His novel worries over these possibilities in a tone that is marvelously ruminative and sorrowful -- the tone of a saddened older man recalling his own childhood, and, then again, a scholar's tone, as if, in his maturity, the narrator has become a dignified college professor, accustomed to nailing every factoid briskly into place. The narrator thinks back to a summer evening of 1940, when he is 7 years old. He and his brother Sandy have gone to sleep, while, in another room, his mom and dad and cousin Alvin listen to a radio broadcasting live reports from the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
The Republicans at the actual convention that year nominated a lawyer named Wendell Willkie to run against Franklin Roosevelt, which was pretty much a doomed thing to do. Roth's narrator recalls a different outcome. The Republicans go 20 ballots and cannot settle on anybody at all. Instead, the name of Charles A. Lindbergh, the aviator, is entered into nomination. Lindbergh, in real life as in the novel, famously admired Hitler and even accepted a medal from Hitler's government. He looked on the American Jews as a pretty suspicious group, all in all. Even so, millions of other Americans admired him. In the Republican Party, some politicians did think of running him for president. Roth has not invented this possibility out of thin air. And with the propeller of "The Plot Against America" already twirling, the novel taxis down the runway, and off we go.
Lindbergh makes a surprise appearance at the convention. It is 3:18 a.m. -- such is the narrator's attention to detail.
"The lean, tall, handsome hero, a lithe, athletic-looking man not yet 40 years old, arrived in his flying attire, having landed his own plane at the Philadelphia airport only minutes earlier, and at the sight of him, a surge of redemptive excitement brought the wilted conventioneers up onto their feet to cry 'Lindy! Lindy! Lindy!' for 30 glorious minutes, and without interruption from the chair."
At 4 a.m. the Republicans officially nominate their candidate. And the narrator abruptly reverts to his childhood memories -- the recollections of the 7-year-old who, until that moment, had been fast asleep, together with his older brother:
" 'No!' was the word that awakened us, 'No!' being shouted in a man's loud voice from every house on the block. It can't be. No. Not for president of the United States.
"Within seconds, my brother and I were once more at the radio with the rest of the family, and nobody bothered telling us to go back to bed." The neighbors pour into the street in their pajamas and nightdresses, crying in outrage and disbelief, "Hitler in America!" And Roth's America is already headed toward the presidency of Charles Lindbergh, and Lindbergh's alliance with the Axis powers, and something very close to war with Canada ("with Canada?" the narrator says, incredulous) and the pogroms and other cataclysmic events that send "The Plot Against America" careering through the early 1940's.
But I want to return to this matter of Roth's tone. The dignity, the formality, sometimes even the hint of academic reserve in the narrator's voice produce two vibrating timbres, and these dominate the novel -- a timbre of explosive anger, and, when the clapper swings to the other side, a timbre of husky pathos. The anger is political, refreshing in its pealing clarity -- an anger at fascism and at anti-Semitism. And then the anger gives way to the anxieties of a little boy, overwhelmed by childhood fears, trying to make sense of events with a knowledge of the world that comes from his stamp collection and from bedtime whisperings with his brother and cousin Alvin -- a boy who cannot begin to understand why the name "Lindbergh" has begun to turn his household upside down.
Alvin joins the Canadian army to go fight Hitler, and comes home with his teeth rotting, missing a leg, embittered, furious, rocked by wild emotions -- a superb character, richly imagined. The narrator as a boy can hardly cope with these calamities. "I wanted to scream 'No! Alvin can't stay here -- he has only one leg!' " And the adult narrator exudes a pathos of his own, the tone of a man forever reeling, even in his older years, at the memory of that most amazing and alarming of childhood discoveries -- the recognition that his own father, the all-powerful, is not so powerful, after all.
Father and mother take their sons on a trip to Washington, to reassure the family that democracy survives and all is well. The trip is harrowing. The father adores Roosevelt, and puts in a word for his idol at every opportunity. His remarks arouse mutterings about "loudmouth Jews" from random strangers. A tourist guide explains in lush exactitude that recently the Washington Monument was thoroughly cleaned: " 'They used water mixed with sand and steel-bristled brushes. Took five months and cost a hundred thousand dollars.'
" 'Under F.D.R.?' my father asked.
" 'I believe so, yes.'
