A Disfiguring Education

I was watching a documentary about the Mad Bomber.  They were talking about his childhood.  There had been an accident with one of the first bombs he had ever made.  His grandfather, who had taught the boy how to make bombs, made a mistake with some of the dangerous chemicals they were working with.  The mixture had exploded in his face.  The narration explaining all this was intercut with grainy 8mm footage from the family’s home movies, as well a dramatic re-enactment of the accident.  The grandfather’s muffled screams could be heard coming from another room of the cramped, dark little apartment, while a little boy cowered in a corner of the hallway, pressing his hands as tight as he could over his ears.

The grandfather refused to see a doctor after the incident, fearing that their bomb-making activities would be discovered.  He had been left with deep, disfiguring gashes on his face, and he had been nearly blinded by the chemicals that had gotten into his eyes.  Thereafter he used a pair of antique pocket binoculars to see, the kind where the lenses fold back and the thin little case snaps shut.  Sepia-toned photographs showed him standing in the sun, filmy cataracts over his eyes and his face spotted with black scars.  He was a disturbing sight.


12 thoughts on “A Disfiguring Education

  1. It was dream I had earlier today, another case of me falling asleep with the TV on. My wife was watching this thing on the History Channel about the 100 most influential gadgets of all time, and in my dream this was number 3, which didn't make much sense, seeing that it's neither a gadget nor influential. I woke up and told her about the dream and asked if it had been number 3. She laughed. She was like, “What!? No.” Then she told me that I kept groaning and yelling, “No! No!” in my sleep. I remember doing that in the dream when they showed the grandfather's face. It really freaked me out.


  2. Yes, my main use of the TV is also to fall asleep in front of. (Is that the best possible word order? No matter.)

    But what I find is that I cannot fall asleep in front of a mediocre or worse TV programme – or DVD. Deriding them keeps me awake. I fall asleep when it is a bit good sometimes very good. Why is this? I think its goodness is like a mother's sweet lullaby. All's well with the world, for this movie is a worthy representation of it. The director and his team are on form, making their point competently. There is nothing I need to do, everything is being adequately looked after ….. ZZZzzzzz


  3. @T. Roger: Hmmm, now I'm gonna have to look stuff up on the Zodiac killer.

    @Vincent: Somewhere back in the deleted past on here, I mentioned that I used to have an alarm clock that would play CDs. One time I tried a little experiment. I put a collection of very mellow, very soft and “dream-like” songs on a CD and then I set it to play 2 hours after I went to sleep. I turned the volume low so it would wake me up. I wanted to see if it would influence my dreams. Nothing… Anytime I've tried to deliberately influence my dreams it's been like that. For instance, if I were to doze off in front of the TV today, and I went “Hey, I'll leve it on the History Channel and see if it makes me have more weird dreams.” or maybe tried some other channel to see what it would do, it wouldn't work. It seems that the influential factor is always peripheral. As soon as I focus my attention there, it slips away.

    As for falling asleep in front of the TV, anything too interesting or two awful easily distracts me, and I had a hard time falling asleep as it is. Bland background noise seems to work best for me, say…QVC selling paper clips and vitamin supplements.

    @Rev: Really!?

    I think I'd go broke long before I made you rich. We could work on making me super duper rich first and then you could get modestly and yet quite satisfyingly rich being my “pshrink!”


  4. Just as soon as you make your first billion you have an appointment in my office at 10 am sharp. Don't be late! if you bring the family along I'll give you the group rate.


  5. I almost always fall asleep watching “How It's Made” on the Science Channel. But I never have any dreams about making things. You'd think I'd dream about vacuum forming machines and computer driven lathes. Instead I dream about people defecting to the Russians and buying Volkswagens. Odd.


  6. See ,that's why in our household there is no tv. My husband and I have separate computers, and we watch movies on mine, and whenever I get too stressed out at work, I either reread the Lord of the Rings (preferably the Fellowship of the Ring), or watch it. Or just watch a soothing thriller with old abandoned houses that just got new tenants that don't know about it's creepy past, or something about orphans. Never fails to soothe my nerves.


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