Apr 26, 2017 · Unlisted

Brace yourself Tiffin, I’m coming for a visit. What shall I do while I’m there?

TripAdvisor has a number of suggestions, from Italian Renaissance appreciation at The Ritz to “Good times at the drive-in!”, but first I’ll have to check in at my parents’ house. They’re cheaper than a hotel, and pleased to offer DIY room service. I might even mow the lawn, if my father will allow me on the riding mower with a British license.

Next stop will be Kroger’s for authentic American food. We have Pop-Tarts, too, as they’re lovingly shipped thousands of miles to fans across the globe, but they taste sweeter closer to the source. I will also seek root beer. Incredibly, not all countries have a proper appreciation for this elixir, which flows from the fountain of youth itself.

My first full day of sightseeing should include the new Joint Justice Center-to-be. My good friend Prince Charles, a well-known critic of modern architecture, asked me to stage a belated protest that the creaky old courthouse was demolished. “I’m creaky and old too,” he wailed. “Will they be coming for me next?” I’ll be wearing a Prince Charles mask for added authenticity and carrying a sign saying “Down with this sort of thing.”

(A small confession: I don’t actually know the Prince of Wails, and don’t even have a mask, though they’re available in the finer tourist shops. Perhaps I should buy one to help me get through airport security faster.

Also, I hold no strong views on the Justice Center other than that the statue of William Harvey Gibson out front be carefully mothballed, or better yet, given to the Civil War Museum down the street, seeing as he was a veteran. I suggest it then be replaced with a full-size likeness of Donald Trump, if only to provide valuable practice for advanced students of the nearby Tiffin Academy of Hair Design. The resident president would provide hours of free entertainment as passers-by stop and give him a piece of their mind. Birds will like him, too.

Later when he’s no longer in office it can be donated to the Civil War Museum as well, which might be appropriate because I think we’re about due for another one.)

Speaking of history, for old times’ sake I’d like to sit in on a class at my high school. I even wrote to the principal, who passed my request to the superintendent. Alas permission was denied, ostensibly for sensible reasons. I think they were suspicious that it sounded too much like a reverse prison break. Sorry, Columbian, this will affect my review on TripAdvisor.

If I had a hammer…

At least the stadium is open to the public. Though I wasn’t much of an athlete, once upon a time I did manage to leap off the earth, and doubtless aided by the planet’s rotation, land further away than anybody else that day, winning a blue ribbon for my effort. Haven’t had much call for long jumping since then, admittedly.

My athletic pursuits will be limited to pedalling my bike up the hill at Hedges-Boyer park — honk if you see me accidentally riding on the left — and mall walking. I’ll even give my mother a head start.

I expect I’ll be cruising the usual memory lanes. Probably best to refrain from asking to do my old paper route, as for years afterwards I woke up in a cold sweat, terrified I’d forgotten to make my deliveries.

“Home will infect whatever you do,” sang David Byrne. I can testify that it still infects my iPod. [Historical note: iPods are what people listened to after Walkmans and before smartphones. Some of us remain stuck in the past.]

Every hometown comes with a soundtrack of your own personal oldies. Mine includes Bob Seger getting dirty looks for walking into bars with long hair, REO Speedwagon rollin’ with the changes, and Don McLean waving bye bye to Miss American Pie.

Soon enough I’ll be leaving again on a jet plane, making sure to save room in my baggage for souvenirs. What to bring? A carefully wrapped objet d’art from the Glass Museum shop? Dental floss for my wife? (Not technically a souvenir: she can’t find floss she likes in the entirety of the United Kingdom.) How about a mask of Mayor Montz? It wouldn’t be suitable for hallowe’en, as he looks far too cheerful to scare kids. He can join Prince Charles and me for tea.


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