" 'And do people know?' my father asked. 'Do people care? No. They want an airmail pilot running the country instead. And that's not the worst of it.' "
The family climbs the steps to the Lincoln Memorial and gazes at the giant statue. "Gravely my father said, 'And they shot him, the dirty dogs.' "
This is funny, in its way. But the puny dimensions of the father's rhetoric are a little heartbreaking too. The truly thunderous phrases in "The Plot Against America," at least in its earlier sections, belong instead to Lindbergh and his supporters. And the most powerful is this, the Republican campaign slogan of 1940: "Vote for Lindbergh or vote for war." Lindbergh is, after all, the dove, and Roosevelt, the hawk, in the election that year -- though Roth scrupulously clings to the 1940's terminology of "isolationist" and "internationalist." Even the Newark Jews, some of them, fall prey to the isolationist logic, not to mention Republican political pressure, after a while. A big-shot pro-Lindbergh rabbi acknowledges that, yes, the Jews of Europe are suffering grievously under Hitler. But won't things get even worse if America enters the war? Won't the Jews of America end up suffering as well, not to mention America as a whole? Aren't the American Jews making themselves ridiculous in their panic over anti-Semitism, when Lindbergh is, at bottom, a decent man with honorable goals?
The father, arguing back, invokes the radio broadcasts of Walter Winchell, the gossip columnist -- who, in real life, was a big enemy of the Nazis, and who, in the novel, leads the anti-Lindbergh movement, until he is foully assassinated by a suspected American Nazi in collaboration with the Ku Klux Klan. But the father is not a leader of men, and the martyred gossip columnist is merely a gossip columnist. And, in the end, the father goes on railing in his pipsqueak voice against the "fascist bastards" and the "sons of bitches" and the "dirty dogs" -- a language that, in its tiny tones, seems brave and poignant in equal measure. And so the boy grows up, an inch at a time, and begins to see America collapsing around him in family fights, and the festering stump of his cousin's leg, and the humiliations and violence that pour down upon the workaday Jews of Newark, N.J.
Not once in any of this does Roth glance at events of the present day, not even with a sly wink. Still, after you have had a chance to inhabit his landscape for a while and overhear the arguments about war and fascism and the Jews, "The Plot Against America" begins to rock almost violently in your lap -- as if a second novel, something from our own time, had been locked inside and was banging furiously on the walls, trying to get out. Roth shows us President Lindbergh in his aviator's gear, speaking in a plain style -- and you would have to be pretty dimwitted not to recall our current president, striding around the carrier Abraham Lincoln in his own flying attire, delivering his "Mission Accomplished" speech.
Roth shows us how swiftly the rights and democratic customs of American life are lost, under the authoritarian guidance of President Lindbergh and his cloyingly named "Just Folks" program, which sets out to break up Jewish families and neighborhoods by scattering Jewish children into the Christian heartland. The narrator's brother spends a while in Kentucky through this program, and comes home with a twang and a sympathy for Lindbergh -- a chilling development. And you find yourself reflecting on the equally cloying Patriot Act and the hardships of immigrants from Muslim countries in the last few years, not to mention the unfortunate fate of the Geneva Conventions of war, and sundry other worrisome aspects of our present predicament. But there is something else.
The anti-Semitism Roth describes in the 1940's springs mostly from an antiwar resentment -- from the belief that the Jews, and not the Nazis, bear responsibility for the war, and are trying to advance their own narrow interests at everyone else's expense. And perhaps a bit of this has likewise turned up in our own time. During the last two or three years, large publics in Western Europe and even in the United States have taken up the view that, if extremist political movements have swept across large swaths of the Muslim world, and if Baathists and radical Islamists have slaughtered literally millions of people during these last years, and then have ended up at war with the United States, Israel and its crimes must ultimately be to blame. And if America has been drawn into war in Iraq, it is because President Bush's second-level foreign policy advisers include a few Jews (though all of his top-level advisers are Protestants), and these second-level figures have manipulated everyone else to the bidding of Ariel Sharon.
Quite a few protesters who subscribe to interpretations of this sort have found it natural during the last few years to march through the streets bearing placards denouncing Sharon, and sometimes comparing him to Hitler -- quite as if Sharon were the embodiment of evil in the modern world. Some people have found it natural to go a bit farther, and have proclaimed an outright approval of suicide terrorism, as happened in Washington, where people marching in the street chanted, "Martyrs, not murderers!"
