Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lines and More Lines

Hold that line was the chant from football fans back in the day. Now it’s been cut short to, Defense, which comes out as Deeefense.  Lines have a way of not holding, the way George Bush, the elder, drew a line in the sand in the first Iraq war until Bush the Younger saw to that by demonstrating that he was a good-for-nothing kid after all. Presidents are best advised not to draw lines. Beleaguered Barack Obama wishes he could take back that red line he set out in Syria.

Looking at the time-line it seems that the Curzon line was established after World War One to fix forever the border between Poland and the new USSR. It didn’t last 20 years. Russian people quickly got used to two things in life….lining up and following the Party line. 

When I came into the world breadlines were the headlines and newspapers had bylines that had to meet deadlines. I was raised on movies that depicted young men going off on ocean liners to the front line and pretty girls with eye liners in the chorus line.

In 1940 the French, thinking of WW I trenches, set up their forces at the Maginot Line near the German frontier. The battle line was drawn and German tanks simply went around it into Belgium and brought France to its knees six weeks later.

In New York and thereabouts we used to wait on line for rationed butter or to march into assembly while everywhere else folks waited in line, proving that Easterners were far ahead of their time since everyone is now on-line, except when you’re off-line.

One hundred years before the Civil War Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon surveyed their famous Mason-Dixon Line. Unbeknownst to many, including myself, it does not entirely run horizontally. The line is vertical through Delaware. It was drawn up to settle a border dispute between Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware.

Other than line drives and line dancing I’m not fond of lines. Straight or wavy they create divisions. My preference is for blurry ones, if at all, where poetry and prose mingle and fiction strays into non-fiction. Besides, I seem always to get on or in the line that doesn’t move. On the other hand how else could I read those tabloids and catch up on alien landings and JFK sightings?

I was once called to a police line-up to put the finger on the man who held me at gun point. I picked the wrong guy. I blame it on the Line. He shaved his curly-haired head and I fell for it hook, line and sinker.

The entertainment world seems Interested only in the bottom line. If you doubt this you’d be out of line.  Just line up your big names, have them sign on the dotted line and not step out of line. If they behave themselves they will never lose their credit-line.  Does anyone still read between the lines?

Without assembly lines we might have hand-crafted cars with an individual signature…and possibly somebody’s egg-salad sandwich still in the glove department

Unlike Blogs, lines can go on forever. I just read that half of infinity is still infinity. I don’t know what that means but I wouldn’t quarrel with the notion. Even half the notion.   

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