Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? Entry #19

June 15th, 2009 by Wordsman


“Feast your eyes upon that, Matthew!  Can you believe it?  We’re here!  We’re really here!  The City of Lights!  The City that Never Sleeps!  It’s been called both the Forbidden City and the Queen of the Adriatic!  This is the oldest city in the world.  It’s almost TWO THOUSAND years old!  Can you even imagine that?  And of course, the world’s oldest city is also its biggest.  There are more people here than in London, Paris, and Moscow combined.  It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it?  We’re certainly not in Kansas anymore, I can tell you that.

“But that’s not what’s really important.  After all, we didn’t travel thirty thousand miles just to quote a bunch of statistics, right Matthew?  All that’s just the backdrop for the real reason we came here: adventure.  I mean, when you think about it, it only makes sense.  With all that history there must have been tons of interesting things that happened here over the years.  No one even knows just how many wild stories have been created in this amazing place.  And that’s not all in the past, no sir, don’t you even think that for a second.  A city like this can’t decline like that.  That’s just not the way things work.  Nope, there’s just as much excitement and intrigue here as there always has been, and it’s enough to make those posers like New York and Chicago look like those innocent little villages where everyone knows each other’s name and they’re all inbred and such.  This is the true city of mystery.  That’s what we’re here to find.

“So this is it, Matthew.  The big one.  Rome.”

Matthew sighed.  Matthew sighed often.  He could no longer remember if he had always been such a prolific sigher, or if it was only since he met Jack.  Then, because Jack was observing a rare moment of silence for the sake of their glorious surroundings and because Matthew was not sure where to begin with the forest of errors that had marred his friend’s little speech, he sighed again.  “Actually,” he muttered, “we’re in Vatican City.”

“Oh?”  The viewing platform at the top of St. Peter’s Basilica was packed with tourists, most of whom were carrying on conversations in a variety of different languages, so an uneducated observer might have thought that it was impossible for Jack to have heard what his friend just said.  What that uneducated observer would be unaware of, however, is the fact that they had been friends for so long that they had become almost supernaturally attuned to one another.  One of the benefits of this attunement was that Jack was able to pick out the unique frequency of Matthew’s low, somber tones no matter how much background noise was around to interfere.

“That’s even better!” Jack declared triumphantly a few moments later.  He never let being wrong slow him down for very long.  Jack made mistakes frequently, and he was well aware of this fact.  He also knew that everyone, even a genius, can and does make mistakes.  One of the core principles of his philosophy of life was based on the fact that, while being wrong is unavoidable, if one is able to keep moving quickly enough, then one is at least never wrong for any great length of time.

“Don’t you see?  Vatican City is the headquarters of the Catholic Church.  Always has been, always will be.  They say that Jesus himself started building the city—he was a carpenter, you know—back in the Middle Ages, when he wasn’t busy curing the Black Death and whatnot.  Now, that may not be entirely true, but think about it for a second.  If the truth is even one-quarter of the rumor it would still be pretty damn impressive, don’t you think?  And believe me, there’s plenty more stories where that came from.

“Of course, everyone knows that the Catholic Church is also the most secretive religion on Earth.  Who can guess how many secrets have been sealed within these hallowed walls?  Millions?  Billions?  Like when they pick a new pope, for example.  All the priests and bishops and cardinals and what have you from all over the world come here to this very church to make the decision.  The guards shut and lock the doors, and then they’re trapped in there for weeks, months, sometimes even years, unable to leave or have any contact with the outside world whatsoever until they choose the next leader of their church.  No one knows how they do it.  Is it a battle of wits?  A fight to the death?  Or the greatest rock-paper-scissors tournament of all time?  The new pope swears them all to secrecy, so even after they leave they can’t tell a single soul, living or dead, what goes on in there.  Can you imagine what it would be like to be the first outsiders to discover the truth?  Doesn’t the awesome power of that revelation rock you to your very core?

“See, I read in this book once . . .”

Matthew sighed again.  He had an extremely expressive sigh.  No one could hear it without being moved to reflection and sadness.  No one, of course, except Jack.

“Can we get down from here now?” Matthew asked quietly, when the story of alien abductions and long-lost identical twins reached a point where he could interrupt.  He was not normally afraid of heights, but Jack was in one of his dramatic gesturing moods, and the crowded balcony did not leave him any room to dodge.

“Huh?” Jack asked, glancing at his watch.  “You’re right!” he declared.  “We have so much more to do.  We can’t afford to waste any more time here.

“Just you wait,” Jack said as they descended the awkward, zigzagging staircase on the inside of the dome.  “Something’s going to happen to us.  Something amazing.  Something you never even thought was possible.  I guarantee it.  Rome?  Vatican City?  Whatever it is, I won’t let it let us down.”

Posted in Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words? | 1 Comment »

One Response

  1. A Fan Says:

    I’m not sure about the grammar of this sentence: “He also knew that everyone, even geniuses, can and does make mistakes”

    I guess “everyone” agrees with “does,” but then shouldn’t it be “a genius,” rather than “geniusies”?

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