These are the People in Your Neighborhood: Mrs. Never-Too-Late-To-Nazi

Friday, August 23, 2013 | 1 Comment(s)

There I was, enjoying an afternoon coffee with a friend, seated at the tables lining the outside of the shop.  I am wearing an orange t-shirt I picked up when I used to live on kibbutz in Israel, and has Hebrew writing across the front.  The orange of my t-shirt is accentuated by the orange in my octopus leg tattoo.  This information will be relevant later. 

My friend Jazer and I were catching up on recent current events considering we hadn't seen each other in over a month.  He shared about his acceptance to graduate school, and how his enrollment would mean a resurgence of his presence in the town's center.  I gave him a brief rundown of my honeymoon and time spent on the coast of Massachusetts.  It was simple and glorious. 

While we were engaged in this conversation, a woman in her 50's with graying frizzy hair and glasses a skosh too far down her nose, saunters up to us in a white and red sundress paired with aged sandals.  She stops when she is only a foot in front of me and begins speaking loudly both to and at me . . .

"Oh my, look at this, the tattoo AND the Hebrew . . ."

She leans in closer to my shirt.  This strange woman's face is not inches from my belly. 

"Um . . . hello?" I say in a tone that begs her to pump the brakes.

She is almost completely undeterred by my verbal speed-bump.

"Oh, hello, but what does it say!She begins to sound out the first Hebrew word.
"Mar . . .marcha  . . .marchav."

I am still half-stunned by her lack of adherence to any social norms or norms regarding personal space.  I finish the line for her.

"It says Marchav hatzafon.," I tell her.

"Oh, 'The Country of Israel,' great wonderful.  (it actually translates to 'the northern country' referring to northern Israel, but I do not stop to correct her).  "I'll tell you one more story and then I'll let you go . . . "

She says this as if we invited her to talk to us.  As if her presence was welcomed, and she wouldn't be surprised if we were to plead her for an encore.  None of these things were true.  We wanted her gone.  We didn't want even one more story.  There were no seams in her now flowing verbal diarrhea in which to kindly ask her to get off the potty.   And so, she continues . . .

"I host students . . . and I have to beautiful German boy living with me right now.  He's a great great boy, beautiful boy.  (it did not seem that this German exchange student was literally a 'boy.'  Our later guess was that he was probably a college kid.  Something about the number of times she referred to him as a "beautiful boy" was unnerving and a little too sexual.) 

"And he's been living with me for awhile, and really, its wonderful.  But I just recently found out that his grandfather . . . the boy's grandfather . . . was a 'World War Two'.  So.  Yah."

And she walks away without a goodbye.  As she rounds the corner, I say outloud to my friend and anyone in earshot, "What the what the what!"  I hear loud bursts of laughter both from Jazer and the two college girls at the  table next to us.  We were all stunned by what just occurred.  This women had just waltzed up to us and slapped us in the face with her conversational whim, and we were all left sullenly wiping at our ruddy cheeks.

Personally I was most excited by Mrs. Never Too Late to Nazi's grammatical use of 'World War II."  I going to go way out on a limb here and say that this German exchange student's grandfather wasn't Jewish.  I say this because it is still generally frowned upon to call the Jews of Nazi Germany "World War Two's."  At the very least I think society demands they be identified as "European Jews during the Holocaust" or simply "Jews" over the re-dehumanization of being labeled "World War Two's." 

Which means that this poor poor German kid's grandfather was most likely a Nazi solider.  Can't really blame the grandkid can we?  Regardless,  I think the euphemism 'a WWII' is actually kind of an amazing substitute for 'Nazi.' 

The unintended glory of this lexical substitution is that when the right-wing nut-jobs try to call Obama the "Black leader of the WWII's," it will now sound as ridiculous as its claim suggests. 

1 comment:

  1. I am both stunned (and amazed) at the story, and also fascinated by the term "a WWII" as I had never heard it before. Whoa.