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A Town that Lived Up to Its Name?

A TOWN THAT LIVED UP TO ITS NAME?My medical degrees from California Beach University must still be in the post - it was 'buy one, get one free', so I'm also a qualified hairdresser.  I've often wondered how that works with other products.  If you claim a refund on the first dishwasher, do you get to keep the free one?

Dean, whom I met outside the building, told me that Beach provided distance learning, with no actual attendance required, and he could enrol me "on the sidewalk," which was cheaper (a mere 100 dollars paid immediately) without forfeiting the 2-for-1 offer described above.  My Registration Certificate - "A Certificate already!" enthused Dean - was impressively decorated with a drawing of a surfboard.  I saw that I had been inducted as an undergraduate in Succour College, a helpful-sounding department of CBU, as we graduates call it.

david aitkenBut I digress.  You don't need a medical degree to work out that the primary purpose of viruses is to replicate, to make a copy of themselves, a bit like many humans hope to do.  All viruses are built of the same stuff.  On the outside they wear a protein coat, under which is the genetic code for the virus.  A mere 30 thousand letters, compared to the average postman's 40 thousand letters a year, plus circulars and compulsory invitations to jury duty.  I was once granted exemption after claiming to support Dundee United Football Club, clear evidence of a serious lack of judicial ability. 

Viruses require a recipe to fulfil their evil ambitions, they can't do it themselves, and with 3 billion letters in the human genome, they hardly need to bring their own bottle, the host has sufficient supplies to get the party started, with apologies to Shirley Bassey.

Mentioning bottles and parties reminds me that a recent birthday gift from a friend was a quart of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Sippin' Whiskey, although personally I've never been one to sip any brand when there's an e in the whisky.  I gathered from the label that Mr Daniel was mayor of Lynchburg, population 361, except when the mayor was out of town.

Lynchburg sounds rather sinister, with its one traffic light, but was actually named for Judge Lynch, a fine upstanding citizen and a pillar of the community, who was a friend to all men, although he would hang you as soon as look at you if you crossed him.  He was later hanged himself as it happened, and the name just sort of stuck.

The distiller Jack Daniel, who was born and died in Lynchburg, seems a more admirable sort of person to name a town after.  Although I'm guessing 'Danieltown' wouldn't have been such a commercially viable option as the location for the world's best-selling whiskey, which Jack Daniel's is.  Bizarrely, Lynchburg is in a dry county.  Even stranger, in 1998 Frank Sinatra was buried with a bottle of Jack Daniel's beside him.  I wonder how much is left in the bottle by now. 

Life sometimes seems like a series of liquid containers, starting with our baby bottle and (for my generation) bottles of school milk, before we moved on to Coca-Cola and later graduated to drinks made with fennel and other medicinal and culinary herbs.  Very well, call it absinthe if you must.  And what are our present-day phials of vaccine, if not tiny bottles?

Talking of graduating, I have just heard the sound of something dropping through my letterbox.  It's probably my Doctorate from the North Korean School of Bakery.  Special subject, Waffling.       


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