Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Palace Aphorisms, 13-15

Fat People & Tourists series

no. 13

Tourists are people in shorts who can smile in unison.

Fat tourists are people in shorts who smile in unison with their knees turned together.

no. 14


Delicacy is a fat man holding a porcelain tea cup.

no. 15

A person never plumbs his genius and capacity for annoying the natives until he is made a tourist.


The picture above was taken by my husband in Istanbul this summer, when Mike and B were tourists there (yes, we are sometimes tourists, and if we eat too much, are liable to get fat--except N, who considered it a feat to break 50 lbs.); it is the underground Constantinople cistern, lost for a millenia and a half. The pillaged columns were mostly Greek, but the builders would have called themselves Roman. The cistern was 'found' when someone investigated a rumor that people living in a certain area of the city could pull up water and fish from holes in their cellars. When discovered in the late Middle Ages, it became a dumping ground for trash and bodies, but has once again been cleaned up.

2 comments:

  1. Isn't tourist season over up there? It must be a drag to feel that your town is overrun with tourists. Here we have the students, but I like them, so I don't mind their overrunning tendencies. And besides... this IS a college town, so it'd be churlish to complain about them! Btw, ms. came today.

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  2. It used to roll up for most of the year. Sigh. Now we are pestered round the calendar. Dreams Park and such baseball camps have extended the season. The baseball tourists all think that baseball is the only game in town, when we have a teaching hospital, two other museums, an opera house, etc. I don't mind many of them and, in fact, give them directions about forty times a day. It's the ones that do weird things on my lawn in the wee hours, and the Big Mouths.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.