Thursday, November 20, 2008
Years ago, a sweet old man who once, when I was a kid, took me to a meeting of the John Birch Society (another story altogether), sang a song in his kitchen when I was there, a song whose lyrics stuck to my memory because it was, well, bawdy, and I wasn't accustomed to such ditties being publicly sung in kitchens. Went like this:
Whistle while you work,
Hitler is a jerk,
Mussolini pulled his weenie,
Now it doesn't work.
It's open reference to male plumbing stunned me--I must have been eight or nine--because such trashy things would never have aired in our home, Hitler or not. But I was old enough to understand that the ditty had its own sacred history, and, after all, lots of sin get excused in the horrifying wake of that great horror, war. If piping tunes about wrecked weenies gets the home front's hopes up, sing it again, right from the top, with full orchestral accompaniment.
In truth, I don't know a thing about Mussolini, but this morning I read that Adolf Hitler did in fact suffer a war wound that left him singularly outfitted where males traditionally have two, if you catch my drift. Officially, such a condition is called monorchic. Look it up, if you're still baffled by my puritanical avoidance (I am, after all, my father's child).
I haven't a clue what this stunning revelation adds to our assessment of the man, the 20th century's least forgotten or forgiven villain. His name will forever be at the top of a monster list that includes Genghis Khan and Joseph Stalin, mass murderers and madmen. I'm no biologist either. I haven't a clue what additional levels of testosterone might have pumped bountifully into his system were he more traditionally outfitted, but I can't help but think we should be thankful he was so blessedly bereft.
My father's gone. My mother hasn't learn to skate the Internet. But I think I'd better let up on the bathroom stuff. It's just too early for to make jokes about plumbing.
But then, maybe neither of my parents would mind hearing their son publicly mention unmentionables. During the years when they lived with a bevy of Dutch Reformed retirees in a trailer court in West Palm, I was annually regaled by a dozen bad jokes about plumbing, faulty and not, that got passed around daily. Once that particular region of the anatomy went to seed (so to speak), the pendulum swung all the way to the other side and dirty jokes were passed out like Queen Whilhelmina peppermints. "Did you hear the one about the man who stuck his pet goose in his pants?" That sort of thing. I'm not kidding. Shocking--and in very poor taste.
And now I'm faced with this sorrowful realization: my own going on and on about stoolish matters makes it seem to me that the old apple here in Sioux Center doesn't fall far from the aging trees in West Palm. That's another reason to curtail this right now, before it goes any farther.
Besides, I've got to run off to the john, again.