It has become natural in these last years for political cartoonists in Europe to draw Sharon in the memorable style that Nazi cartoonists used to reserve for Jews; natural for a notorious and well-designed poster in San Francisco to suggest, in the spirit of medieval anti-Semitism, that Israelis murder Palestinian children in order to eat them; natural for Jewish students to feel intimidated at more than a few American college campuses; natural, in Paris, for a handful of militants to veer off from the biggest of the protest marches against the invasion of Iraq and rough up a few Jews -- these many astonishing developments that depart pretty sharply from the protest atmosphere of the Vietnam era, yet do conjure a few scents and flavors of the 1930's and 40's.
Or is it ludicrous to suggest any such parallels? Maybe the mere act of noticing a few odors of a long-ago past insinuates a slander against the overwhelming mass of good-hearted antiwar protesters from our current era, who have never dabbled in scapegoat theories and cannot be held responsible for every zealot of the anti-Zionist cause or proponent of radical Islamism who chooses to carry a placard or to shout slogans. For that matter, is it fair to see any parallels at all between the heavy hand and cynical manipulations of the Bush administration, and the heavier hand and even more cynical manipulations of true-blue authoritarians from darker times and more sinister places, long ago? I have my opinions on these matters, and so does everyone else, and so does Philip Roth, I imagine.
But Roth has kept his opinions to himself. "The Plot Against America" is not an allegorical tract about the present age, with each scene or character corresponding to events of our own time. I think that in composing his novel, Roth has simply run his eye across the modern horizon, and gathered in the sights, and rearranged them in a 1940's kaleidoscope. And, astonished by the shapes and colors, he has taken a deep breath and let himself feel what he really feels, and not what a levelheaded, judicious political analyst should try to feel.
All hell ultimately breaks loose in the Lindbergh administration. The evil vice president stages a sort of coup d'état to drive the country farther yet into Nazi-like policies. Mobs kill Jews. And thus the novel proceeds, through many a panicky newspaper headline and newsreel episode, until, at last, history resumes its proper course and the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor -- all of which, in whole segments of "The Plot Against America," pretty much drowns out the ordinary, intimate concerns of family life and the hardships of being a little kid. The conventional novel reader in me was sorry to see these political excitements get in the way, and doubly sorry because some of the news events, in their complexity, become a little hard to follow. Even so, the history reader in me was delighted. You could learn quite a bit about American history from Roth's novel, if only any of this had happened. Here is a writer who knows his A.F.L. from his C.I.O. And the strictly political and historical events, in his imaginary version, begin to stir up some powerful emotions.
One of Roth's talents is the ability to spin the decibel dial as he writes dialogue, such that, in "The Plot Against America," his little boys emit thin little sounds (which are rendered still more plaintive by shifting into present tense), and the father in his humbleness emits a slightly louder tone, and cousin Alvin a shriekier one. In this fashion, the tones ascend in volume until, at last, Franklin Roosevelt addresses an anti-Lindbergh rally at Madison Square Garden. Roosevelt sonorously declaims, in syllables so majestic that only dashes will suffice, "We -- choose -- freedom!" And the patrician grandeur booms and trembles with such fervor and magnificence that as you read these lines, you want to leap to your feet and, like Churchill's parrot, or what is said to be Churchill's parrot, hurl curses at the Nazis.
Fiorello La Guardia, the mayor of New York, makes a couple of remarks of his own in a slightly quieter, scornful tone, and even manages to say, with a raised eyebrow, "It can't happen here?" -- just to allow Roth to nod respectfully to his literary master. And among these varied voices and shifting decibels, Roth presents, at long last, a newsreel summary of radio broadcasts from faraway Germany -- the impersonal voice of the Nazis themselves across the ocean.
The German radio denounces a conspiracy by "the warmonger Roosevelt -- in collusion with his Jewish Treasury secretary, Morgenthau, his Jewish Supreme Court justice, Frankfurter, and the Jewish investment banker Baruch." This conspiracy, the German radio explains, "is being financed by the international Jewish usurers Warburg and Rothschild and carried out under the command of Roosevelt's mongrel henchman, the half-Jew gangster La Guardia, mayor of Jewish New York City, along with the powerful Jewish governor of New York State, the financier Lehman, in order to return Roosevelt to the White House and launch an all-out Jewish war against the non-Jewish world." And so on -- Nazi blather about America, beamed across the airwaves. And the blather is, in its fashion, illuminating.
