To: Rik Abel
Sent: Tuesday, November 7, 2006 10:51:51 AM
Subject: same post
So funny, we both essentially posted about the same thing.
Maybe we should do that. Make a list of things to post about, and every day we do our own take on it like:
Friday: Vomit Stories
Saturday: Best Kiss Ever
Sunday: When I was Four
Tuesday: Nipple Clamps
Wednesday: Paper Cuts
Friday: Bad Poetry
Saturday: The Time I Got Ripped Off
Sunday: Rainfall in Micronesia
Monday: I'm Having a Party and ______ is Invited
Well, Rik never answered, because he's sick, and perhaps because the idea is redonculous. Oh well, I'm spent, and regurgitating Kurt Vonnegut doesn't count. So here goes. True story.
Image from here. (Used gratefully, but as per usual, without permission.)
The old British man across the street from us when I was growing up was a retired clown. His house smelled like unlit tobacco, furniture polish, and library books. His nose was swollen, his eyes almost translucent. He was an alcoholic. I didn't know then that he was, but learned this later from my mom, who knew, as all the neighbours did, that he drank all day to keep a low-level buzz until the evening, which is when he'd really start knocking it back. While he had a kind of Benny Hill lewdness about women, that stuff would have been over my head at the time, and besides, he was always perfectly well-behaved with us kids.
Once he showed me and a friend an old scrapbook of newspaper clippings, and told us about travelling around Europe in the 1930s in a circus caravan. There was an old photograph of him in his face paint. In those days he was in a clown/straight-man act. You know, the clown behaves outrageously and the straight-man is his foil. He and his straight-man buddy had an act where one of them would dress up like Hitler and they'd mock his mannerisms, all very amusing.
A few years before the war broke out, they performed this for the first time in Germany. Half-way through this Hitler sketch, the music suddenly stopped and they were marched off stage. The crowd was hurried out and the circus cancelled. He said that they were given three hours to get the entire troupe out of Germany or they'd all face indefinite imprisonment. They scrambled to pack up their paraphernalia. Two hours later, they were on the last train out that night, fleeing the country with half of the circus gear left behind. "They wanted us out!" he said. "Can you imagine it? On a train in the middle of the night? Get out now or jail for you? No sense of humour, those Germans. Or Hitler, anyway."