Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Rome Journal: Fontana di Merda
Rome is famous for its fountains amongst them of the Trevi (the sight of a famous plunge by Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni inLa Dolce Vita),
the Fontana delle Tartarughe in the Piazza Mattei, and the Fontana dei Quattro
Fiumi in the Piazza Navona. But there’s another kind of fountain that can be
ubiquitous in Rome depending on the season, and that’s the fountain created by
gastroenteritis and that can be located by listening to the moans coming from
behind doors of hotel rooms occupied by tourists to the city. When these waters
are sprouting, in their Piazza da Toletta, a more apt comparison might be made comparison to Mount Vesuvius.
In Mexico a related syndrome is known as Montezuma’s Revenge. This has been a
bad winter for stomach ailments and one wonders what the effect on the
restaurant business has been. Apart from the antiquities one of the reasons one
comes to Rome is for the food and there's nothing worse than finding yourself
both lacking an appetite and unable to keep the little that you can eat down.
No one comes to Rome to eat slices of white toast which is about all that the
body can manage when it’s struck by a stomach virus or infection. Fitzgerald
famously said “in a real dark night of the soul, it’s always 3 o’clock in the
morning.” But the quotation might be better applied to the intestines. The
presence of the Vatican, by the way, is no bromide. You can pray all you like,
but vomiting and diarrhea can take on a life of their own and this is one
plague that might make even God throw his or her hands up in despair.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.