Doing My Best to Clean Up the Past

I felt the snap-crackle in the air and found myself going back in time. I never know where I’ll end up. I used to try and guess. Once I thought for certain that I was going to the battle of Agincourt, but then I found myself at the tennis match of Bobby Riggs and Billy Jean King. I was right in sensing that it was a battle though.

The air shook and vibrated, there was a whooshing sound, and this time I ended up, lo and behold at the signing of the Treaty at Versailles in 1919. It was nice because it was the first time I’d been to France. It turns out it still counts as visiting a country when you’re there at an earlier time than now.

Everyone seemed tired. World War One had just ended. There’s something about war that’s similar to raising kids in that everyone’s exhausted.

Outside the hall where the treaty that spelled out the terms of Germany’s surrender was being drawn up, I came upon a particularly distraught German soldier sitting on a bench.

I said, “I’m sorry about your loss.” I wasn’t, but I learned from funerals it’s the correct thing to say.

The German soldier said, “Germany may be down, but the Motherland shall rise again.”

I said, “Yes, that’s true. But like waves on the ocean, things fall, rise and fall again.” I’m amazing at philosophy when I have exact knowledge of the profound outcome.

When the soldier introduced himself as Adolf Hitler, I suggested he consider a career as an actor in the German cinema. I mentioned that his classical good looks and obvious charisma would make him a renowned movie star. I was hoping that my encouragement would help him make a career change.

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