I may not be clued in to pop culture, but I do pay attention to wacky bumperstickers and strange names. I was in the so-sedate state of Wisconsin last weekend and noticed these places along the highway, a little before the Cheese Castle:

7 Mile Motel
Dead End Saloon

Don’t names like that belong in Nevada or Montana? And a trio of bumperstickers that would look right at home in Massachusetts:

“God is too big to fit into any one religion”
“Where is the FUN in fundamentalism?”
“I support the separation of Church and Hate”

Isn’t it curious, the way states have reputations? I wrote above that Wisconsin is sedate, but now remember that I have a colleague and friend who doesn’t fit that description, at least after business hours. A couple of years ago I was conscious that in many parts of the country what Massachusetts had come to mean was gay marriage. And even on this trip to Wisconsin, I wondered when the woman I bought cheese and sausages from said, with an intake of breath, “Oh, from Massachusetts!”

karen christensen's corona typewriter on t s eliot's desk

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