the razor’s edge

Razor 004I drank Zubrowka vodka on my first visit to Poland .  Michal B. bought two bottles , explained what the reed of grass was doing in the bottle , how the grass was delicious to the buffalo .

What buffalo ? Buffalo in Poland ? Sure . Razor 003I was photographing some donated straight razors at the Gilb Museum and describing them , noting some rust on the metal near where the steel is connected to the bone handle , reading the manufacturers mark . The thing was manufactured in Billings , Montana in 1909 . The blade was made in Germany . German steel , it was , sharpened and highly tempered .

The Schlieffen Plan was already being honed , too , in 1909 . Kaiser Wilhelm had asked Count Schlieffen to develop a plan for a two-front war , against the Russian empire and France . By 19o5 a plan was devised to quickly invade France through neutral Belgium and Luxembourg and to capture Paris before the lumbering Russia could mobilize .

Watch out for German steel ; it must be handled carefully .

Just over 10,000 people lived in Billings in 1909 .  Forty -three million soldiers fought World War One . And then , there was the next one , of course . Lots of broken razors that could not be exchanged .
Razor 002

And , you don’t think we’re fighting World War III now . Drones are sent wherever the terrorists hide . It’s called , not the Great War , but the War on Terror ; not the War to end all Wars , but another war , perhaps ,  to save democracy .

All the quiet George Orwells are , no doubt , busy scribbling —- tapping , I should say ; the world has changed since  1984 . Hasn’t it ? But we’re filling up with disillusioned Larry Darrells , I think [ watch one of the Razor’s Edge movies ]  searching for meaning .  What’s the matter with you , Larry  ?  [ get your device out and read the book ] .

Meanwhile , of course too , the Kaisers and Schlieffens are planning the next victories .  Sorry for the little Belgiums , but there are no neutrals when the blades , ” ground extremely thin ” , cut .

I wonder how many have accidently cut their own throats with a straight razor ?

And for Larry’s friends , all of us , life is jazzy , until it all crashes .

O.K.  Michal B.  and I drank the two bottles of Zubrowka . They were small bottles . He , a sailor , was showing me the Szczecin harbor , Ada’s home city .  It was all bombed out during the war , my new  friend told me . ” By the Germans”, I said , and Michal looked at me funny . No , not by the Germans . By the British and the Americans . Szczecin was Stettin in pre-WWII days ,  a German city . There was a Hitler Platz , down by the train station .  I saw it on an old map after I began to learn something about the place .  I remember Michal B.’s astonished  look , though , when I said ” By the Germans “.

Live and learn , man , live and learn .

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One response to “the razor’s edge

  1. Once again, thanks for helping me live and learn. OK, you’re not helping me live, but…

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