I was sitting in the Berlin main bus station with Ada , waiting for the train to Angermunde , where we would have to change trains for Szczecin . We were talking to a couple of older people from Norway , who were waiting for the same train . We were chatting about the EU , and immigrants , and California wildfires , and San Francisco. Norwegians are friendly people . They have easy smiles and love life . All of them .
I was asked , eventually , as a representative of America , about Donald Trump . I answered . I spoke for all of us . I hope that I did all of us justice , and I think that I did . You would be proud , I’m sure . If not , then too bad . None of us agree , anyway , or have any tolerance for anyone who hasn’t swallowed the same lemonade as we have . That’s how it is . That’s how Americans are .All of us . Don’t tread on me , and all that .
As an aside , before I further this discussion , let me just repeat what I’ve always said : that we Irish should never have let the rest of you people ( possible exception : one Polish woman ) in here in the first place . There’d be fewer problems in the country ; that is , besides the run-of-the-mill Irish variety of troubles . My Danish friend Ivan tried years ago to convince my mother that the Irish have destroyed the world ; but Mom told him it’s not true , and I believed my mom .
I’ve been following some friend-of-a-friend on Facebook who is passionately pro-Assad in Syria. He’s not Syrian , this guy , but he has gone over there and made friends . I was interested in hearing his point-of-view , so I have been checking out his daily propaganda posts and reading his friends’ comments , until now . Enough is enough . He’s slid head-over-heels into clearly anti-American , anti-Semitic , and otherwise anti-tolerant hate speech . It comes mostly from his so-called friends , but he re-posts the crude crap and evidently condones it . As I always say , I can put up with a certain amount of bullshit , but there comes a point where it’s too much .
Which reminds me of applying to King Middle School in Los Angeles in about 1986 . At that time the school wasn’t so good as it later became , but it was within walking distance of my home at the time. Every desk in the school , I think , and every wall , was fully graffitied . That’s a clue . The school was a complete mess , as I recall . An assistant principal interviewed me . She had a tall blonde bee-hive hairdo left over , it seemed , from the 1950s . I had trouble avoiding staring at it . At the end of the interview she said :
” We’re the best school in L.A . And if you don’t believe that , then we don’t want you working here !”
Okay. You remember what I said about putting up with bullshit . So , I stood up at that point , thanked her for taking her time , and I left , still with my sanity and self-respect.
The reason I mention this is that I had a vivid dream last night . I was applying for a teaching position at an L.A. high school . A robo-caller was interviewing me , asking me about credentials, etc. The voice asked me if it were an “Emmanuel” that I had and I said I didn’t remember if it was or not . What’s an Emmanuel , I wondered . Didn’t sound familiar . My credential is a Ryan , one of the last Ryans . I’ve got it for my lifetime . After the Ryan credentials a California teacher’s credential expires periodically unless a teacher jumps through the right hoops . As it should be .
The next day , my cousin , who worked with school principals ( in real life ) , gave me ( in the dream ) a heads-up that the principal of the school where I was applying was quite concerned that I might not be able to do the job since I didn’t seem to know what credential I had . I didn’t know if I had an Emmanuel or not . That could be a problem , she warned .
When I woke up and checked my e-mail , my friend Joe had sent a link for some available grant money related to WWI research that maybe I would be interested in applying for. Again with the applying ! Coincidence ?
So , tying all of this together :
World War One , the War To End All Wars , a U.S. effort to make the world safe for democracy , comes as a link over the internet to me immediately after a dream about concerns related to applying for a teaching job , a job which I don’t , at this point , want , and a 100-year-old war about which my English friend is still bitching regarding how come the Irish wouldn’t support the Brits in the Grand Effort , and , meanwhile , some guy I met once at a friend’s wedding years ago spews over-the-top passionate propaganda via Facebook about the evil empire ( where he lives and receives his government pension , etc . ) , and I’m supposed to, I suppose , smile like a Norwegian and go along with all of this and discuss Trump and California wildfires in the same conversation in a foreign train station while secretly hoping that Angermunde isn’t as bad as it sounds . I don’t remember applying for this situation .I wouldn’t even have the right credentials .
Oh , and Joe told me Emmanuel comes from Hebrew and means “God is with us “. We’d better hope so , people .