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Real-Life Nephew Of My Uncle Marvin

A shout-out to the inimitable Scott (Coleman) Miller on this Fourth of July weekend for his response after hearing about protestors in London’s Parliament Square attempting to tear down a statue of Winston Churchill: “Wait until they hear about the other guy.” Miller’s dad, Artie, still going strong at 94, had some experience with the “other guy,” having parachuted behind enemy lines to liberate the concentration camps. Artie doesn’t talk much about it. Still, it’s interesting to think what the Schwarze Leben Zählen movement might look like today, had Artie not faked his age to serve his country. Miller’s long-time pal Tom Myers occasionally theorizes that “every subsequent male generation are bigger pussies than their fathers.” It’s a hard one to argue, though a bit daunting when I consider some of the pussies I grew up with. Personally, I couldn’t give a shit about statues, save the one of Robert Burns in Central Park. That’s the only statue-hill I’m dying on.

Independence Day, in all its hotdog-eating glory, is the last great American reminder to the world that we still plan to go down swinging. Most of that swinging has been between one another of late, though it’s still inspiring to see that our internal scuffles can have rippling global effects. It’s like the photo I saw after September 11th, with a crowd of Afghan youths burning an American flag, several of them wearing Spiderman t-shirts. We may be crap purveyors, but that crap has legs. This has been the traditional cycle: endeavor, fight, conquer, get fat, produce crap. These days it’s more likely a “crap app” but the concept still applies. July 4th is also a uniquely American holiday in its ill timing. That fireworks are featured prominently and at the peak of California’s dry-brush season seems appropriately counter-intuitive. As do starred and striped shorts and heaping mouths-full of potato salad.

I lived for a long while on Brooklyn’s Henry Street in Cobble Hill, not far from George Washington’s old stomping grounds. Just a few blocks down was the birthplace of Winston Churchills’ mother, Jennie Spencer-Churchill. It was an unremarkable brownstone with a plaque outside commemorating its significance. Churchill’s strong American ties and his particular fondness for New York made him OK in my book. He famously said “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have tried everything else.” It’s a clever quip and reminder of the lost art of the backhanded compliment. For this alone, I’d leave his statue up. But like the sign says, “Who Asked Me?” And wait until they hear about the other guy ..

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  1. miller wrote:

    Happy 4th and thanks for the shout out, Rick.
    In the interest of truth though, Art didn’t fake his age, he signed up at 18. A month later he was in the 82nd. Then all those guys (and gals) sailed over there and helped out Europe for a spell. And now the survivors are all in their 90’s and playing gin at their respective Legion halls. Or something like that.

    Meanwhile when I was 18 I was passing the time making out with Sherrie Hiller in Art’s old Buick LeSabre, while listening to Bob Seger’s Night Moves. So I was doing my part to prove Tom right.

    Saturday, July 4, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  2. admin wrote:

    Little too tall, could’ve used a few pounds ..

    I’m sticking with my faked his age story. I’ve convinced myself of it at this point.

    Saturday, July 4, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

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