Tag Archives: Red Square

Honor Your Inner Stalin

uncle-Joe

New Year’s Eve day, pale sunshine and no snow. So, JJ and Carl hiked from the farmhouse to the top of the mountain.

“In 2015, I plan to honor my inner Stalin,” Carl said.

“That’s your resolution?”

“Yeah. I plan to honor all of me, the light and the dark.”

“Will that make you a better person?”

“I think so,” Carl said. “It will make me a more complete person. I think we repress the dark stuff and that’s where we get into trouble. It’s still in there and needs to be recognized.”

“But what about the genocide? And the Cold War paranoia?”

“Don’t you sometimes wish you had the power to wipe out certain people? Or populations? Aren’t you paranoid and suspicious?”

“All the time.”

“Well, there you go.”

JJ looked out over the town. They sat on a cliff above the valley and no leaves on the trees meant big views all around. Too many people and houses down there, even in this smallish city. Too many people burning fuels, making trash, fucking up the planet. Many just worthless parasites, taking up space.

“But,” JJ said. “You can’t just declare yourself and start the process. You need a plan.”

“I’m talking about my inner Stalin. The psychopath inside. I’m not going to hurt anybody. On purpose.”

“What the hell have you been reading?”

“Emerson. His big thing is that there’s Jesus in all of us. There’s Socrates in all of us. There’s a poet in all of us.”

“So, there’s a dictator in all of us, too.”

“Exactly.”

Some images of Stalin came into JJ’s mind. Uncle Joe at Yalta, sitting smug with a regal FDR and a fading Churchill. Military Stalin, pockmarked with that moustache, iron-willed and cruel, watching the tanks parade in Red Square. Hitler, with his fussiness and silly moustache seemed like a jester in comparison.

JJ said, “My resolution is to not live in comparison.”

“In comparison to what?”

“Other people. I’m sick of giving a shit what other people think.”

Silence, except for the distant and constant hum of cars on streets, cars on highways, and a few stray horns. “I didn’t think that was a problem for you,” Carl said. “You’re one of the oddest people I know.”

“There’s things I want to do. But I always talk myself out of them.”

“Such as?”

JJ looked out over the town and thought of taking a stand about something. A nameless dread about the Other was always with him and something or someone out there was to blame. Rich people? Religious fanatics? Patriots fans?

“Maybe I’ll start a Gulag,” JJ said.

“There you go. With my inner Stalin and your lottery money, we can make some changes around here.”

“Then you can have me shot after it’s up and running.”

“I’m way ahead of you, man.”
“Happy New Year, asshole.”

“Same to you,” said Carl. “And many more.”

 

 

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Thank You, Putin

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Two recurring dream segments I had growing up, one just returned last week.  Both are culminations of zany and menacing pursuit dreams, with me fleeing through forest, farm, and city.  The reasons never mattered as much as the absurd settings and hazy foes. Some of these from my life, some from history, some from the news, some from fantasy.  The chase always ended at one of two places, never both.

The first place, from my earliest dreams, has me hurrying along the edge of a newly plowed field. There is a man with a hoe and a brimmed hat working in the field, silhouetted black against a blue sky. I am in the trees, watching him, and I know what’s about to happen.  The man is working the hoe, ignoring me, until the moment he rises up and the hoe is a rifle.  He raises the gun, shoots me in the leg, and I stumble off, the chase resuming.  I usually wake soon after.  He always shoots me in the leg and I always know he’s going to do it.

But, this is not the dream segment that came back last week.

That dream segment has me running again. Same fleeting places, real and imagined. Same undefined foes. But, this time I end up on a balcony overlooking Red Square in Moscow.  Naturally, there is an NFL game going on down there where the Red Army used to march for review.  (Will probably march again.)  The Dallas Cowboys are always playing.  Don’t ask me if the quarterback was Tony Romo, Troy Aikman, or Roger Staubach.  The crowd roars and I stand where Stalin stood, where Putin stands, and watch America’s Team play forever.  I had this dream last week for the first time in maybe 30 years.  I am a child of two cataclysms of the 20th century, the Cold War and the Dallas Cowboys.

Thank you, Putin. 

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