Some years ago, I saw the following skit on Greek television. All the political events and personalities are real.
A man falls down and injures his head one week before the 1961 Greek election that featured middle-aged Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis being challenged by the elderly George Papandreou. The man ends up in a coma. He wakes up in a hospital. He looks out the window and he sees election signs with the names Papandreou and Karamanlis. The doctor walks into the room.
Doctor: Oh good, you woke up at last.
Patient: The last thing I remember is falling.
Doctor: You were very badly hurt. You were in a coma.
Patient: How bad could it have been? I couldn’t have been out that long. The election hasn’t even happened yet.
Doctor:Yeah, about that.
Patient: I think old man Papandreou is going to win it this time.
Doctor: George Papandreou died in 1968. You’ve been out longer than you think.
Patient: 1968? I missed seven years of my life? And I wake up just in time for another election? So Karamanlis is still holding on. Huh. So I guess George Papandreou’s son Andreas is leading his dad’s party now. How is the race between Andreas and Karamanlis going?
Doctor: The parties all have different names now. Andreas Papandreou and Konstantinos Karamanlis ran against each other in 1974 and 1977, but Andreas is dead too.
Patient: But the signs outside say Papandreou.
Doctor:That’s George Papandreou’s grandson, George Papandreou. He leads the party his dad founded.
Patient: I’ve missed so much of my life. I could have imagined Karamanlis running against George’s son, but his grandson? How is Karamanlis still running? What is he like eighty? Eighty-five?
Doctor: He died at age ninety-one in 1998.
Patient: But the signs outside say Karamanlis. One of them says Konstantinos Karamanlis. I can still see it.
Doctor: That’s his nephew.
Patient becomes agitated.
Patient: Doctor, what year is it?
Patient begins screaming.
Patient: Papandreou and Karamanlis? Karamanlis and Papandreou? Year after year? Decade after decade? Into a new century? I miss out on my whole life and it’s still Karamanlis and Papandreou?
Patient grabs the defibrillator at his bedside and zaps himself back into a coma