Belgium is a fictional country.

Doubt me, Mr. Smarty-journal? Quick, go find me a Berlitz course in Belgish.

Everyone knows that Belgium was created by Edgar Rice Burroughs as a fictional European country with colonies in Africa for his Tarzan stories. He borrowed the name from Roman accounts of the Belgi, a tribe of odd people with no language, but a propensity for deep-frying potatoes. “Belgium” would be the mythical capital of the land of the Belgi.

Later, Agatha Christie adopted it as a suitable place for such an outlandish character as Hercule Poirot to come from.

American entrepreneurs from Tarzana dubbed that fantasia of whipped cream and strawberries a “Belgian” waffle. I suppose if they were from Kansas it would have been an “Ozian” waffle.

There are stories in San Francisco of mysterious strangers coming to City Hall from Mt. Shasta claiming to be “Belgians” at the turn of the century.

There are rumors of an unmade 1964 Hope/Crosby “Road” picture called “Road to Belgium,” with a series of mysterious deaths and disasters linked to it. The script is no longer on file since any of the originals were destroyed when some pyrotechnic work on “Dogs of War” got out of control and started a fire in the script archives. It should be noted that it was *after* reading the script for “Road to Belgium” that Bing Crosby’s problems with drinking and child beating began. And though it is not quite as obvious a symptom, Bob Hope was never funny again.

Sorry, but Belgium is as fictional a place as the seacoast of Bohemia, the desert coast of Florida, or the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

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