Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Hands Across the Water

Today while I was picking up some printouts from the laser printer, a co-worker asked me how good my World War II history knowledge was, which I thought was an interesting question, so I said, "Hit or miss. Why?"

He wanted to know what was the origin of the phrase, "Hands across the water," specifically whether it was a slogan employed during the war, to promote aid for Great Britain during the Blitz, or whether it referred to a post-war economic aid program.

The only thing I knew for sure about the phrase was that I remembered it from the lyrics to "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey," the Paul McCartney song. That song came out in 1971, and my mom bought the 45, and I used to make her play it for me a lot. It might have been the first pop single I was aware of, certainly one of the first. I was 3, going on 4. My mom was 30, which is, of course, 8 years younger than I am now, today. So I didn't know anything about WWII in connection to that phrase, but I knew it made me feel old. Or behind schedule, or something. Pushing 40 and living like a bum, a waggabon, as Krazy Kat would say. At one time of indeterminate protraction in my deluded life, I believed I was on some kind of regular person's trajectory, toward the whole fambly man schmeer ... not that I'd trade places with some parallel-universe self. For one thing, I'd probably (still) have a goatee in that reality. Seriously folks, if this is all there is, I'll take it, and all that stuff. But I can't help wondering sometimes if there aren't some rites of passage I called in sick for at some point.

Or else maybe, like Herriman's "Krazy Kat" supporting character, Bum Bill Bee, I'm just a pilgrim on the road to nowhere. A really lazy and self-obsessed one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.