The Pope and I

Well, I just got back from “Roma”. My reason for going was to interview the Pope, but I kept getting side-tracked every time I stepped out from my “apartmento” onto the cobblestones of those famous Roman “vias”.
(Yes, as you can see, I picked up some “Italiano” while I was there. I was hoping to become proficient in Latin, too, so that I could better communicate with His Holiness. I never got the hang of it, however).

When I first set out for Vatican City, I immediately had an overpowering craving for some “espresso”. This urge repeated itself many times during the day, waning only in the late afternoon, when it was replaced by a craving for some “vino”. There’s something about the atmosphere there, because I also found myself constantly hungry. Fortunately, restaurants and gelato shops were everywhere.

The Euro is pegged to the Martian dollar, which put a big crimp in my spending. On a trip to the “Campo di Fiori”, a well-known open-air market I visited in the hope of purchasing food at a reasonable price, I bought an onion for $9. Do you think $9 is too much to pay for an Italian onion? I do.

There were other distractions, including countless sculptures, paintings, and ancient churches, of which there must be thousands. Each church has it’s own charming beggar at the door, often a pitiful woman dressed in rags. I persuaded one of them to pose for my camera, resulting in this heart-rending video.

In the excitement of filming, my wallet somehow disappeared from my hip-pocket, so I had no money to give her for her efforts. She was quite gracious about it, however, leaving me with a cheery “Sempliciotto, fesso!” I must look that phrase up.

A huge distraction was the Pantheon, an ancient, domed building originally devoted to many religions, but now with a strong bias toward Catholicism. It was very impressive except for a huge hole in the roof. One wonders why this was never repaired? Perhaps it was designed intentionally as some sort of architectural metaphor for organized religion in general. Just one of many mysteries I encountered while in “Italia”.

I also stumbled across many museums, monuments, and fountains. Here I point out one of the famous landmarks of the area.

To my great disappointment, the Pope never returned my repeated phone calls. Perhaps my trip was ill-timed for a visit with His Holiness. Easter is a busy time for him, no doubt, what with all the ceremonies connected with this important holiday, including preparations for the annual Papal Easter-Egg hunt there on the Piazza di San Pietro. He and his staff must have been quite busy coloring eggs, etc. While attempting to visit him in person, I was urged by several large men in black to move on. They even suggested that I might go further and leave the country, as there was no hope of gaining my objective there.

Sadly, it appears we may never know the Pope’s thoughts on the ancient art of magazine cartooning.

And so, I was forced to bid “arrividerci ” to “Roma”.

And now, also, to you, “Caro Lettore”.



  1. Jed says:

    Hi man, this was very funny. Next time come and visit Bologna, promised I can give your 10c back and introduce you to some bishops.


  2. felipe says:

    Ciao Mick,

    Bellisimo report from the Eternal City.
    Well, in case you don’t know, the Pope is coming to DC and New York in April, perhaps to drop some cartoons at the New Yorker. While in town he’ll celebrate mass at Yankee Stadium. Steinbrenner needs all the help he can get.
    You went all the way to Rome and finding out you couldn’t reach him now he’s paying you a visit. That is called a “miracolo” or miracle.
    Say hi to Sofia Loren, hope she still remembers me.

    Signore Feggo

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