No, really, I do. It has my name on it and everything. You remember that time you really wanted the last cookie, and some jerk took it and, upon seeing your face, said, “What? Does it have your name on it?”
Well, in this case, YES IT DOES. So get your filthy paws off my island.
The island of Tino is one of three in an archipelago off the western coast of Italy, in the Ligurian Sea which, itself, is in the Gulf of La Spezia. The other islands are Palmaria to the north, and Tinetto to the south. But they are less important. That is, they do not have my name on them.
At present the island is being used by the Italian military as an outpost and naval base. They asked really nicely, so I let them borrow it. However, once upon a time – being the 6c CE – it was occupied by a guy named Venerius the Hermit. At first, “Venerius” sounds like he might have had some venereal disease- I have not seen any evidence of the sort. Or perhaps that he was venerable. I hope that it is the latter, though the venereal disease might explain his desire to be a hermit. In any case, after being a hermit he became the abbot of the island, and was later venerated as a Saint in the Catholic Church- more specifically the patron saint of the Gulf in which his – I mean, our – island is situated. He was also made the patron saint of light house keepers as he would light fires on stormy nights to warn ships of the shallow water and rocks leading up to the island.
At present, tourist access (both foreign and national) to the island is limited to St. Venerius’ Feast Day, due to the military importance of the base. I tell you this piece of information to tell lead you into a more important piece: St. Venerius’ Feast Day is September 13th. What is my birthday, you ask? September 13th. I was due on the 3rd, but wasn’t born till the 13th. Furthermore, my name wasn’t even supposed to be Tino. My mother wanted to name me Konstantinos, but my father suggested they change it to a shorter version- which became Tino. Is this all coincidence? My “happening” to be late so that my birthday could coincide with the Feast Day of the saint whose island has the same name that my father “happened” to suggest as a compromise?
I think not.
Parts of this story which do not have remarkable parallels in my life: anything Italian, hermitism, Catholicism, the military, venereal disease (I swear), venerability and lighthouses.