Wednesday, March 08, 2006

(59) Not knowing right from left, foot from foot, front from back, black from white, right from wrong, so slapping the sides. And liberty.

On the morning of July 3rd 1990 I was pulling on a white sock and this prompted the memory of a crazy question that I had asked my mother in my early teens:
"How do you tell which sock is for your right foot and which for your left?"
She said that socks were for either foot, with an accompanying look which conveyed that the intelligence behind the inquiry did not impress her.

That made me recall an incident from the late 1960s.

I had been living at R.A.F. Hemswell in Lincolnshire and must have been about eight. I was walking down the street one day when I suddenly stopped a youth walking towards me, whom I did not know at all, and asked him how you distinguished your left side from your right.
Instantly he stopped and alternately slapped his sides saying "Left side, right side."
He then turned around and said "Right side, left side."

The following evening I took a flight from London to Johannesburg.
I had accepted an invite to compete in the South African Open chess tournament, a decision which was to attract some negative comment.
I thought Apartheid evil and indefensible but, against the majority view, I dissaproved of sanctions and was even to later write letters defending my stance (see Entry 52.)

A film called Glory was shown.
It was about a regiment comprised entirely of black soldiers in the American Civil War, and I had seen a few clips from it before.
In an early scene a white Sergeant asks a black recruit if he can tell right from left.

Upon being told that he cannot the Sergeant slaps him on front and back then stamps on one foot saying "Right", and is about to stamp on the other when the recruit hurriedly moves it away.

Thus is the lesson absorbed.

The flight left on July 4th: the date of the American Declaration of Independence.
... ... ...
On the evening of July 4th 2002 I logged on to the Internet Chess Club website.
A "shout" went out on the screen, visible to all of the hundreds of members, the majority of whom would have been Americans.
It joked about rebellion against the British.

I "shouted" back a remark about all being forgiven.
Shortly after I was sent a good-natured personal message, visible only to myself, from a guest.
It remarked on American independence.

ICC members all had their own personal chosen handles, mine being Parsifal, but it was also possible for anyone to log on and use the facilities for free for just half an hour at a time, as a guest.

Guests were each allocated a number as they logged on.

The tell was from Guest 1776.
I then pointed out to him his allocated number, the significance of which had not previously struck him.
... ... ...
And on the afternoon of June 16th 2006 I, out of curiousity, entered this into the Google search engine - James Plasketts Coincidence diary.
I got back , as the first of only two hits, a hit on a car boot sale at Hemswell!!

AOL Search Web - · List of businesses in Doncaster UK beginning with h 2 · Open in a new browser window . lr=&restrict=&topQuery=hemswell+car+boot... -

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