I am reading and enjoying Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. It is my misfortune, I realize, to be so sensitized to colonialist attitudes as to imagine I detect in the book a faint taint of colonialist condescension.

But I am not here today to rant about colonialism but rather to share the following amusing passage from the book. The detective, Mma Ramotswe, muses about her feelings about hospitals and doctors. After reflecting that she is not ashamed of her weight or her corns she continues:

Now constipation was quite a different matter. It would be dreadful for the whole world to know about troubles of that nature. She felt terribly sorry for people who suffered from constipation, and she knew that there were many who did. There were probably enough of them to form a political party — with a chance of government perhaps — but what would such a party do if it was in power? Nothing, she imagined. It would try to pass legislation, but would fail.

Here in California the Constipation Party — with its two warring wings — is already in power. Will it also dominate our national politics, currently focused on the struggle to pass health insurance legislation?


Image from the blog of the LA Times