January 24, 2003

Do you remember that old commercial for Radio Free Europe?

The one with somebody, probably someone well known, but I have no idea, singing, "They say the neon lights shine bright on Broadway . . ."?

Why were they showing that commercial in the U.S.?

Americans couldn't listen to RFE without a shortwave radio. All it did was make me feel sorry for Hungarians. I don't know why Hungarians, but it was the Hungarians about whom I was most concerned.

[Post-publication addendum (February 20): I remember now! About the Hungarians, I mean. Why it was the Hungarians of all the captive peoples of Eastern Europe about whom I was most concerned. There was a family of Hungarian origin living in my town who escaped Budapest during the post-revolution invasion by the Soviet Union in 1956, local legend having them swimming across some river with the kids on the parents' backs in order to get out of the country. I don't know if the story is true, but as I recall it now, it sounds plausible enough. I'm happy for them, even though one of the kids in the family, a guy about a year older than me, treated me like crap during junior and senior high school. If memory serves, and it probably doesn't, after he graduated he went on to some technical school to learn how to repair refrigerators or something like that. Way to go, Steve! Hope life is treating you well.]


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