A 21st-Century Rip Van Winkle: What Changed In My Decade Behind Bars


When the New World was two centuries newer, Washington Irving set a fable, "Rip Van Winkle," in the oldest parts of New York State, where the original Dutch settlers' culture still lingered. Life was European then—just set in America. But progress stops for no man. The story's hero evades his nagging wife in the wilds and takes a nap after drinking a supernatural potion. Awakening 20 years later, he is amazed by changes that aren't as obvious to those who slowly lived through them. For example, having missed the American Revolution, he infuriates a tavern's locals by toasting the wrong George: the recently defeated king of England, not the recently elected first president of America.


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