Let's face it, most people don't know many Romanians.
Whenever somebody needs a Romanian they call me.
You would be amazed how many things people need Romanians for. An attorney in Minneapolis needs a Romanian to certify that certain people speaking a strange language outside her door are actually Romanians. A man in Putney, Vermont, has discovered a stash of love betters between a strange man and his Yankee grandmother, written in a language he believes to be Romanian. A bibliophile in Indiana has come across a volume of what he believes is very valuable Romanian poetry that needs to be urgently translated.
Then there are the people who for one reason or another are going to Romania and want to know if they still use Kent cigarettes instead of money over there, and whether they should take anything else with them except cigarettes.
A lady in Queens is worried about her daughter who is going on a bicycling trip through the Carpathian mountains in Romania. Are there still pogroms?
Of course, not everyone's need for a Romanian is entirely frivolous. Another attorney (this time in Boston) wants to know if I can come to a hearing to testify that there is still political persecution in Romania. One of her clients has applied for political asylum. There is, I tell her, and there is also persecution of Romanians by telephone. Who will defend me when I apply to an asylum?
Often, there are touching people. The deliriously happy parents of adopted Romanian orphans are having a picnic in a park in Rhode Island. Can I come? Sure, I mean after all, I am everywhere. You can hear me right in your home.
Today I got a letter from a man in St. Louis who told me about a wonderful woman named Maggie Doroscan who, abandoned by her husband in southern rural Missouri, raised 10 children (including three adopted ones) on $500 a month and food stamps. Didn't just raise them, raised them good, and was given an award by the Christian school where she helps out. Could I help her write her life story? She also writes poetry -- in English. I can't do the life story, but here is some of her poetry:
Like these waves
it's our life.
She move, she move.
And I feel happy
If she stop.
I know just what you mean, Maggie.
Andrei Codrescu is editor of Exquisite Corpse.