Everyday of my miserable work life my first routine would be to spend two hours photocopying all the papers that i will be processing for the day. It is also during this time (4am-6am) that I indulge in the realm of the subconcious — daydreaming, soulsearching, self realization, trance. I have been doing it for almost 2 years now so that i feel the ultraviolet-slash-gamma radiation from the copy machine has already altered my genes and that i will soon become a superhero. That or die of cancer.
My quiet time with the copy machine is almost as serene as those bald guys mummbling in Tibet “mmmmm…mmmmm…mmmmm” meaning “I’v not had sex for more than 40 yrs.” In which another blad Tibetan guy replies “mmmmm…mmmmm…mmmmm” meaning “so have i.”
However, this quiet time can turn into the exact opposite specially when an old man from world war II walks in and calls me back from transcendental state with a huge mighty voice saying “Talk to me old timer.” I open my eyes shivering in fear from the intensity of his scream.
His name is Don.
He is an old man, grumpy and stern, and frank as hell. One time he called the nicest most innocent looking face in the workplace as a “no good trouble maker” and another, a bitch, “a bitch.” Hence, most of my co-workers didnt like him. They called him mad, they called him silly, they called him ugly. He didnt care, he was the mighty Don.
Ah, but he was deemed human by the copy machine. He didnt know how to operate it. At 65 yrs, he’d rather kill it than be its friend. This is where i come in. At 4am, i am Don’s friend. Don had less care for small talk. But that early, he could use some social life …as would i.
His stories were always from World War II. His teenage years, his prime, also his worst nightmare. He told me war was almost like those they showed in the movies. Only, the blood was real, the pain and the grief were real, the heroes were real.
He told stories of how nice Europe was and how pretty the girls were and how one filled his heart. I figured its not as “baduy” as it sounds when it comes from an older man with such wisdom. Also, the fact that he would’ve killed me if i laughed at his love story.
But it wasnt all sentimental stuff. He told me of how one time a corporal was drunk and pointed a platoon coming back to get gas for their tanks towards where the battle was fought. “Men died in that battle” he said. “And when the commander came back he was looking for that drunk son of a bitch.”
He also told me of how back in Europe an enemy sniper killed 20 of their men in 3 days. Their commander, on the third day, the day the 20th man died, told them to get their bazookas and shoot on every room on every floor. “It was a bombing frenzy” He said “..and after that, no one got sniped again.”
Don’s stories amazed me, i would’ve said more but it would make the readers miss the sense of it all. Of how one could go through such things to preserve freedom so that 50 yrs later another could sit in an office with no knowledge of war and make copies for an old man. I figured i wouldnt have to be exposed to much radiation to be a hero afterall. There’s my proof.
…Don retired today. He is 65 yrs old.