The ODD ANGLE
By MacCLURE • ENDURANCE TEST Since one o'clock in the morning of Saturday last, quite a lot of us have been engaged—more or less continuously—in an armchair game calling for little more physical exertion than the twisting of a radio knob or two and—listening-in. After four and a half days' play at this innocent-sounding occupation I find I have smoked my full month's supply of tobacco, used up the whole of my fortnight's tea and sugar ration, burned a fortnight's supply of
hard-to-obtain coal, used all my own (and borrowed all my friends') aspirins, swelled my electric power bill up to a frightening total, depreciated my radio's value by about 50 per cent, done very little useful work of any kind, earned no money, left the cats unfed, the phone unanswered, my mail unread, and— stacked up a lot of future trouble for myseU. In addition, my quack tells me I am a nervous wreck and that the last thing I should do is to "celebrate," adding, "Not in the condition you are in, Mr. MacClure." Just how many other participants in that radio-knob-turning game of "Let's wait up and see" are in like mental condition I cannot say—all I can say is I have a personal score to settle with Hirohito, for he and his dilly-dallying crew are to blame for the whole of my troubles.
• A WHILE TO WAIT The whole business started aftei you had been to the pictures, hac had supper, and gone to bed or Friday night. Having a sort o: hunch that something " was doing ■ hung on till the 1 a.m. 8.8.C. broad cast which informed us that Japar had offered to surrender—condition ally; not that any of them worriec over Tokyo's one reservation. No to us it was all over—finish. So wc thought. And, thinking thusly ] naturally told the policeman on his lonely beat. That the news cheerec; him greatly I do know, for, as we talked, a suspicious-looking lad passed us with ladder on his shoulder and a huge full sack on his back, and stopping him the happy constable tpld him the glad tidings, even picking up for the overburdened one a nifty little jemmy he'd dropped in his excitement. "I got a brother in it—prisoner of war in Jap. hands," he remarked to me as we hurried after the suspiciouslooking one to return to him two or three little trinklets and a bracelet that had slipped out of the sack on 6his back. Gawd, won't his missus be happy now." From one in the morning till three was rather a long wait, so, stepping into Queen Street I joined the excited little knots who had, even at that early hour, collected to talk about the meaning— and the wonder—of it all. As we talked we naturally told each passing serviceman—Yanks, mostly. At 3 a.m. we listened in again, and, following the broadcast again found our way into Queen Street, listened to yip-pays and the cat-calls of many more Yanks and their lady partners and then—waited for a third dose of 8.8.C., at five pip-emma. Followed quickly (after a phone call or two) the six, seven and eight o'clock Saturday morning broadcasts. By that time nearly all of you had shared our great secret. What you or we didn't know wasn't worth knowing. It "wouldn't be long now." Certainly not. Only the best part of four more days, exasperating days, deadly days, in which all of us knew what we would like to do with Togo, Hirohito—and the whole bunch of 'em. Sure. From the safety of our armchairs, that is. • THEN—IT WAS ALL OVER And so the days passed—Saturdee, Sundee, Mondee, Tuesdee, and—yesterdee morning. And then came eleven o'clock and Mr. Attlee's announcement of the great event and all its tremendous implications. Came our Peter's ever-to-be-remem-bered oration, and the Australian Prime Minister's speech and Mr. Mackenzie King's and President Truman's and the deafening din of all cf Auckland's fed-up-with-the-war citizens. For who wasn't? It was all over. Japan's Army, Navy and Air Force had, as far as we were concerned, ceased to exist. The nearly four years' threat her existence had meant to us has dissipated into thin air. Some thirty countries and major islands occupied by her forces are "liberated." The many millions of our servicemen's lives are out of danger. The end of World War Number' Two had come! It was a time for rejoicing—for everybody. Or almost everybody. During the war most of us stay-at-homes (I said most of us) had had a wonderful time, thank you very much. Money had never been so plentiful. Over the radio we had "met" a thousand and one nice people who between | advertising wonderful bargains had worked in a heart-breaking song or two, or had had their name broadcast as having contributed something or other to something for patriotic purposes. As a war it had been a gcod war for making money, for a name for yourself on the home front. And why not? Now it is over and there may not be another one for years. Hirohito will not worry about that—he has had enough of wars. Peter will not worry over that, nor you nor I. Nobody's worrying—least of all those ex-prisoners of war, our servicemen and our Merchant Navy lads. • IT'S UP TO US NOW Here and there, on jungle trail and in the desert, in countless graves spread over the continents and in the depths of the ocean are the remains of countless thousands of once fine fellows, finer a thousand times than you and me (who to-day are probably not quite sober enough, anyway, to understand) who have ceased to worry over anything at all —even over Hirohito's dilly-dallying, or even what we do with the world they freed for us. "That, my friends, is entirely up to you"—l believe they would one and all say—if they could. All we seem to be able to say this wonderful day of peace, of victory and deliverance, is: "Fill 'em up again, Mister Public-house." And, being Peace Day, Victory over Japan Day and all that, I suppose that is ifetural, too. For us. Not being, as I said previously, too sober to-day to get tne right hang of it all.
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The ODD ANGLE, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 193, 16 August 1945
The ODD ANGLE Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 193, 16 August 1945
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