This morning, my best friend Tracy and I were having our weekly Kansas City/Austin phone communication when she said,
“Hey, do you know what today is?”
“Uh”, April 30?”
“Yeah, but you know what else today is?”
Reaching back into the vast wasteland of knowledge in my brain, I could not come up with any significant attachments to today’s date. “You’re going to have to tell me” I said.
“Well… it’s the 60th anniversary of Hitler’s suicide!” she exclaimed proudly.
“How odd.” I said, “They didn’t notate that on my Missouri Conservationist’s calendar…”
If it seems strange that my friend, an apparently normal 47-soon-to-be-48-year-old first grade teacher, would know that today marks the 60th anniversary of Hitler’s demise and be excited about that fact, let me give you a little background: Most people might think about Hitler and Fascist Germany occasionally. Tracy thinks about them every day. One day she might be thinking about Hitler’s march across Europe, the next day she may be reliving the horrors of the concentration camps. You see, Tracy believes she used to be in a concentration camp in a former life. Yes, friends, she thinks she’s a reincarnated, persecuted, gassed-or-starved-to-death Jew.
As proof of this former existence, she will point to the tattoo on her wrist. “See where it is? That’s where the prisoners had their tattoos. On the wrist.” Never mind that the tattoo Tracy chose back in the 1970s is of a pretty butterfly and a beautiful purple iris. It was the 70s and you just didn’t go around requesting that the artist tattoo a series of numbers on your wrist.
“You say you want what? Numbers on your wrist? Like a Jew? Hey,I don’t do that shit, OK? How about a nice peace sign or something?”
These days it’s different. Today you could totally have numbers tattooed on your wrist. Today you could have numbers tattooed on your wrist plus starve yourself down to a skeleton and live your life as a persecuted, reincarnated Jewish person and no one would bat an eye. People alter their physical selves every day. Some people even have their bodies changed so they can look like their favorite animal – Humanimals, they’re called. You’ve seen the documentaries – the guy who looks like his pet lizard, the guy who had whiskers implanted into his cheeks so he could be more like a cat. Freaks, some people call them; free spirits, others say.
All I can say is this: I know a woman who thinks she once died in a concentration camp. She has a couple of nice tattoos on her wrist and knows the date that Hitler killed himself. Some might find this a little freaky, but I do not. She’s my free-spirited best friend who I love dearly. I’m just glad she’s not a Humanimal.