In the political culture of modern-age totalitarianism, there are soft doctrines for the fellow-traveling innocents around the world, and hard doctrines for the political insiders. Until this moment, we have mostly seen the soft doctrines, the ones that are Lindbergh's. Now we see the real thing -- the conspiracy theory about an all-out Jewish war against the entire world. This theory is mad, and yet, in a dozen subtle ways, this theory, in its madness, has been animating events, even among people who picture themselves as anything but Nazi sympathizers. And in these citations from the German radio, it is possible, one more time, to detect a few reverberations from our own age -- a few echoes of modern-day Baathists and radical Islamists, who likewise speak about an all-out Jewish war for cosmic evil, sometimes with phrases and concepts that have been lifted directly from the European ultraright of the 1930's and 40's. But does Roth want us to notice these echoes? On this point, too, he offers not one word in guidance. He has staked his place in his alternative past, and he will not budge -- and this rigid adherence of his to the world of long ago, instead of making "The Plot Against America" less interesting, makes the novel ever more strange and mysterious, as if, in constructing an imaginary fascist America under President Lindbergh, Roth has erected a giant and enigmatic symbol, whose meaning he will not define.
"The Plot Against America" contains one more curious and provocative element. The father is named "Herman Roth," and the sad-voiced scholarly narrator recounts the childhood memories of a boy called "Phil Roth," and the entire novel appears to be the story of the real-life Philip Roth at a young age. The habit of presenting the author as a fictional character in his own books is an old trick of Roth's, not to say a mania. Anyone reading "The Plot Against America" may wish to look on the novel as merely one more installment in a series of books about a personage named "Philip Roth" -- an extension perhaps of "Operation Shylock," in which a semifictional "Philip Roth" confronts a fully fictional "Philip Roth," and father Herman plays a role, and many a clever and too-clever puzzle about alternative universes and multiple identities cries out for attention, postmodern style. But watch out. Something else is going on in "The Plot Against America." And this something else wanders out of our postmodern era entirely, and -- though I cannot tell if Roth is conscious of this or not -- plunges into some of the most ancient and forgotten zones of the Jewish novel in America, at its most primitive.
The very earliest novel by a Jewish author to leave a mark on the wider literature of the United States was a lyrical album of New York street scenes called "Jews Without Money," by Michael Gold, a bighearted and small-brained "proletarian" writer from the Communist Party, in 1930. Gold, in this book, had already lit on the idea of writing about himself as a fictional little boy. The idea may have come to him from reading Isaac Babel or other writers, probably in Yiddish, who had been dabbling in autobiographical childhood fictions, back in the Old World. Gold's inspiration was to chronicle the adventures of little "Mikey Gold" from ages 5 to 12, as viewed in sorrowful retrospect by his adult self. The plot, to the degree that "Jews Without Money" has a plot, shows little Mikey roaming around the Lower East Side, circa 1900, growing an inch at a time and slowly discovering that his beloved father, coincidentally named Herman, is merely a humble man of puny strength -- a stout-hearted father overwhelmed by powerful anti-Semitic social forces, and berated by his superior, the Jewish doctor, for failing to bow before his Christian oppressors. And what was Michael Gold's purpose in sending little Mikey around the Jewish streets to make this childhood discovery?
The purpose was to write more than a novel. Gold wanted to write a mythology of Jewish suffering, set for once in America -- just as Babel had done in the Ukraine. Gold wanted to fashion a myth out of the Lower East Side and its immigrant sufferings -- a myth about social conditions so brutal and degrading that, out of sheer misery, the tenements themselves groan with pain. And so Gold mythologized his own childhood, therefore his adulthood too. I know that to describe Philip Roth as an heir to Sinclair Lewis is already a stretch, and to see in Roth a further inheritance from a Lower East Side tub-thumper like Michael Gold touches on the absurd.
But what can I say? In his "Plot Against America," Roth has mythologized his own childhood. He is little Philip, roaming the Jewish streets of Newark and discovering the humble status of his beloved father, Herman -- an ordinary man overwhelmed by the tides of powerful social forces and anti-Semitism, berated by his superior, the pro-Lindbergh rabbi, for failing to bow his head. Roth, too, has written an American mythology of Jewish suffering. The overlap is hard to miss. "Recently, groups of anti-Semitic demagogues have appeared in this country. They are like Hitler, telling the hungry American people that capitalism is Jewish, and that an attack on the Jews is the best way of restoring prosperity. What folly! . . . And there are signs that this oldest of swindles will grow in America." These sentences could loll about the Weequahic sidewalks of "The Plot Against America" with perfect ease, shaking their fists. But this is Gold, in his preface to a 1935 edition of "Jews Without Money."
