I like that very much: "If the accident will."
I would hate to tell you what this lousy little book cost me in money and anxiety and time. When I got home from the Second World War twenty-three years ago, I thought it would be easy for me to write about the destruction of Dresden, since all I would have to do would be to report what I had seen. And I thought, too, that it would be a masterpiece or at least make me a lot of money, since the subject was so big.
But not many words about Dresden came from my mind then--not enough of them to make a book, anyway. And not many words come now, either, when I have become an old fart with his memories and Pall Malls, with his sons full grown.
I think of how useless the Dresden part of my memory has been, and yet how tempting Dresden has been to write about, and I am reminded of the famous limerick:
"There was a you man from Stamboul,
Who soliloquized thus to his tool:
"You took all my wealth
And you ruined my health,
And now you won't pee, you old fool."
And I'm reminded, too, of the song that goes:
" My name is Yon Yonson,
I work in Wisconsin,
I work in a lumbermill there.
The people I meet when I walk down the street,
They say, "What's your name?"
And I say,
My name is Yon Yonson,
I work in Wisconsin . . ."
And so on into infinity.
Over the years, people I've met have often asked me what I'm working on, and I've usually replied that the main thing was a book about Dresden.
I said that to Harrison Starr, the movie-maker, one time, and he raised his eyebrows and inquired, "Is it an anti-war book?"
"Yes," I said. "I guess."
"You know what I say to people when I hear they're writing anti-war books?"
"No. What do you say, Harrison Starr?"
"I say, 'Why don't you write an anti-glacier book instead?"
What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that, too.
And even if wars didn't keep coming like glaciers, there would still be plain old death.
There's a great deal of wisdom in this passage. There have been wars as long as human beings have been walking upright on this planet. Heck, even when we weren't walking upright, we probably still found reasons to fight with each other. For some reason, humans hurt each other. All the time. It's as if it's genetic.
At the moment, my daughter is hurting because of someone she cares about deeply, and it pisses me off. A lot. Of course, the people to whom we are closest are the ones who wound us the most deeply. I have been telling my daughter that she is beautiful and special, and that she should be treated with love and respect instead of cruelty. Last night, when she came to kiss me goodnight, I took her face in my hands and said, "You know that you deserve better than this?"
Teenage boys pretty much suck, in my book. I was once a teenage boy, so I should know. However, I don't think I ever went out of my way as a teenager to make someone feel terrible. That takes a special brand of asshole. Perhaps other girls don't mind putting up with that. My daughter is a little smarter than that.
I write this post because I'm frustrated and a little angry. It bothers me that a person who we've only treated with kindness and respect would treat my daughter this way. I write this post because I can't really say these things to my daughter without making her cry. And I write this post hoping the little bastard who is causing her this much pain reads it and somehow gets his head out of his ass.
Is that enough honesty for you?
Saint Marty is thankful that tonight he is going out to eat with his wife and daughter and his daughter's best friend. Time to laugh instead of cry.
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