No Tip Trotsky

February 14th, 2014 § 0 comments

Last week, a philosophical HG posted his thoughts about defeat and the Denver Broncos Super Bowl debacle. HG quoted the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky’s remark about defeated adversaries and “the dustbin of history.” BSK, the love of HG’s life, said: “I am sure you are the only person in the United States who linked Leon Trotsky with Peyton Manning.” Made HG think about some Trotsky connections. HG’s acquaintance and dining companion, Bernard Wolfe, the late novelist and science fiction writer, was Trotsky’s secretary-bodyguard in 1937, some three years before Trotsky was assassinated in Mexico City by Ramon Mercader, a pick axe wielding Stalin agent. Wolfe wrote an interesting novel about Trotsky’s Mexico City exile: The Great Prince Died. In the novel, Victor Rostov (the Trotsky character) expresses regrets about some of his murderous acts following the Bolshevik rise to power. (HG believes the real life Trotsky was devoid of what he would term “bourgeouis sentimentalities.”). During a three month period in 1917, Trotsky lived on Vyse Avenue in the East Bronx, a few blocks away from where HG’s parents lived with their two year old son, Bernard (HG didn’t come along until 1929, an unwelcome surprise for his Mom). HG’s father saw Trotsky dining in a neighborhood restaurant. A waiter told him that Trotsky would not leave a tip. Claimed it would demean the waiter, a member of the proletariat, and turn him into a lackey. Trotsky was not a favorite of the restaurant staff. When HG was a youngster, HG and his father paused to listen to soap box (when was the last time you saw a soap box?) orators in Union Square Park. A fiery Yiddish speaker called Trotsky: “Ah mench mit ah goldeneh kup.” (A man with a golden head). HG’s father, a confirmed David Dubinsky/ILGWU/ labor union socialist, despised Trotsky and all communists. Remembering Trotsky’s murder, he said: “Trotsky was lucky a Bronx waiter didn’t stick a fork in his golden head.”


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