In explaining his scary plight, BR's tired eyes would brighten every time he used the term "maddening" to illustrate the sirens, controlled panic and inconsistent pattern of those explosions, as well as the claustrophobic sense that the ceiling might collapse. "Even worse," he said, "when you seemed certain that that ration of terror was finally over...a minute later, the process would start again."
Americans commonly accept "mad" to mean angry or frustrated (which is somewhat accurate) but its true definition points to insane or insanity. So BR might have been angry but in reality the bombing was driving him crazy.
BR has now moved back to the U. K. He's content to live out his golden years wagering on the ponies at his neighbourhood betting parlour or chatting it up at the corner pub. I'm not ready for his version of an idyllic lifestyle but his maddening past just came to my mind.
In late August 2011, Hurricane Irene hit this area. The rustling of the trees woke me up at 5:AM. I was so nervous that I imagined tree trunks smashing into my house. Therefore, falling back asleep was out of the question. I tip-toed downstairs to avoid disturbing my family and decided to face my demons.
I took a cup of coffee and the previous day's newspaper into my Florida room. Although branches occasionally crashed into the thin roof, the overall experience was surprisingly calming. Such was not the case yesterday, (a warm, sunny and breezy afternoon).
It's probably not fair to my backyard woodland creatures to compare their antics with the Nazi bombing of England...but they do.
|SEPTEMBER 5, 2010, THE "KRISPIES" ROCK THE DECK IN MY BACKYARD. PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE AREN'T ANY LEAVES, ACORNS OR PINE CONES AT THEIR FEET. ALSO, (far left) THAT'S MY FLORIDA ROOM.|
The task of regularly sweeping my deck starts in August and continues until all the trees are barren. The height of this annoyance is underway now which means twice-a-week, hour-long missions to clear the debris.
Yesterday, armed with a trashcan, broom and dustpan, I toiled as more
shit foliage rained down.
If you are an insecure person...and who amongst us doesn't have their moments...you'd swear that the acorns flying out of the trees are being aimed at you. When you round-up the usual suspects, chipmunks and squirrels are the most likely perpetrators.
This time of year, the acorn bombardment never ends...it's happening now! That means, seconds after clearing a section of my deck, the next generation of falling pine needles, leaves and pine cones ruin my work. Deep down, I really want to believe that the wind and change of season were the only culprits but when you hear the crack of the acorns pelting the deck, your instinct is to look up and imagine that laughing squirrels are conspiring against you.
It doesn't really matter whether Mother Nature or a dastardly squirrel is to blame, the fear (expectation) of getting hit on the head by one of these speeding projectiles is tortuous. Like BR said, it becomes maddening because I was pre-occupied, worrying when an acorn was going to ping my head. I was proven right when BOOM, like a bullet, one stung my shoulder. Then a machine gun-like cluster, RAT-TAT-TAT whizzed past my face. I couldn't take any more chances, I went inside and got a hat to cushion any blows. The simple chore of sweeping-up had become like Chinese water torture.
The insanity theme continued for me last night in the form of a 1933 movie, "THE TESTAMENT OF DR. MABUSE." If you have the patience to sit through this German-made (with English subtitles) four-star classic for over two hours, you will be well rewarded.
The title character originated in Norbert Jacques' 1921 novel, "THE COLONY OF DR. MABUSE." Some consider the diabolical doctor to be the first-ever super-villain. Interwoven into Jacques' commercially successful tapestry of terror, the author included some barbed political commentary.
A year later, famed movie director Fritz Lang and his wife wrote a smash (silent) screenplay, "DR. MABUSE THE GAMBLER." A decade later, the Langs wrote "Testament" and included their own contemporary political commentary...which wasn't as transparent as it needed to be. Most movie buffs aren't familiar with this masterpiece because it was thought to be lost...only recently has it been restored.
|THE ORIGINAL 1933, GERMAN LOBBY POSTER.|
The 1933 sequel is consistent with the original because Dr. Mabuse has been committed to a prolonged stay at an insane asylum. After years of silence, the doctor's "testament" starts out as incoherent ramblings until his doctor (Dr. Baum), is able to decipher them.
|ACTOR RUDOLPH KLEIN-ROGGE (on the bed) PLAYED THE PATIENT (MABUSE) IN BOTH THE 1922 SILENT MOVIE AND THE TALKIE. OSCAR BEREGI SR., (left), IS DR. BAUM.|
Fritz Lang was influenced by Freud and Nietzsche. His style of movie making is atypical by what today's audiences are used to but his greatness inspired more familiar directors like, Hitchcock, Welles and Kubrick.
In "Testament," Lang planted many Nazi phrases and slogans into Mabuse's dialog. So much so that three months into Hitler's regime, this movie was banned due to its power to incite public disorder, (and would not be shown in Germany until 1951). Lang found this out when he was called to the office of newly installed propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels. Although the film couldn't be shown, the quality of Lang's work resulted in an offer to make pro-Nazi films. Lang told the good minister, "I'll think about it."
Lang was raised as a Catholic but under the Nuremberg Laws, (Lang's mother was Jewish), he would eventually be identified as a Jew. He envisioned enough of what was to come under Hitler and fled to France, (unaccompanied by his pro-Nazi wife).
I won't spoil this perfect Halloween movie for you. But I will say that it is a crime thriller combined with clever, hypnotic para-normal activities and some eerie, cutting edge, (for its time), special effects. So, take the time to absorb Lang's genius as he metaphorically predicts the Nazi's direction and for having transferred their manifesto into a mental patient. The only way I could have been more impressed would have been if the movie had "nuts" cascading off the trees and knocking Mabuse into his undesirable condition.
Now, I look at my backyard deck and it's covered again with leaves, pine cones and acorns. So to soothe my potential for madness, I will continue to encourage my dog to chase the Fascist squirrels. I really hope she scares the fecal nuggets out of them all...except Rocky, he gets a good conduct pass.
If BR ever breaks away from his pub long enough to read this, he'll think I've,"gone around the bend," (Brit-Speak for bonkers), for comparing the German blitz with my acorn-driven, backyard Oktober Fest.