Now that the nights are drawing in (and the telly is on the blink) I find myself spending much more time looking back, contemplating my life and experiences and wondering what it was all about. Perhaps the fact that I am 82 has something to do with it. I don’t mean the everyday niggles and concerns that beset us (ie will MM apologise to the Royal Family; should the railways be nationalised?), No, I am talking about the really Big Issues that assail us at 3 am when we can’t sleep.
One such train of thought that has intrigued me lately is the uncanny resemblance existing between the life of the late, lamented German leader Adolf Hitler and my good self. Of course there are some obvious discrepancies and differences in our respective fates, and yet there remains something of a parallel between the two lives that is almost uncanny. Now before you totally reject this hypothesis as the ravings of an ex-29th entry Apprentice who has been on the whisky, let me crave your indulgence and consider the following facts. I think you will agree that there “are more things in Heaven and Earth … than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.
Lets start with names. We both changed them early on in life. He began with Schicklgruber while I was born Peter Thomas Watson – the later name change took place when I was adopted in 1941.
Before the 1st world war AH lived in Munich and Linz, striving to be an artist but failing twice to gain entry into the Academy of Fine Arts. I feel his pain. In the early 1950’s I learned to play the recorder (they were quite popular then) but I too never made it to Chetham’s School of Music nor did I ever play solo in any of the great orchestras. Life can be cruel.
In 1914 AH enlisted in the German Army becoming an HQ runner and serving until the war ended in 1918. At the age of 16 I also enlisted into my country’s armed forces, preferring the sedentary occupation of a clerk. Adolf was quite a success in his chosen branch, being awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class in December 1914 and the 1st class in 1918. I was not quite able to match such shining accomplishments but I did manage to make it as far as senior man at Credenhill before they took it away from me for getting caught carrying out night raids on the National Servicemen! On the other hand, both Adolf and I made it to Corporal, the launching pads for both his and Napoleon’s subsequent careers. So far, so spooky. I hope you can discern the pattern taking place here.
It gets a little hazy from here on in, and perhaps we need to exercise a little poetic licence with regard to my hypothesis.. Following the war AH took up politics and joined the German Workers’ Party in 1919. I, on the other hand, took to reading the ‘Daily Telegraph’. He soon knocked them into shape and became a noted public speaker. The opportunity to harangue the masses rather passed me by, but on the occasion of my daughter’s wedding to a policeman I was called upon to make a speech to a room full of plod.
In 1923 AH took part in the famous ‘Beer Hall’ Putsch, a failed coup, resulting in his being sentenced to imprisonment in Landsberg Castle. As for me, life once again thwarted me. I did indeed plan a coup but – to my chagrin – no-one turned up! As a result I did not do porridge at Her Majesty’s pleasure, although I have received two tickets for speeding in the last year.
Adolf recovered and went on to become a famous Dictator, a man wielding immense power over his people. I would love to emulate him but, come on, I am a married man and no married man wields anything like that kind of power. Lets keep this theory within the bounds of possibility.
In the end AH resorted to suicide. I must admit I have contemplated it from time to time, and perhaps I had better decide soon before Putin makes the decision for me!
So there we have it. A viable theory or a madman’s ramblings? You must make your own mind up. Perhaps I should consider growing a moustache!