I have just returned from my summer holidays. I went to Warsaw, which might seem an odd choice, but itâ€™s odder than you think. I spent 10 days in Warsaw, Indiana, deep in the Donald Trump heartlands. Itâ€™s the world centre for Orthopaedic implants. It was a toss up between here or Disneyland.
We were at this unusual vacation spot to visit my wifeâ€™s bizarre family (it just keeps getting better, doesnâ€™t it?) and I have to say I wasnâ€™t expecting too much from it. But actually it was fascinating to come a place that was off the tourist trail and to see something of the real America.
We went to explore on day one and the first thing we encountered was an unwelcoming windowless shop in the middle of a parking lot. If it hadnâ€™t been for the name of the premises you might assume it sold adult-orientated products, but it was called â€œBibles and Booksâ€. A tautology surely. Either they had been forced to reluctantly accept there was more than just that one book in the world, or they were saying that the Bible was not a book.
Further along the road was a school. It had a playground and a soccer field which was covered in tiny white crosses. It was hard to fathom what this was about. It didnâ€™t seem an appropriate place for a cemetery.
But big banners outside explained that each cross represented four abortions that had been carried out in the county since 1982. Whichever side of the argument you stand on that is quite a strong artistic statement. Apparently they take them down again in term time, so kids arenâ€™t having to dodge tiny symbolic graves every time they play football. But even so, they must pass by in the summer holidays and wonder why their climbing frame looks like a World War One battlefield.
Personally I feel that half-filling a playground with crosses for such a cause is a bit tactless and distasteful, but America has freedom of speech and also freedom of putting out a tiny foetus crosses, so you canâ€™t complain. Also everyone has a gun, so itâ€™s probably best to keep your mouth shut until youâ€™re safely home.
But I couldnâ€™t help wondering, if youâ€™re going to make a graveyard on a school playing field, then why make each cross represent four aborted children? Give them a cross each, Warsaw. Smacks of laziness to me. It seems youâ€™re pro-life, but not to the extent that you want to put out 400 crosses when you can make do with 100. Consequently to the casual observer it just looks like not that many abortions have taken place in the last 35 years.
REDACTED [Also call yourself religious? Why just a cross for each abortion? Iâ€™d like to see a marker for every single sperm that had failed to make a child in this county since 1982. As the Bible (or maybe Monty Python, I canâ€™t be sure) said, â€œEvery sperm is sacredâ€ and every one that falls upon the ground is a lost child. Given there are up to 600 million sperm in every ejaculation, think how many crosses the lazy field of abortion memorial would have if they had to put one up for every lost gamete, even from the previous week. It would be a Sisyphean task, especially is Onanistic anti-anti abortion men decided to stage their own protest. Though, of course, that would be an inappropriate thing to do at a school, right?]
The town centre currently has a cool art display, with 20 life-like statues of Indiana people going about their daily life: playing tennis, eating ice cream, tending to plants. But one statue shows a modern-day man standing next to Abraham Lincoln. Which seems a bit out of kilter with the others. Abe is holding out his hat and the man is fixated on it. As if the hat is the remarkable part of this scenario.
Yeah, mate. Itâ€™s a weird old-time hat. But thatâ€™s Abraham Lincoln. Risen from the grave. Make the most of it. You donâ€™t know how long this incredible spectral visit will last. Ask him some questions. Show him around. If you delay you might not have time to take the zombie President to your lazy field of abortion memorial.
First impressions of Warsaw were somewhat mind-blowing, but were they representative? Find out next week!
My new hero is Cato Berntsen Larsen, a Norwegian man whose friend dropped his mobile phone into a public toilet. Cato climbed through the loo-bum-hole to retrieve it from the burgeoning shit-tank below. Then, like the two old ladies of legend, got stuck down the lavatory and had to be rescued by firemen. He didnâ€™t even find the phone.
The real question is who drops their phone into a massive pool of excrement and thinks â€œHey, Iâ€™m gonna need that back!â€? With friends like theseâ€¦