My Hitler

  1. My father once had a dream in which he was staying in a Swiss pension. There was a boarding house group from several countries, and as typical in these places meals were communal, all at one table. Shortly after his arrival he discovered that the elderly German gentleman with the mustache was, in fact, Adolf Hitler. Since dream logic was in effect, the problem was not how to kill Hitler, or call the police or the army, or even berate him for his crimes. The question was: how to address him at dinner?

    He couldn’t just be “Mr. Hitler”; the guy was a former head of state. “Herr Führer”, though, would imply approval of the Third Reich and his dictatorship, which can’t be done even at dinner. Finally he figured it out: “Herr Reichskanzler Hitler” [sp?]. Since that was his official elected office, it was the best choice for being introduced or asking the guy to pass the salt.

  2. I once saw a lecture by a psychologist whose field of expertise was the psychology of contagion. This was just a few years into the AIDS epidemic, so it was a topic of current interest. He pointed out that how people think and behave about infection and contagion is related to scientific knowledge, but separate and different. And way stupider. For example, physically handicapped people are treated the way we treat people with an infectious transmittable disease: stay away, don’t touch. The mentally handicapped, too. NIMBY arguments against group homes sometimes boil down to “I’m afraid to have this near me”, as though one could catch mental retardation or multiple sclerosis from the water supply or at the mall.

    The most fascinating part of the lecture was the discussion of the contagion of clothing. People were asked a series of questions about clothing that had been worn by others. No one wanted to wear clothing that an AIDS patient had worn, even if it had been thoroughly cleaned. Many people didn’t want to wear clothing that a handicapped person had worn. And finally, the contagion of evil enters the picture when we’re talking about clothing. If some beloved figure like Mother Theresa has worn a sweater, most people responded they’d love to wear it. However, if Adolf Hitler had worn the sweater, no one wanted to wear it. And if the sweater had been worn by Adolf Hitler and then by the Dalai Lama, they still wouldn’t wear it. Some kinds of contagion can’t be purified.

So anyway that’s how I learned that you can turn into Hitler if you sit on the wrong toilet seat, and that you don’t want to stay in a hotel with the guy.

14 thoughts on “My Hitler

  1. I read a contamination study (well, the abstract; I’m not a scientist) where they asked people to eat bugs, and if they wouldn’t they asked if they’d eat a dissolving capsule with a bug inside, then a capsule that wouldn’t dissolve. I’m not sure what the point was other than to soak up grant money, but your guy reminds me of this.
    Your brother and father seem like interesting people. I like how he says you “do something with computers”. Because it sounds like he’s simplifying because he doesn’t know, which is something physicists get more than not.
    Also, we’re on the same drugs.

  2. I read a contamination study (well, the abstract; I’m not a scientist) where they asked people to eat bugs, and if they wouldn’t they asked if they’d eat a dissolving capsule with a bug inside, then a capsule that wouldn’t dissolve. I’m not sure what the point was other than to soak up grant money, but your guy reminds me of this.
    Your brother and father seem like interesting people. I like how he says you “do something with computers”. Because it sounds like he’s simplifying because he doesn’t know, which is something physicists get more than not.
    Also, we’re on the same drugs.

  3. Thank you very much.
    This spells out my life. People love to read about how fucked up I am since Lisa killed Sunny and broke my back in several places, permanently injured my frontal lobe, and aggravated my already fairly edgy state of bipolar disorder. Since the accident, though, in real life, I’ve got my fiancee, the occasional friend who, more seemingly than not, spends an evening or a few hours with me out of sympathy or just to marvel at how I somehow walk, talk and carry on after such a disaster. But if I counted down “friends” who really still call me and come around? Other than my fiancee? ZERO. But EVERYBODY loves to read about my fucked up life and my horrible misery. So what did I do? I quit writing about it and now unless I write something witty or somehow connected to some other bullshit drama, I get few, if any, posts. Oh, and especially since I have someone in my life, now I’m boring to all the girls or something. I knew this would happen. I saw it happen to my stepfather when he suffered a major blow to his back at work when a machine fell on him and slipped a disc or two. Slowly, one by one, the people that used to go drinking with him, that used to go off-roading with him (take into consideration that my stepfather resides in Idaho, so off-roading and such are pleasures of the highest order to folks like him) and just the people in general who’d even so much as call him up just to say, “hello,” vanished over a period of months. The same thing happened to me, and most everyone from my former life (which I may as well call it) has their own bullshit justification for it, such as arguments we’d have when I was really doped up on a combo of soma, ativan, methadone and morphine (the latter in two forms, even), which by all means ANYONE could rationalize as problems due to the delirium my doctors had me in with all those drugs, but instead they’ve taken their collective stance and I’m Hitler.

    1. Re: Thank you very much.
      I don’t know you or your friends personally, but I wouldn’t be surprised that the “contagion” syndrome is part of the problem. Not only do people feel fear at illness (contagion), but there’s also this very strong “leave the wounded animal behind” instinct that isn’t very pretty. The Jonah idea from sailing, that bad luck brings more bad luck, is probably a product of this.
      Sorry you’ve had splits with your friends. That’s no fun even without the medical problems.

