When Laetitia walked down Raglan Road toward the Emerald Victorian just before 7:00 a. m., she was thinking about tripe. Not “rubbish,” as it is sometimes defined, but rather of the food made from the stomach linings of ruminant animals, such as cattle. The thought was stimulated by her dinner the night before with friends at a French restaurant that prides itself on its authenticity. One of her party had ordered an Andouille appetizer. When it came, he found that the casings were stuffed with tripe, the way the sausage is made in France, instead of being filled with the spicy Cajun-style pork stuffing he expected. Tripe is a food, like haggis and lutefisk, originally chosen out of economic necessity. Some find the mere thought of such foods disgusting, while others find them tasty.
The thought was fleeting. She unlocked the Victorian’s ornate front door, started the coffee pot brewing, and went into the library to plan the day’s tour. She decided to go to Detroit, Michigan’s largest city. The tour she planned featured mostly museums: the Motown Historical Museum, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, and the Tuskegee Airmen Museum.
After the day’s excursions were over, Laetitia’s thoughts turned once again to tripe in an accidental way. Her happy hour bar perch was within earshot of a table where fetishes were being discussed. One of the discussants, whose name was Mortimer, claimed to have fetishes for tripe and Limburger cheese and was looking to use them to attract women who were similarly inclined. He confessed that his quest so far had yielded little in the way of positive results. Most women he had approached found both foods disgusting rather than erotic. But Mortimer said, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” Alexander Pope was likely referring to the afterlife when he wrote those words, but Laetitia, who liked quirky people, hoped that Mortimer would find a paramour that shared his fetishes. His tablemates, however, expressed opinions about him that boiled down to his being “a few bowling pins short of a strike.” Whether or not Mortimer’s quest eventually succeeded, Laetitia had the day’s limerick.
When Mortimer tried to exploit
Young ladies who lived in Detroit
With soup made from tripe
And cheese overripe
He seemed a bit short of adroit.