This is it. My 100th article written for Cosmos Philly. Not really. This is number 105. Those pompous owners of Cosmos Philly, sitting in their leather-bound chairs high up on the 30th floor of Cosmos Philly Towers, smoking their Cubans, told me to come up with a special article since they think this is a historic event. Actually, they threatened that if I didn’t, my pay would be cut in half. Fortunately for me, half of nothing is nothing! They also told me I would get something exceptional. Really? Probably the same thing they gave me when I wrote my 50th article – a big fat nothing! They can’t count either, but I’ll let them think this is number 100. Boy, do I hate Cosmos Philly.
This year, 2017, I didn’t write too many articles and the reason for the dryness of the well was simply that I was trying to come up with something to write about. Something slick, something on the edge, after all, this article was supposed to be a milestone. This was my crowning moment like a Marathon runner crossing first over the finish line.
Truth be told, I haven’t had any good ideas to write about because I’ve written about everything that has to do with our Greek communities – the Greek Discount, Re-Greeking, the Leftovers, Big Ben and Mega Haris, World-Wide Greek Grapevine, the dreaded Greek poems, and much, much more. And how many other articles have been written about the same thing? You see those articles on Facebook pop up about Greeklish or Greek moms and their weapon of choice, the koutali? There are hundreds, no, millions of these articles! So what is left?
I’m glad you asked.
The one thing I never wrote about and the one thing I’ve written about over 100 times, was simply, our community. The Greek-Americans, the Greek-Canadians, the Greek-Australians, and the Greek-every other countries in the world. The diaspora. We’re all the same no matter where we live. We are unique, different, special, and ordinary people of an ancestry that dates back more than 3,000 years ago. We are proud, stubborn, compassionate, educated, hard-working, and we have φιλότιμο (philotimo) – well, sometimes. The saying goes, two Greeks meet, they open a diner. Three Greeks meet, they start a war.
Each morning, I have my coffee at a little shop in Upper Darby called Five Points Cafe. One of the other regulars is a Japanese-American man named Takashi. Very insightful person. Through our conversations, he has learned what it is to be Greek. He now understands that all things were started by the Greeks! In other words, he puts up with me. But he has pointed out one difference between the Greeks and the Japanese. He said, if two Japanese strangers meet in an airport, they may nod their heads in acknowledgment and one will ask how the other is and vice-versa, and that’s it. They acknowledge each other out of obligation, but truly, they just want to leave. There is no interconnection, no comradery, no philotimo.
Two Greek strangers meet in the airport, once they learn each is Greek, there are slaps on the back, stories, invitations to come over for coffee, dinner, etc. You see the difference.
I have had non-Greeks ask me why our community is so close. It seems that every Greek knows every other Greek. There are reasons. One thing that I have realized is that there are not many of us, relative to the rest of the world. How many Chinese are there? A billion – in China alone. What about the other billion scattered around the world? Same with the Indians. How many Irish or Italians are there? On the contrary, how many Greeks are there around the world? SAE estimates about 7 million. There are 7.5 billion people in the world. 7 million is not a lot. In the United States, there are 350 million people with about 3 million Greeks. Again, that’s not a lot. So when Greeks meet up, it’s like seeing a long lost brother or sister, and they truly may be related. Yia’sou file!
Another reason – we’re loud, boisterous, and ready for a good time. Not like those cold Germans or English (only kidding my German and English friends – not!), and we have been around for a very, very long time. At least 3,000 years. Not many can say that so we have had time to evolve.
I read a piece on Facebook, and since you can believe EVERYTHING you read on Facebook, I guess this article was true. It said that over the past 4,000 years, there are 10 figures in history that everyone in the world knows: Plato, Aristotle, Jesus Christ, Socrates, Alexander the Great, Leonardo de Vinci, Confucius, Julius Caesar, Homer, and Pythagoras. Out of the ten, six of them are Greek. Sorry, France, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, none of your guys made the list. Neither did any Turks. Oh well.
The moral of the story? We’re Greek. The few and the proud!
This article is sponsored by Atlantis of Philadelphia. From contemporary to classic, their talents have captivated generations of Greek music lovers. Whether it's a wedding, dance or festival, your special affair deserve the best, Atlantis of Philadelphia. For more info please visit atlantisofpa.com or call 856-418-0404.