      1. Re: Thank you very much.
        Yep, you hit the nail on the head. I’m linking this entry, actually, as a private link. I want to remember the reference to your father’s dream and the tie you made of that to the lecture you’d sat in on regarding contagion. The part about if the Dalai Lama were to wear Hitler’s shirt, that part really was quite a poignant statement.

      2. Re: Thank you very much.
        Yep, you hit the nail on the head. I’m linking this entry, actually, as a private link. I want to remember the reference to your father’s dream and the tie you made of that to the lecture you’d sat in on regarding contagion. The part about if the Dalai Lama were to wear Hitler’s shirt, that part really was quite a poignant statement.

      3. Uncannily, and sadly, our conversation turned into my worst nightmare just hours after.
        My fiancee and I (now ex-fiancee), with whom I’ve been staying off & on with down here in Canyon Lake (outside of Lake Elsinore/Riverside/San Bernardino) since I met her broke off not just our engagement last night, but also our relationship. We are now just at friends status with the possibility of more, depending on how she feels about it after thinking it over. I was scheduled to return back home to my place in Eastlake, Oakland on the eleventh, and now I may be returning home as early as tomorrow morning, depending, again, on how she feels about it. Many things contributed to this. I’ve been slowly becoming more and more depressed as time has gone on and thinking more and more about my loss of eight months ago in the accident: My health, sanity and my lover, Sunny (I’m sure you must’ve caught some of those entries here and there). Well, depression can lead to many things, and some of the things it has led to have caused some vicious fights, and last night some things I said broke the camel’s back, to use the old cliche. So now I stand alone, quite literally. I’d been saying in the last reply about how I have my mother and my fiancee, now I really have neither. I called my mother to tell her about the news, and my stepfather, who I do not like, nor ever have, stepped in and ended the call. My family ties have now been broken beyond repair, too, until I alone can find my way back to safety. I turn 29 in a few months, which may seem young to you, but you know it really isn’t. I’m well past adolescence, and to be this alone going into my thirties, which I will be as the past year has proven, is a terrifying prospect. I, in all effect, am becoming a shut-in, something I never saw myself as being when I was a young man. I looked down on shut-ins, saw myself as above them, and now I am becoming one increasingly more and more. It’s not a choice I’ve made, but a choice that’s been handed to me due to both the contagion factor, and the fact that my state of being (being prescribed so much medication and having few prospects to look forward to even post-op) is so deprived of normalcy means that if this woman won’t have me–a woman I could say no wrong about, a woman who above all others has been and is probably the most compassionate woman I’ve ever been lucky enough to be with (not that she doesn’t have her own unique set of problems, too, but by comparison, her status as a single mother making a few bucks above minimum wage, albeit at a job she loves dearly working with kids as a preschool teacher, and having gone through an ugly divorce leading her to having to live at home with her parents, makes her problems look like cheesecake with whipped cream topping)–I know I’ll be spending my life alone. I’m not prepared for this. I’m kind of in shambles today as I only slept a mere 1 1/2 hours last night so that I could savor every last second that I’ve got left with her. Today, my Internet friend who I don’t know, tears are running down my face and half of the night last night I spent sobbing. I never thought I’d hit rock bottom like this; I thought, in all honesty, friends would come to my aid by the score and be there for me through thick and thin. I’ve learned the hard way that choices I’ve made have devastated my life and I’m just a seething batch of what you call contagion. People are probably better off, honestly, staying away from me. In reality, I’m a grief stricken almost thirtysomething with nothing to look forward to except the vague hopes of dreams that may or may not be realized based on how well the system comes to my aid. But I know I’ll never have the courage or strength to be as outgoing and charming as I once was. I really feel like a hollow shell of a ghost’s shadow.

      4. Re: Uncannily, and sadly, our conversation turned into my worst nightmare just hours after.
        I’m so sorry. At this remove advice is impossible so all I can offer is sympathy.
        You’re not alone. I’ve known several people whose personal and social lives imploded horribly after an incident like yours, or who had long-term psychological effects from illnesses or accidents that made interpersonal relationships difficult or impossible for reasons no one could fathom.
        The familiarity of the situation doesn’t make it any less terrible. I hope things go better for you soon.

      5. Re: Uncannily, and sadly, our conversation turned into my worst nightmare just hours after.
        I’m so sorry. At this remove advice is impossible so all I can offer is sympathy.
        You’re not alone. I’ve known several people whose personal and social lives imploded horribly after an incident like yours, or who had long-term psychological effects from illnesses or accidents that made interpersonal relationships difficult or impossible for reasons no one could fathom.
        The familiarity of the situation doesn’t make it any less terrible. I hope things go better for you soon.

