The Pitti Palace

Florence, May 2017

….. ….. “There’s nothing here,” says the guy in front of me
in the ticket line to his wife, who clearly wants to go in,
….. ….. though he doesn’t. He’d probably rather eat
….. a pizza or a bowl of pasta somewhere so he can complain

….. ….. when he’s back home that there’s nothing to eat in Italy
but pizza and pasta, whereas there is, in addition
….. ….. to the chicken, pork, and beef you find
….. everywhere, rabbit, duck, pheasant, and wild boar as well as

Bernardo Buontalenti

………. Students say they can’t tell the difference between irony
and sarcasm, but I can. Irony is when Barbara hands me
………. a jar of pickles and says, “I need a big strong man
to open this for me” when she knows I’m not a big
………. strong man at all, just myself. And at times like these,

………. she is very likely to further the compliment by calling me
“Davide Buontalenti” or “David Goodtalents” after
………. Bernardo Buontalenti, the Renaissance stage designer,
architect, theatrical designer, military engineer, artist,
………. mechanic, and mathematician, and this, too, is irony,

A Gawky Girl with Braces

She and her mom are having breakfast at the Courtyard Marriott
………….in Hattiesburg, MS, and just as I walk in, I see Billy Collins
at a table by himself, so I walk up and say, “How are you today,

Billy?” and he says, “Never better” and gestures to the empty chair,
………….so I get my raisin bran and sit down, and I notice that every time
someone walks by and asks Billy how he’s doing, he always says,

“Never better,” which seems to cheer everyone up, so I resolve
………….to do the same from now on, and as we’re eating, Billy tells me that,
at the height of Charlie Chaplin’s fame, there were all these Charlie