Thursday, October 23, 2014

No Place like Gnome

Americans are a people possessed with and by wanderlust, said the man who travelled a quarter of the way around the world to find the person who completed him. But, if I may offer something to better explain, that wasn’t what I started out on the journey to do.

You’ve seen/read the news on this: Jeffrey Fowle is back in Ohio after a Gulag Intermezzo (of sorts) in North Korea. Terrific news for his friends and family and perhaps reasons to be cheerful for the loved ones of Matthew Miller and Kenneth Bae, both still guests of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

In much the same way as I don’t understand people who base jump, pet sharks, climb mountains or do all three at the same time while blindfolded, naked and on roller skates during a rain of locusts, I look more than askance at anyone who would journey to such a country.

I don’t pretend to know why any of them chose to travel there or to have understood, so far, what they did to earn themselves an extended stay, but however they’ve been making their travel arrangements, do yourself a favor and stay away from whomever they’re using. 

For me, both the guy who always needs a shave, and that snarky multi-colored gnome give me more than enough cause for pause (and when did it become too hard to say “cutting out the middleman” so much so that we now have a term, disintermediation (that no one on earth understands), to do this). And besides there’s a world full of places I would love to see, and whose People’s Republic didn’t make the list?       

In a world of unlimited possibilities, someone chooses to head towards a place where they make men’s suits out of poured concrete, where Spy vs Spy isn’t a Mad magazine feature but rather a meeting of  the Neighborhood Watch, and an optimist is someone who looks forward to when they can die.

With your fussin’ and a fightin’ won’t you get me to the rhyme?” Preferably without routing me through Chicago while my baggage travels direct to  Dallas.  
-bill kenny

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