Now, Roth has never been loath to take spectacular literary risks in the past; and here he goes again. Say what you will about Michael Gold, he really did grow up in an East Side tenement, and he wrote his novel in a mood of hard-boiled authenticity. But today is the age of soft-boiled fakery. Whole sectors of the population relieve their cultural anxieties by dressing up in the costumes of distant places and faraway social classes -- disguising themselves as third world peasants, or hip-hop jailbirds or, in the case of the Jews, immigrant proletarians from the pages of Michael Gold, or even survivors of the camps, decked out in striped pajamas. Phony victimhood is the sentimentality of our time, and no one has dissected this unhappy phenomenon more relentlessly than Roth, in novel after novel.
But then, what are we to make of little Philip and the American landscape of Jewish oppression in "The Plot Against America"? Isn't there, in the end, a touch of sentimental fakery here -- a suggestion that Roth, the scourge of everything false, has dressed himself up as someone else entirely, as the kind of Jewish writer of our time who, in childhood, really did survive the fascists and Nazis of Europe, and grew up to tell the tale, shivering in fear? Roth loves to make shocking and transgressive gestures -- "transgressive" is his favorite word, together with "poignant" -- and one of his favorite transgressions is to seize on other people's real-life tragedies, Anne Frank's or Leon Klinghoffer's, for crafty literary purposes of his own. At least he laughs at himself, sometimes, for doing this sort of thing, and laughter lets him get away with it. Laughter is Roth's way of putting a perspective on his own mischief -- his reality principle.
The very title of "The Plot Against America," with its air of popeyed tabloid melodrama, suggests that, in this novel, too, he may be laughing at his own imaginings -- at his absurd and lachrymose memories of American fascism in the age of President Lindbergh. And yet, apart from the title, there is not much comedy or self-mockery here. In the final pages, he serves up a scholarly appendix containing a bibliography, historical chronology and minibiographies of real-life figures who appear in the book, which will prove handy to any reader who wishes to parse the real from the not-real. But the appendix, in its dense facticity, also allows Roth to hammer home his entirely earnest point -- his argument that every terrible thing he has imagined could, in fact, have happened here, and some of it did. And as Roth bangs away on these matters, not just in the appendix but throughout the book, a few chips and dust-clouds of Jewish sentimentality do seem to fly up from the page, as if knocked into the air by the author's vehemence.
The narrator insists on describing the Jews of Newark as ordinary people whose Jewishness contains nothing special or even valuable -- "plain people who happened to be Jews." But those are empty words -- the kind of phrase that Roth, in other circumstances, would take pleasure in complicating or undermining. He pictures in acute detail how the Jews of New Jersey respond to the fascist menace, and his political spectrum reaches all the way to the gangsters and thugs, quite as if, like Gold or Babel, he wanted to paint Jewish reality in even its ugliest colors. And yet, for all his political shrewdness, he manages to exclude the one political grouping that, under the conditions of a real-life fascism in the 1940's, would probably have flourished -- the one political faction in New Jersey, Jewish and otherwise, that maintained underground cells and enjoyed secret subsidies from the Soviet Union. The Communist Party, that is, Michael Gold's organization, which is oddly missing here -- the party that Roth painted with genuine precision in what seems to me the finest of his recent novels, "I Married a Communist."
He has stripped a few dark and complicating hues out of America herself, in "The Plot Against America." In the past, Roth has never shown any reluctance to speak about Hiroshima and the atomic bomb -- Hiroshima, which, he has written, was one of the cataclysms of his real-life childhood. Hiroshima weighed on his American conscience as recently as 2001, in "The Dying Animal." But in the scholarly chronology at the end of "The Plot Against America," when August 1945 arrives and Hiroshima ought to appear, it, too, is oddly missing. The history reader in me harbors a couple of reservations after all.
