From the vault: How D-Day screwed with one 1940s reader's vibes

As the 80th anniversary of D-Day approached, we found this letter hidden beneath the stack of papers on an editor’s desk, somehow sent to the Tucson Sentinel some 65 years before our good ship’s launch in 2009. Crazy huh? To commemorate this Day of Days, I figured I’d run it as a supplement to my “What the Devil won’t tell” columns. Please enjoy this echoing voice from the past.

Dear future Tucson Sentinel editor,

I read the news for the first time since I can’t remember, and then remembered why I don’t read the news.

We invaded France today, June 6, 1944. They’re calling it D-Day. Boy, is it messing with my vibes.

How come we’re enriching the military-industrial complex to spend money overseas, when we have problems right here at home? For instance, my missus is riveting on the swing shift at a defense plant, and I can’t get hot meal served at six like I deserve.

Democracy. Fascism. What’s the difference? I find in general that my life is easier and I feel smarter when I get to say both sides are equally to blame. For the sake of arguing, let’s say our troops find proof there is presently a Holocaust being performed in death camps that will kill 6 million Jews and 6 million other people on top of that. Stipulated.

The U.S. had slavery.

If we didn’t do anything about that historic injustice, why should I be bothered to anything about a current one?

It’s not like anyone invaded anyone over slavery. OK. Wait a second. The North invaded the South to put an end to it. Don’t forget how Doomerism absolves me from any responsibility over anything that isn’t me. I like it that way.

Instead all we have here is government propagandists running around shouting “Nazis are bad.” Blah. Blah. Blah. “Pearl Harbor.” Blah. Blah. Blah.

There’s a pothole on my street, dang it. Who’s gonna fix it? Eisenhower? Nimitz? I don’t think so.

I mean, God. We had the Great Depression for more than 10 years. Bread lines, the Bonus Army and Dust Bowls, that was the 1930s. Now there’s World War II in the 1940s. Sure I voted for Roosevelt the first time but he failed in two important ways. He didn’t 1) stop the progress of time and events or 2) solve all my problems.

What’s that? The New Deal? Pffft. I don’t read the news. So don’t talk to me about the Works Progress Administration, the Civil Conservation Corps, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance or the 30-year fixed mortgage.

My life has failed to be perfect and someone’s gotta be to blame.

In fact, from what I remember, 1929 was a pretty great year, right up until October. So none of this would have happened if Herbert Hoover was still president. Prove otherwise.

At least Hoover isn’t in a wheelchair. We need a president dripping with machismo and virility. That’s not a guy in a wheelchair. What’s next? Do we elect an old president? No one with a long history of experience should be near power. The job is far too important for wisdom. No one with life’s circumstances that taught him (always him) empathy should be anywhere near the White House. Empathy only counts if it’s directed at me and me alone.

Against this backdrop. I turn on the radio today and hear that the invasion of France has begun. Then there was a commercial break. Then back to the news: The war was still going on! An hour past and America still hadn’t established a beachhead, liberated Paris or taken Berlin.

I hear people saying the fighting in France may go straight through June 16th? Really? Ten days? Next thing, they’re going to be telling us to wait a year for the war to end. It’s been going on for more than three years. It’s a forever war.

Just last night (Monday), I sat in front of the radio and listened to
Dagwood and Blondie Bumstead get themselves into a real fix. A half-hour later, they solved it. I expect resolution to all story lines in the time it takes for our intrepid radio couple to resolve a plot and not one second more.

Sorry. It’s just how fast the world works, at the speed of 1944.

No, none of this would have happened under Hoover.

Why are we even in France? Did we spring to the defense of Ethiopia? The colonialist Italians killed almost 100,000 indigenous civilians. Just last year we let Italy join the Allies. What’s really the difference
between 12 million Jews and Slavs and 100,000 Africans, other than

We’re there because Adolf Hitler is a bad guy? FDR is a bad guy. He interred the Japanese. What’s the difference between interring 100,000 people here and enslaving 100 million in Europe, aside from 999,900,000.

Bad is bad and there’s no such thing as worse, not in this modern age.

Don’t try to convince me otherwise. I don’t have time. 

life is so busy. There are newspapers, and radios and telegrams and men selling encyclopedias right at your door.  It’s like the information never ceases. Where’s Anzio? Where are the Solomons? Who are the Sullivan Brothers? It’s all B-17s, P-51s, Liberty Ships, blackouts (don’t get me started on blackouts) and Charlie Chaplin isn’t cool anymore.

What days
can’t I drive my Nash. I don’t know! They should have never ended Prohibition!

When I just want to be left
alone to watch Tom and Jerry at a matinee, I get nothing but newsreels. Enough already about acts that will no doubt be labeled “war crimes” committed all over the
world. It’s a non-stop barrage of propaganda about the heroism of our boys overseas,
fighting their way up Italy and across the Pacific. I hear about the French
putting their lives on the line to fight off German occupiers.

What do I care? I’m 4F on account of bone spurs in one of my feet. Can’t remember which. So how am I affected if the Rangers are climbing Point du Hoc on a suicide mission to take out some artillery as they risk certain death?

Risk? Talk to me about risk. My wages never go up because of the stupid Office of Price Administration. Prices don’t go up so I don’t really fall behind but I never get ahead either. My vibes demand better.

Sacrifice. Why bother?

Sure I grew up with guys who died in places like Guadalcanal and Sicily. OK, fine. That is one kind of sacrifice. Think about mine, though. The other day I went to the corner grocer and tried to get
coffee. There was none. Fine! I said. How about butter? Nope.

not like it matters. My wife is too busy
working her job to turn butter or coffee into anything I can put in my mouth. Oh, I have to learn to cook. Right. Now we’re talking sacrifice.

The world is
changing and I don’t like it. Why can’t it be like the country I
remember as a kid, when I had the occasional chore but no real
responsibilities? Ever since I grew up and left home, it’s just been one gotta-do after another and I know exactly whom to blame.

I was a care-free kid under Hoover. I’m an adult under Roosevelt. Yeah, I know where to point the finger.

And this war keeps going on.

Protecting democracy. What do I care about democracy? That’s why in November of 1944, I plan on going down to a polling place to cast a ballot against Roosevelt, to peacefully remove the sitting president of the United States. Democracy. What’s that?

Don’t talk to me about any of this. It will just make me madder.

Here’s what I want you to talk about: My vibes are all wrong. Life isn’t play time, I have responsibilities. I can’t get butter. The coffee won’t make itself. The wife is working. And people are asking that I think bigger than myself.

Please fix this. All of it. Make me serene and happy in a yesterday I never have to leave, facing a tomorrow I’m free to ignore. Have this war over by dinner time. Make my vibes better.

It’s what Hoover would do.


I.M. Unassoal