Yesterday I had lunch with someone who has just come back from Phoenix, Arizona.
“I read a while ago that it was the fastest-growing city in the US,” I told her, “but that it is a hell-hole and you can’t go outside comfortably because of the heat.”
“It was very hot,” she agreed. “They have a new law on the statute books which makes it illegal to fry eggs on the sidewalk any more.”
She swore this was true.
What fascinated me was the phrase “any more” and the fact that such a law might be necessary: that it had become so prevalent it was a problem.
In the 1980s, as far as I am aware, it was still illegal under the law of England and Wales for young adult males NOT to practice archery every Sunday (presumably in case the French invaded or the English monarch decided to invade France)… and it was illegal to celebrate Christmas (under an un-repealed Cromwellian law). As far as I know, it still is.
The mis-named English justice system is constantly fascinating.
Last week, I read in the London edition of Metro newspaper that Westminster Magistrates’ Court had given a 20-year-old man a £745 fine and imposed a curfew on him because he had been staying in a hotel and had “emerged from a cupboard naked, with a fire hose up his bottom”.
The 20-year-old man was said by his lawyer to be “truly ashamed of himself”. This sounds unlikely. He will presumably be bought free drinks by his friends for the next ten years.
The Metro report did not specify the exact law under which the man had been prosecuted. Can there really be a specific law prohibiting people being naked with a fire hose up their bottom?
Life is a constant mystery.
But one mystery has been cleared up.
Yesterday, I wrote that this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith had told me that her sister’s visit to Guatemala had resulted in three children and her (the sister) becoming an Anglican priest.
I wanted – I think not unreasonably – to know more details.
These have been forthcoming.
Anna tells me:
“Twenty five years ago, my sister met a cute Guatemalan refugee at Saigon Palace – a Vietnamese restaurant on Spadina Avenue in Toronto. They married and soon had three children. My Guatemalan in-laws were very happy when they found out I had been involved with British comedy – In particular, they were desperate to know if I had met ‘Benny Eel’.
“My new Guatemalan extended family also enjoyed visiting the Natural History Museum in Toronto. When we walked past the taxidermied displays of jungle animals, they said: Yummy Yummy… Remember when we ate that anteater in Rio Bravo? and Look – a sloth! Remember when Auntie cooked us some sloth stew?…
“Then suddenly (well, after eight years at the UBC Theology School), my sister became an Anglican priest.
“She moved to a village high in the Guatemalan mountains. After years of being shot at during anti-mining demonstrations, she decided to return to Canada and has been installed in a church in New Westminster, close to where the recent Godzilla movie was filmed. She has recently completed a book about the evils of the Canadian mining industry in Guatemala and sat as a judge in some genocide trials.”
“Good heavens!” I said. “Genocide trials in Canada?”
“In Mexico City, I think,” replied Anna.”I will have to ask… She was a witness of a lot of exhumed bodies…”
Some answers just create more questions.