I suppose Roth wanted to preserve the black-and-white simplicity of his fable about fascism and democracy, and likewise the simplicity of his mythology of Jewish oppression, and figured it was better for artistic reasons to leave out the ambiguous shadows. Or maybe little Philip's love for his father reigns emotionally over "The Plot Against America," and the father's level of intellectual sophistication provides a ceiling above which the novel cannot rise. Maybe Roth has finally taken to heart the censorious advice of his anxious Jewish elders -- the people whom he resents so bitterly in "The Ghost Writer" and other novels. (In a passage of "The Ghost Writer" that nearly predicts "The Plot Against America," his narrator points out that growing up Jewish in Newark in the 1940's was not at all like growing up Jewish in fascist Europe -- which invites the counterfactual question, but what if it had been?) Or maybe the contours of "The Plot Against America" have been shaped by still another impulse, which is neither fabulist nor mythological nor filial but dreamlike -- quite as if little Philip, on the evening of the Republican convention, never did get awakened by the uproar over Lindbergh in the other room, and went on sleeping, dreaming every last astonishing event.
A dream does figure at the center of the novel, and on the book jacket, too, in a soft-toned illustration by the artist Milton Glaser. In the dream, Philip's stamp collection has been hideously disfigured. He owns a set of national parks stamps, depicting nature scenes. In the dream about these stamps, though, "across the face of each, across the cliffs, the woods, the rivers, the peaks, the geyser, the gorges, the granite coastline, across the deep blue water and the high waterfalls, across everything in America that was the bluest and the greenest and the whitest and to be preserved forever in these pristine reservations, was printed a black swastika." This is vivid, unnerving, touching -- and wonderfully traditional.
Michael Gold described a similar nightmare in "Jews Without Money." "In my bad dreams during the hot summer nights," Gold wrote, "dark Christian ogres the size of tenements moved all around me. They sat on my chest, and clutched my throat with slimy remorseless fingers, shrieking, 'Jew, Jew! Jew!' " But this similarity is not because Philip Roth has borrowed anything from Michael Gold. I think that, instead, like Gold almost 75 years ago, Roth has found his way to an archetypal nightmare -- the anxious, ancestral, midnight fear of the American Jews. This, finally, is the rumbling engine that keeps "The Plot Against America" securely aloft and chugging forward -- the emotion that Roth has allowed himself to feel, luxuriously and at length.
The very first line of the novel says, "Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear." Fear of what? you may ask. Of Nazis? They are gone. Of Lindbergh? He never got anywhere in politics. Fear of what, then? Nobody living in this era after 9/11 should have to ask that question. But then, perhaps even 9/11 cannot explain every last aspect of this dark fear, which is old, old, old.
Paul Berman is the author of "Terror and Liberalism" and the forthcoming "Passion of Joschka Fischer."Continue reading the main story
The Plot against People Essay
454 Words2 Pages
The Plot against People
Have you ever thought that the possibility exists that inanimate objects are in fact “plotting against people” in an effort to make our lives even more difficult than they actually are? In “The Plot against People,” Russell Baker, a newspaper columnist and humorist, adopts a wry view of the world in which he gives inanimate objects mischievous aims. As a class assignment, I was called upon to write my own version in the style of Baker.
How often is it that we are late for work or school because we could not find our keys? On how many occasions have we humans been locked out of our dorms or houses and yet have our keys remain warm and cozy inside?
These events are not isolated to one group of humans or to…show more content…
The reason for their uprising is still unknown, but their numbers are strong; to every one person, there are about three keys. As Baker explains in The Plot against People, “Many inanimate objects, of course, find it extremely difficult to break down. Therefore, they have had to evolve a different technique for resisting man. They get lost.”
Keys have power and they know it. We have all been through a time in our lives when we were trapped in our own homes because our keys were conveniently missing. Trapped in our own homes! Feelings of frustration and anger quickly build up, but meanwhile our keys stay tucked away in a dark cozy corner and snicker. They are at this point, where they want to be, in control and powerful. Russell Baker was right. Keys “frequently travel through six or seven rooms to find hiding space under a couch.”
Our keys take pleasure in putting humans in embarrassing situations. They derive a certain degree of joy from it. They enjoy seeing us walk out of a room with just a towel wrapped around us and not being in our hands but, instead, lying between the warm covers. There, they wait for the sound of the slammed door and our frightful shriek.
One of the most distressing events is having your keys locked in your car while you stand helpless and cold on the outside. This experience is not only nerve-racking, but also costly, since, most times, a locksmith may have to be called in to get you back into your car.