Downtown Diary 


My best friend David and I were sitting in a downtown park devoted to militarism. “According to Jane’s Military Parks and Monuments of the World 2003,” David said, “Indianapolis has the highest number of military parks and monuments in the world, per capita and per square mile.” “That does not surprise me,” I said, rubbing my eyes. “But I’ve always wondered if that was a result of sycophantic militarism among the populace or simple lack of imagination on the part of the leadership, so called, of this city.” “Good question,” David said. “I daresay both.” Roosevelt, with whom I’d become acquainted on the steps of the main library before that area’s gradual economic cleansing began a few years ago, came limping along. I noticed a thick belt around his waist and a thick strap around his right thigh, the two joined together by a cable; as he walked, the leg swung like a pendulum. Its movement was metronomically regular, and in time with the blinking of his eyes. “What is that contraption on your leg?” I asked. “I had hip replacement surgery, and the hip kept popping out, so this is the solution,” he said, chuckling and blinking. My mind was briefly dazzled by the idea that a cable was holding his leg onto his body. A child threw a rock at a statue of a hero. A starling flew overhead. “Ech,” David sputtered, “I feel so blah. Life under the junta really has me down.” “I know,” I agreed. “Lately I’ve been afflicted with malaise, anomie and ennui.” “Shhhh! Don’t talk so loud!” Roosevelt whispered. “I hear that using those French words will earn you a one-way trip to the gulag!”

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