"In France," a young and beautiful Joni Mitchell once sang, "they kiss on Main Street."
They also shit and piss freely in the alleyways, but no one writes songs about it. No one wants to see.
In France, the celebrated cafes and bistros serve rotted fish heads with cream of maggot soup. It is nothing like the illustrious paradise depicted in magazines, brochures, film and television. It is not a hallmark of grace where each young American can come and loss his or herself, for just a moment, into the woodwork of the Old World.
In France, it is a continual war zone. A young Frenchman with a pencil-thin mustache and a beret (all Frenchmen have pencil-thin mustaches and berets. Just as all French women have hairy armpits and bushes. This much holds true.) hoists a bazooka atop his shoulder and blasts apart a storefront window. Hairy naked French women squeal with glee, like wood nymphs, and rush into the store and grab long loafs of bread, bottles of wine and elegant cigarette holders.
In France, they keep tight lips about what really happens. In France, they do well by lying to those who want to be lied to, who are easy to lie to.
And young, beautiful Americans continue writing songs. Restless students, drunk with their own wanderlust and daydream, continue clutching their brochures and magazines amorously. Continue visiting the bistros, savoring the richness of the soup. Continue skiing the Alps, until they hit a rock, and fall down and die. Then they float a million miles through space into Heaven where they are greeted by God, Jesus, the apostles and the living dead.