Sin… Surprise…

There’s a town in the old mid-west – that’s out there in the US of A, y’all – called Surprise.

They say it’s called Surprise because the founders would be surprised if it ever became more than the meagre scrabblings it began life as. They’d be surprised if that one-horse town, little more than a one-trick pony, would grow from a few houses, a post office and a saloon – complete with swinging doors fitted to an entrance big enough to accommodate your stetson, your gunbelt and your swagger – into a thriving metropolis.

I’ve never been, so I can’t comment. The Surprised, as I’d guess the residents of such a place might be called, may believe their beloved town has reached the heady heights of city-hood. They may believe it hasn’t changed at all and that one horse should have been taken out back and shot, the remains being dragged off to the glue factory. Then, at least, it would be worth something.

My own place of birth, which may aspire to being more than a mere town – although its true title is Great Grimsby but it still has ‘Town’ in the name of its football team – began as the refuge for a Danish prince and his protector. It became one of the biggest fishing ports in the world. But that was then and this is now. The people of Grimsby, joined so closely with the resort of Cleethorpes they could be Siamese Twins that could scratch each others’ backsides without even moving off the sofa, either think it’s an OK place to live or it’s a hole in the ground that forgot to swallow. Or they don’t think anything at all and simply exist.

I suppose that’s the same anywhere. It’s great, it’s OK, it’s a dump… or it just is.

Anywhere, of course, except here.

The asylum.

Dr. Connors’ personal Paradise.

The residents’ private Purgatory.

I can’t say it’s a dump. It’s not. It’s fastidiously clean. It’s so crispy white you could cut your eyes if you looked up too quickly. But the food is slop. The orderlies – most of them anyway – are arrogant or apathetic. And Connors reigns supreme.

So it’s not a dump, but it’s not OK and it’s certainly not ‘great’.

Its founding father didn’t hope to turn the one-trick pony into a thoroughbred racehorse, nor was he protecting the heir to a foreign throne. He wanted to help, to cure… no, he wanted to dominate. The latter, though, doesn’t appear in the ads.

The asylum, the institute, the home away from anywhere and everywhere – home away from hope – isn’t anything really.

It just is.

Why am I not Surprised?

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