Thursday 18 April 2024

What Are The Chances

 So, when I was a mid teen I watched “The Great Escape” and became interested in books about the second world war, prison camps and books about the men who fought in the wars.My dad was shot down over Germany while on a bombing raid and spent the next three years in German POW camps. Thankfully he was a pilot and the Germans considered pilots to be gentlemen so they got to be interred in Stalag Luft camps which means they were run by the German air force and received better treatment than captured soldiers.

That isn’t to say he had it easy, but it was easier. The bread was only made with one half sawdust to flour mix and they were pretty much left to their own devices…more or less. Dad didn’t like to talk about his experiences very much so I didn’t get a lot of first hand info. I asked him once if he ever dug an escape tunnel and he told me that the older guys (over 25) did that kind of stuff and the rest of them helped in any way they could. I kind of wish I had bugged him more or that he would have been more willing to talk about his experiences. I would give anything now if he could just talk about anything at all now.

One of the books that I read involved a Japanese submarine. The sub had been patrolling the pacific trying it’s best to sink any allied ship at all when the commander of the sub got a fishbone stuck in his throat. If not surgically removed the man would have died a horrible death so it was decided that the sub would surface and surrender to the first allied ship they saw so the commander could be saved. I have since learned that a Japanese commander would prefer death over surrender but the author obviously believed that teenage boys would like his version of the story.

Now, I have never been on a submarine unless you count the one at West Edmonton Mall, and certainly not been in any kind of war unless you count a thumb war. However, that book and the plight of the Japanese commander convinced me of the foolishness of eating fish unless it has been breaded and fast frozen by Captain Highliner. Even then I feel that I am living on the edge. Inevitably in a long life you get offered fish by a host who doesn’t know the dangers of eating fish or you figure that billions of people eat fish and don’t die a horrible, painful death. Every single time I have had fish they has always been a bone that is very needle like and I know that without constant vigilance I would surely be dead.

I find myself in Lisbon Portugal. I safely made it through Amsterdam and Madrid without having any fish, but today I couldn’t resist ordering fish and chips. I found seven or eight needle like fishbones. I am hoping that I got them all, but it is very possible that this note will be the last thing I write. I might be lucky enough to run into an American battleship with a top notch thoracic surgeon, but what are the chances? 

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