YOU HAD ME AT "HA"!

from HOPE to HARPO - my love affair with funny!

Marilyn Sands

Marilyn Sands
Location
los angeles, California,
Birthday
July 03
Bio
Marilyn Sands is a Former 80's Stand-up Comic, her Essays can be found on salon.com & her unsold Screenplays in her Top Drawer...next to the hard liquor! "Author of 2 Works of Fiction....my Diary & my Resume"! ha ha All my Articles are Copyrighted & yes, I'll know!

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MARCH 12, 2012 2:10PM

"HIDDEN PASSAGEWAY" - Horror UNEARTHED IN AMERICA!

Rate: 5 Flag

Washington, D.C. 1960's

While trying to get pregnant & after working for the Government for 5 years; I went looking for a fun Job as a Receptionist at an upscale Beauty Salon in Washington, D.C.  The woman in charge told me to follow her to the back of the Salon & then pointed to the steep steps below.

  Nothing in my life prepared me for what I was about to see.

stairs1  

The massive Eagle atop the Swastika opened my eyes to the basement room filled with hundreds of other Nazi symbols; culminating into an immediate vision of hate.

This wasn't the lair of a private collector; this was a follower paying tribute to an ugly passage of time; directed, produced & starring Hitler.

The only person in that room was a large broad shouldered Aryan looking man with such a cold demeanor; his unmerciful stare sent shivers.  Without noticeably sweeping the room with my eyes; the shocking military decor suddenly sucked the air out of the room & me.

Life-size portraits of brown uniformed officers looked down on us; as the owner asked preliminary questions for my Receptionist interview.

Trying to keep my undigested lunch in its proper container; I kept my attention on the business at hand; though there was no question about it - there was an Elephant in the room.

Knowing full well I'd never return; I had to play the part of an eager, competent job seeker - all the while, not being repulsed & frightened for my life.

Never before had I found myself smack in the face of anti-Semitism to this extreme & had no prior experience to draw on.  Terrified with the situation at hand; I cotton-mouthed my answers & would've paid anything for a sip of water.

How do I get out of here?  Where is the door again?  And why does it seem there are just walls & no door?

Every question he asked prolonged the agony; as I longed for the open air & freedom.  Doesn't he know; this is killing me - or maybe he does & he's enjoying the show.

So, I began to visualize my escape; taking those steps two at a time; if my feet didn't fail me in fright.  Couldn't tell you the passage of time - a minute could've felt like an hour; and who can remember the moments of fear so long ago - you'll just have to imagine it for me.  I'm here & that's all that counts & I haven't applied at any Hair Salons lately.

What I was left with after this experience was: There are people living secret lives with bigotry & anti-Semitism in their hearts that  will never be exposed in public & for some sick reason gives them power & pleasure.

Twenty years later; when I was a new Stand-up Comic - I vowed to myself that I would never make a Hitler Joke & I'm certainly not going to start now.  Well, okay!  Now I remember; that woman in charge told me to take a Third Reich! 

Too Soon?  Yes; try never!

 

 

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Comments

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Thanks so much Toritto! Having lived in Germany for 3 years in the 70's - amazingly; this memory never surfaced. And it's a good thing. Enjoyed Germany a lot!
They are out there... I once did consulting work for a young kid from Kentucky who got his degree from Stanford and his partner a Palestinian American who went to Penn State. Didn't have a clue about their mutual bigotry until I went to a Superbowl Party... that Sunday evening had a very special and ironic end, but that's another story. The only real life Nazi I ever met was a Finn in 1975. In his late forties he was a former member of the Nazi youth under Hitler.
You would be surprised how much hate is out there. Why do you think we have that rule of "talking politics or religion is improper?" It is not that people have different views, but we are very tribal and would rather hide the hate inside. Excellent piece, thank for writing this. R
Thanks so much jmac! Prejudice can be revealed very quickly - and sometimes even in our good friends. But "hidden" is insidious & there's no telling where, when or if - it will surface.
Thanks so much Thoth! So great to have your view on this! The sad part about prejudice is - sometimes people aren't aware they have them. Or in denial.
First mistake: Never go into a strangers basement. First rule of survival: always make sure you know where the Exit is. Truly a horrible experience! I've met them...they are the worst kind of bigots. To begin with they are stupid and secondly they are inhumane cowards who, in trying to re-write history, make their cause even more hideous than it already is.
Oh the hate is there.
Ande - Thanks so much for stopping by. I don't ordinarily go into stranger's basements - but this was a fancy business establishment - and the stark contrast from the bustling ground floor Beauty Salon & someone's Horror Chamber below; was indeed shocking & replusive.
See it was so repulsive - I screwed up the spelling!
Sheila7575 - Nice to hear from you. For me - it definitely was too close for comfort!
Oh, I wasn't TRYING TO get pregnant very long! ha ha