Today we meet our French Foreign Exchange Student, or FFES. Bone juray! Bienvenuto de Minneapolis!
We want to show her all of Minnesota’s glories, but you have to admit: If you were inclined to mischief, you could really distort someone’s impression of Minneapolis.
“We’re going to Target, pronounced ‘Targ-Ette,’ as in a small targ. There are two doors, and you must choose — gauche pour food, the droite for les garments. If you do not leave by the same door you entered, you cannot return for 48 hours.
“Everything in the store is red, because it was founded by Communists.
“Oh, the bridges in the city between downtown buildings? They are called the Air Roads. The river — it’s spelled MissississippippiX, but the X is silent — the river floods every August. Some people want to get rid of the Air Roads, because they think people should be outside, swimming, for the sake of a lively city.
“Let’s take the light rail to see a baseball game! It is a slow sport we Minnesotans use to meditate. We have a pitcher named Olaf DiMaggio, and he never loses. If he does not pitch tonight, though, we will lose.
“On the way we will pass the U.S. Bank Stadium, or the VousBank, as you would call it until you are familiar with it, and then it is the TuBank. That is the home of the Viqueens, named after your Nordic neighbors. You know about them, right? The legendary warriors whose hated rivals were the Bay people of Greenland? They will be at the Super Bowl this year — watching from the stands.
“This is the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Like your Louvre, it was once home to a royal family. You had the Bourbons; we had the Pillsburys. They called themselves the Doughboys, and they went off to World War I; they were missing in action, hence the name MIA you see everywhere.
“And finally, this is the famous Nicollet Mall, named after a Frenchman, Harvey Nicollet. We pronounce it Nic-o-let because we are barbarians who eat white bread and drink wine from boxes. As you can tell, it has been restored to its original condition, when it was a rutted mud road.
“That statue? That is Mary Tyler Moore, a lady from pioneer days. She threw her hat in the air to signal the start of a land rush. Settlers flowed west from this spot. The French immigrants went the farthest and founded St. Cloud, the patron saint of weather forecasts. We pray to him on Memorial Day, July 4th and our Day of Labor, so named because no one works.”
Tempting, but wrong. Payback for the Parisian who gave us wrong directions on purpose, but wrong.