      6. Uncannily, and sadly, our conversation turned into my worst nightmare just hours after.
        My fiancee and I (now ex-fiancee), with whom I’ve been staying off & on with down here in Canyon Lake (outside of Lake Elsinore/Riverside/San Bernardino) since I met her broke off not just our engagement last night, but also our relationship. We are now just at friends status with the possibility of more, depending on how she feels about it after thinking it over. I was scheduled to return back home to my place in Eastlake, Oakland on the eleventh, and now I may be returning home as early as tomorrow morning, depending, again, on how she feels about it. Many things contributed to this. I’ve been slowly becoming more and more depressed as time has gone on and thinking more and more about my loss of eight months ago in the accident: My health, sanity and my lover, Sunny (I’m sure you must’ve caught some of those entries here and there). Well, depression can lead to many things, and some of the things it has led to have caused some vicious fights, and last night some things I said broke the camel’s back, to use the old cliche. So now I stand alone, quite literally. I’d been saying in the last reply about how I have my mother and my fiancee, now I really have neither. I called my mother to tell her about the news, and my stepfather, who I do not like, nor ever have, stepped in and ended the call. My family ties have now been broken beyond repair, too, until I alone can find my way back to safety. I turn 29 in a few months, which may seem young to you, but you know it really isn’t. I’m well past adolescence, and to be this alone going into my thirties, which I will be as the past year has proven, is a terrifying prospect. I, in all effect, am becoming a shut-in, something I never saw myself as being when I was a young man. I looked down on shut-ins, saw myself as above them, and now I am becoming one increasingly more and more. It’s not a choice I’ve made, but a choice that’s been handed to me due to both the contagion factor, and the fact that my state of being (being prescribed so much medication and having few prospects to look forward to even post-op) is so deprived of normalcy means that if this woman won’t have me–a woman I could say no wrong about, a woman who above all others has been and is probably the most compassionate woman I’ve ever been lucky enough to be with (not that she doesn’t have her own unique set of problems, too, but by comparison, her status as a single mother making a few bucks above minimum wage, albeit at a job she loves dearly working with kids as a preschool teacher, and having gone through an ugly divorce leading her to having to live at home with her parents, makes her problems look like cheesecake with whipped cream topping)–I know I’ll be spending my life alone. I’m not prepared for this. I’m kind of in shambles today as I only slept a mere 1 1/2 hours last night so that I could savor every last second that I’ve got left with her. Today, my Internet friend who I don’t know, tears are running down my face and half of the night last night I spent sobbing. I never thought I’d hit rock bottom like this; I thought, in all honesty, friends would come to my aid by the score and be there for me through thick and thin. I’ve learned the hard way that choices I’ve made have devastated my life and I’m just a seething batch of what you call contagion. People are probably better off, honestly, staying away from me. In reality, I’m a grief stricken almost thirtysomething with nothing to look forward to except the vague hopes of dreams that may or may not be realized based on how well the system comes to my aid. But I know I’ll never have the courage or strength to be as outgoing and charming as I once was. I really feel like a hollow shell of a ghost’s shadow.

    2. Re: Thank you very much.
      I don’t know you or your friends personally, but I wouldn’t be surprised that the “contagion” syndrome is part of the problem. Not only do people feel fear at illness (contagion), but there’s also this very strong “leave the wounded animal behind” instinct that isn’t very pretty. The Jonah idea from sailing, that bad luck brings more bad luck, is probably a product of this.
      Sorry you’ve had splits with your friends. That’s no fun even without the medical problems.

  4. Thank you very much.
    This spells out my life. People love to read about how fucked up I am since Lisa killed Sunny and broke my back in several places, permanently injured my frontal lobe, and aggravated my already fairly edgy state of bipolar disorder. Since the accident, though, in real life, I’ve got my fiancee, the occasional friend who, more seemingly than not, spends an evening or a few hours with me out of sympathy or just to marvel at how I somehow walk, talk and carry on after such a disaster. But if I counted down “friends” who really still call me and come around? Other than my fiancee? ZERO. But EVERYBODY loves to read about my fucked up life and my horrible misery. So what did I do? I quit writing about it and now unless I write something witty or somehow connected to some other bullshit drama, I get few, if any, posts. Oh, and especially since I have someone in my life, now I’m boring to all the girls or something. I knew this would happen. I saw it happen to my stepfather when he suffered a major blow to his back at work when a machine fell on him and slipped a disc or two. Slowly, one by one, the people that used to go drinking with him, that used to go off-roading with him (take into consideration that my stepfather resides in Idaho, so off-roading and such are pleasures of the highest order to folks like him) and just the people in general who’d even so much as call him up just to say, “hello,” vanished over a period of months. The same thing happened to me, and most everyone from my former life (which I may as well call it) has their own bullshit justification for it, such as arguments we’d have when I was really doped up on a combo of soma, ativan, methadone and morphine (the latter in two forms, even), which by all means ANYONE could rationalize as problems due to the delirium my doctors had me in with all those drugs, but instead they’ve taken their collective stance and I’m Hitler.

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