“Serve the People”

I’ve cranked up the heat in my cold attic office to do some writing. Its a bit of a luxury but my eight loyal readers are worth it.

I began by tinkering with a proposed next column for the Duluth Reader. I didn’t send it in last week on the theory that I probably didn’t have it in me to write one every week. In the old days I was an every other week contributor. We’ll see if it sees the light of day.

My excuse for not being quite so productive was supposed to be my book writing. That has yet to come to pass so my current excuse is the same as it was during the holidays – family. My grandsons were here yesterday and we took them to see Paddington 2 in the morning and I took them roller skating in the afternoon. The movie was great and yet another in a long line of wonderful family movies in recent years. As for the skating (which seemed warmer than an outing in the Chalet at Chester Bowl) I managed an hour of it without a single spill. The last time I was on roller-skates was about twenty-five years ago. Not bad for being 67.

I was about to go down and practice my French but noticed that my son had sent me a text message. I went all last year without getting one from him so I had to check it out. I got a good laugh out of it.

Here’s the back story:

Last summer as Claudia and I traveled through China I went shopping at some tourist traps and bought him a Tshirt for Christmas. They are called “Obamao” shirts in China and five years ago were banned by the government. I only just discovered that googling for a picture of it for the blog. Obviously the ban didn’t last.

There have been many iterations of this shirt but the one above looks like the one I bought. I had no idea what it said but gambled that whatever it said would not offend my son or America or Obama. My son’s line of scientific work puts him in contact with countless Chinese speakers. Well here’s what he wrote me:

“I just got the shirt translated. It says ‘serve the people, Chairman Mao.’ My Chinese friend then told me it’s a running joke that Obama is a communist.”

I wrote back:

“Very funny. With Trump in office that seems like a good option.”