tour with effervescent and green Gummy-bear-like Ranger Lisa. Then we headed off to The Archaeological Dig on the west side of the island.

We were excited, reading the interesting and very well-designed and -branded signs and articles leading up to the ticket booth.

We were more than happy to fork over the $5 to the girl who giggled when I said the branding/identity was really well done.

We were thrilled at the idea of getting to wear branded gear - supercool hard hats and superbright fluorescent safety vests!

We paid rapt attention to the pretty nicely designed exhibit space, where we learned about the town of Goverthing.

We were grossed out to learn that Goverthing was overrun by superscary birds with uncontrollable and excessive bowel movements - enough to make a tin-umbrella'd fork and a scrotum-protector necessary.

We were horrified when we learned that the threat of an electrical storm might ignite that excessive bird droppings build-up was the reason the town was evac'd and sanded over.

We were freaked out when we got to visit the dig itself - with its partially excavated snowglobe factory, gas station, chimneys and church steeples.

We ran around from place to place, pumping water from the half-buried water tower, ringing the steeple bells, spinning the windmills to beckon the birds.

We quizzed the volunteers about how big they thought the houses were, and other bits of history.

And finally, when we left, with a $7 snowglobe and $2 duck-caller in hand, we read the final batch of corporate sponsor signs.

As we walked away, I looked suspiciously at DCsis and STWsis and STWfiance, because I couldn't tell if they'd fallen for it. Though toward the end, they started to see through the lies (questioning the soil levels, the chimney sizes, like why a weird statue that was supposed to be at the top of a building, had a hand you could shake to upend the snowglobe in his other hand), but they didn't ever really catch on that it was an art installation.

When I told them it was a hoax, they didn't believe me.

They couldn't believe that they'd been lied to in such a manner - by the Dig and by me.

They felt cheated, that they'd been made to care about this little lost enclave, with its oddly rich history of snowglobes and military evacuations, and torrid affairs with scandalous outcomes and missing songbird mistresses.

As Scout says, they never break character anywhere, admitting that it was an art installation rather than an actual dig. I almost wish I hadn't known, because it would have been interesting to see us all get hoodwinked. I wonder how long it would have taken before we learned the truth.

But, you have to admit there's something deviously clever about taking in a bunch of folks, some of whom are probably telling their friends and family about the cool dig over there.

Man. The three of them were so pissed and disappointed.

Yeah. I totally paid for that little excursion to the Island of Lies. Probably always will.
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jen said...

So. So. Disappointed. But intrigued and entertained all the same. Lies will do that to you.

julie said...

jerks. :( that town was like our worse nightmare... overcome by superscary birds. EW. i'm sad that i was taken in... but that one guy fixing whatever at the gas station could've been a little better at lying.