A famous transvestite, who I plan on eventually marrying should my stalking techniques one day prove effective, once summarized the American view of the European lifestyle with the following quote – “You think we all live in castles. And we do all live in castles. We’ve got a castle each. We’re up to here with fucking castles. We just long for a bungalow colony.” Well, I visited Scotland over my mid-term break and I can tell you this much, kiddies, it’s true. They really do have a castle each. Every town seemed to have one, if not three or four castles. In fact, there are so many castles that they stop being an element of fantasy and just become a bit of annoyance. You can tell even the locals got annoyed at the castles because a lot of them are now in a state of decay, not because of fires, wars or natural disasters, but because the townspeople – who must have been very cold, very homeless and more than a little ticked off that all the stones in the local areas were being used for yet another bloody castle rather than, you know, houses – got so fed up with the castles that they just started taking the stones out of them and putting them in their walls and roofs. That must have been a scene right out of Monty Python. “Excuse me, Mr. Peasant, but do you mind enlightening me as to the reasons for which you are currently demolishing the base of my castle?” “It was annoying me, and we don’t need one more bloody castle.” “Oh. Right. Then go ahead.”While in Edinburgh, we went on a City of the Dead Tour, stopping at all the sights that the city has to offer, watching out for ghosts and flying poo, because apparently college kids like to imitate the medieval practice of throwing poo out the window onto tourists. One of the stops was in the famed Edinburgh graveyard, the wall around which used to be the city wall. This wall was built over a period of 10 years to keep out the English forces. Now, I’ve never really understood the concept of walls. First of all, aside from the Great Wall of China, when have they ever really worked as more than an annoyance? Did attackers ever begin their invasion of a town only to see a wall and think, “Oh no, there’s a wall, now we’ll have to get out ropes to go over them. Eh, too much effort, forget it.” Furthermore, what is the invading force doing while the enemy constructs the wall? Sitting around, drinking tea? Apparently this is exactly what the English did while the Scottish constructed the Edinburgh city wall. They sat around for 10 years and watched while the Scottish labored to keep them out. Finally, this grand engineering feat was fully constructed – surely a formidable and intimidating sight to see. The English looked at their watches, which were surely digital at that point, wondered if the Scottish could have possibly taken any longer to fortify their city and devised a grand plan to get past the wall. The plan was perhaps the most intricate in all of military history. In the middle of the night, the English stealthily crept up to the wall, opened the gate and walked through. Apparently the gatekeeper had forgotten to lock the gate. Thus fell the city of Edinburgh to the English. If that’s not a scene from Monty Python, I don’t know what is.We made our way to a tiny little Scottish village on the edge of Loch Ness. While we never saw the monster itself, we did see a woman that looked like Janet Reno, or rather, Will Ferrell playing Janet Reno in her Saturday Night Live dance party. While in this tiny village, we were given a demonstration on how to wear a kilt by a die-hard Scottish man who looked exactly like Sam Adams in a kilt. Traditional kilts were actually quite practical and much larger than the kilts of today, because they were made not only to function as clothing for your bum, but also as a wrap for your shoulders, as a mobile blanket and as a huge pocket for carrying keys and cell phones. In between the prideful Scottish men that look like Sam Adams and the over-abundance of castles, I fell in love with Scotland. My only regret from the trip was that Prince William did not ask me to marry him while I was up at St. Andrews, where he attends school, but I suppose he was just playing coy.Kaminsky can be reached at lkaminsky@campustimes.org.

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