NOT FAR FROM where I live there’s a neighbourhood called “Little Malta.” And in the Little Malta neighbourhood, there’s a travel agency with posters in the windows promoting travel to—you guessed it—Malta. I used to chuckle when I passed the Little Malta travel agency, not because I think there’s something wrong with Malta. More like I don’t think very much of anything about Malta. I mean, apart from Maltesians and Maltaphiles and Maltists, if those are even words, who does?
It’s not like you ever find yourself saying, “boy I could really go for some Malta food right now” or “hey, are those shoes Malta leather?” There’s no Malta furniture store megachain where you go to buy a Fnurshutt for your dorm and eat the supercheap meatballs, and no Maltafest where you drink a lot of beer and sing nostalgic songs about the glorious Malta past. (Psst, that’s a hint for you people in the Malta beer industry, if you are out there.) Gee whiz, what exactly have those folks been up to, all these years?
I got thinking about this, and my theory now is that this is all part of a devious Malta strategy. It makes perfect sense. What you do is, you put up a bunch of ads about Malta, showing airplanes flying into the sky, but you don’t say anything about what Malta is, or has, or does. And let me tell you, it works.
Do more than two out of ten people even know where Malta is? (Hidden away, in the Mediterranean.) I doubt it, and in retrospect it’s now obvious to me that these sneaky Malta folks are exploiting this fact to the hilt. Man, are they crafty.
How can there even be a Little Malta? Have you ever seen big Malta on a map? It’s teeny-tiny, probably about the size of a 1958 Buick. A for-reals “little” Malta would fit into a Fossil Estate charcoal grey plaid duffle bag, which is available at many fine shops and would make a super gift for a writer in your life. After you put in Malta, there’d be enough room left over for a 1.14 litre of Johnnie Walker Black—so you may as well throw that in, too.
Darn it if the strategy isn’t making me crazy. Now when I go to Little Malta, that travel agency has my full attention. Little Malta is like a secret bar that only the hipsters know about, and even though I hate to admit it, knowing that there’s a secret bar, but not knowing where it is, is a total drag. There’s so much about Malta that I don’t know, in case you hadn’t noticed. It’s a complete mystery. What do they even call themselves in Malta? I’m pretty sure the word is Maltese. This must have something to do with the Maltese Falcon, right?
I don’t even know what a Maltese Falcon is, exactly, but now I find myself wanting to go into the shops of Little Malta to ask if they have any. Then I’d buy one and just drop the fact that I had a Maltese Falcon into casual conversation, pretty much every chance I got.
“So I was looking at my Maltese Falcon the other day, when the phone rang. And it was a Globe and Mail telemarketer trying to sell me a subscription. Sheesh!”
“Did you say you have a Maltese Falcon?”
“I dunno, did I? Hm.”
Somewhere there is a profound life lesson to be drawn from this whole Malta thing, like maybe I should be more mysterious and secretive and hang out in the middle of a sea somewhere and not tell anyone why I’m doing it and what I’m up to. Instead of wasting my time writing this stuff, I could just have a blank website that says “Read Wayne’s Blog,” and then let your imagination fill that blank website with the most twisted stuff imaginable, like the twisted stuff that I now think when I go to Little Malta. And let’s face it, you’re up to the challenge: because if you’re coming to my website, you’re 100% for certain twisted. Sorry, just is.
That’s all fine and good, but the truth is I don’t know if I’ll ever go to Malta, because I’ve had this whole experience before—you know, the experience where you build something up in your mind, and then when you finally see it in person it’s nothing at all like you expected. So, for example, in my mind Malta is a land of giant falcons and impossibly beautiful people and buildings that float in the sky. Whereas I’m worried that in reality it’s just the place where Maltesers come from, and although they cost ten cents less when you buy them in Malta, getting to Malta costs thousands of dollars, so it’s a lousy trade-off unless you buy more than 10,000 bags. Which obviously I would, because a principle is a principle.
Or maybe Malta is as great as my imagination says it is. The only way to be sure is to have some Maltese read this, get really angry at me, and teach me a lesson by sending me to the beaches of Malta for at least two weeks, all expenses paid. That would show me.