This is it. July 4th, 1776. You’ve waited a long time for this, Elbridge, my boy. All those hot days and boring debates were worth it just for this moment. We’re about to sign the Declaration of Independence, and you’re going to have the biggest signature of all. Time to make sure history never forgets the name Elbridge Gerry.
Just look at these unsuspecting fools waiting to sign. Thomas McKean. Button Gwinnett. Benjamin Franklin. Nobodies, all of them, and nobody’s sure going to care about them once the world sees the majestic curves of “Elbridge Gerry” right there on the page, written so big you’ll be able to see it all the way from England.
In fact, I know exactly what I’m going to say when I get up there: “Let’s see King George write a bigger signature than that!” Yes. That’s one for the history books.
Oh, this is going to be so sweet. My name might even become the synonym for one’s signature. “Just put your Elbridge Gerry right here,” people will say. Or “Hey, can I get your Elbridge Gerry on this?” Heck, they’ll name buildings after me — maybe even the tallest building in Boston! Just imagine: the Elbridge Gerry Tower, five stories high. Almost as tall as the Elbridge Gerry on the Declaration itself!
My hands are shaking. Calm down, Elbridge — you’ve got a historic charter to sign, and it’s gotta be the biggest signature the world’s ever seen. If your name isn’t so prominent, so freakin’ massive, that future generations will remember you solely for the two seconds it took you to write it, what’s the point of signing this stupid thing at all? You might as well be dead.
Look, Gerry, this is your best shot at a real legacy. Nobody wants to be remembered for controversial issues, like, I don’t know, manipulating district boundaries to establish an unfair advantage for a particular party. A man wants to be remembered for the things we can all get behind, like slapping the biggest autograph on the most famous document of all time.
Heh-heh. Those puny-signature punks from Maine have no idea what’s coming.
All right, here we go. The inkwell is full and ready to go; I hope we have enough! Hancock’s first, then it’s my time to shine. Remember, Elbridge: sign it nice and big, right in the middle, with a little swoopy thing at the bottom for added effect. And don’t forget the quote.
Wait, what’s Hancock doing? No. No! He’s taking up all the yellow space! What am I going to do now, put my own big signature in the margins?
What did Hancock just say? “The British ministry can read that name without spectacles; let them double their reward”? What does that mean? Why is everybody laughing? That wasn’t even a good line. Totally not memorable at all!
Oh, God, this is a disaster. How is history going to remember me, Elbridge Gerry, without my huge-ass signature plastered on the Declaration of Independence? I’m going to have to become a Governor or something — or, worse, vice-president to some nerd like Madison.
Hancock, you son of a bitch. You just put that big, iconic, history-making signature on your own death warrant. You’re going to live to regret this. I’ll make sure you never forget the name Elbridge Gerry.
I’ll make sure no one will.
I can’t bear it. This man has besmirched my honor by affixing his name to this parchment bigger than I could possibly hope to match. The nerve!
There’s only one way to settle this, Hancock. Just you wait until the Constitutional Convention, when I’ll refuse to sign whatever it is we come up with unless it includes a Bill of Rights in the federalist tradition, blah blah blah. “But what about the right to bear arms?” I’ll say — something like that. And then, while you’re all off drafting a few pointless amendments, I’ll sneak up to the desk and sign “Elbridge Gerry” bigger than the entire fucking preamble.
I better see you there, Hancock. Bring your fattest quill, you big-name-writing bastard.