Saturday, August 26, 2017

August 26: The Febs, Burger Chef, Boo

The plane took off without incident.  The moment was structured that way.  There was a barbershop quartet on board.  They were optometrists, too.  They called themselves "The Febs," which was an acronym for "Four-eyed Bastards."

When the plane was safely aloft, the machine that was Billy's father-in-law asked the quartet to sing his favorite song.  They knew what song he meant, and they sang it, and it went like this:

           In my prison cell I sit,
          With my britches full of shit,
          And my balls are bouncing gently on the floor.
          And I see the bloody snag
          When she bit me in the bag.
          Oh, I'll never fuck a Polack any more.

Billy's father-in-law laughed and laughed at that, and he begged the quartet to sing the other Polish song he liked so much.  So they sang a song from the Pennsylvania coal mines that began:

          Me and Mike, ve work in mine.
          Holy shit, ve have good time.
          Vunce a veek ve get our pay.
          Holy shit, no vork next day.

Speaking of people from Poland:  Billy Pilgrim accidentally saw a Pole hanged in public, about three days after Billy got to Dresden.  Billy just happened to be walking to work with some others shortly after sunrise, and they came to a gallows and a small crowd in front of a soccer stadium.  The Pole was a farm laborer who was being hanged for having had sexual intercourse with a German woman.  So it goes.

Two moments in Billy's life.  In one, he's sitting in an airplane that's going to crash.  In another, he's surrounded by people who will soon be dead, listening to offensively racist/sexist songs.  In the other, he's witness to the execution of a Polish man for doing something very human--having sex with a woman that he probably loved. 

That's the case with most of our lives.  Moments bump up against each other.  You're sitting in McDonald's, eating an Egg McMuffin, and suddenly you remember sitting in a Burger Chef when you were seven, sucking down a strawberry shake after getting a haircut.  These two things suddenly are connected, and a kind of strange nostalgia floods you.

We've been purging rooms at our house this summer.  Bedrooms and bathroom and kitchen.  Yesterday, my daughter climbed the stairs to the attic and started going through boxes and bags.  Halfway through the afternoon, she texted me a picture of a doll she found,  It was Boo from the movie Monster's, Inc

When I saw the picture, I immediately remembered sitting on a bench at the playground, holding that doll while my daughter was climbing and swinging and bouncing.  She was about four or five.  Two teenage girls came walking by, just as my daughter came running up to me, holding her hands out for the doll.  "Oh, my God," one of the teens said, "she looks just like Boo.  So cute."

Two moments bumping up against each other.  I've experienced that a lot this summer as we've gone through our papers and books and clothes.  It's been a little emotional, I have to admit.  I've let go of a lot of things.  Resigned myself to the fact that my kids aren't really kids anymore.  They're growing.  Fast.  In two years, my daughter will be a high school graduate.  My son will be in middle school.

Where has the time gone?

Saint Marty isn't ready to be the parent of an adult.  Not yet.

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