Monday, February 12, 2007


Approaching this Pacific island nation from the air, one is immediately struck by its obvious similarity to Venice. Yes, I gazed out the window of the aircraft to behold a land below crisscrossed by canals. And the gondoliers, bumper-to-bumper, were like matchstick men battling it out with their long poles.

“Strange indeed,” thought I. Yet stranger things awaited me upon my arrival.

You see, in Pontitunia, there is no particular point to living. Each day is just another big jostle amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life. In this way it is much like Italian culture. In fact, some say that the island’s king – the Pontiff – shipwrecked here long ago trying to find his way back to Italy and decided to stay. His progeny would populate the island to its bursting point, until the canals were finally needed just as the land – to live in – if you call that kind of life “living.”

The islanders went through stages in their development. For many years they went about on odd contraptions called pontoons (thus, the origin of their name). And for a while they manufactured Pontiacs. But, by and by, they struck upon the idea of recreating a Venetian (or some would say “Venusian”) sort of land of canals and gondolas, as it appears today.

Soon I had the opportunity of touring this place of big mustachioed men in their brightly striped shirts. Our tour guide, Pontius Pilate, showed us around, occasionally bopping one or two of these fellows on the head as he glided us about like a pro. He told us that they needed an occasional poke, as the most common preoccupation of the people here was a kind of contemplation they called “pondering.” It was commonly done by letting one’s mind wander while floating aimlessly on what the locals refer to as “ponds” (but which really are canals). It seemed ironic that the place had canals at all – usually we think of Mars has having canals.

Anyway, after the tour I crossed the Ponte Vechionia looking for a good hotel. I was looking forward to having a delicious lunch. Their specialty here was a fricasseed tuna. The air was lovely. It was early Spring. Along the street were flower boxes – overflowing with, what else? – portulacas.

My lunch turned out to be every bit as delicious as I had imagined it would be. Yes, this was a trip of a lifetime. I had always fantasized about flying to Pontitunia for lunch. Now I had to hurry back to the airstrip for my flight home.

While I waited in the airline ticket line to get my boring pass back to Normativia, there was a buzz in the air. Apparently an even greater invention was about to be released – unparalleled since the discovery of the Pontiac. Someone on the island was perfecting a new music device called an ipod. I couldn’t imagine what this could be.

Ah me! What a crazy day it had been on this fantasy island! But rather than go on, I must punt – you’ll just have to come here yourself someday.

And then, with that thought lingering on my mind, I fell into a deep sleep.

Colesville, MD