The Hills Are Alive

This one goes back to 2007, which sure as fuck doesn’t feel like five years ago. I had just turned nineteen. High school was over and it felt good.
I was at a birthday party at a pub in Traralgon. This was the same party I discovered that it’s possible to enjoy metal if you listen to it live. Already I was learning valuable things that school won’t teach you.
I found myself talking to a venerable old chap of indeterminate relationship to the birthday boy. With all the class and tact of my nineteen years I was bemoaning the fact that I felt so old and I just hadn’t done anything yet.
The geezer nodded. “When I was your age,” he reflected, “I’d been an extra in two films, I’d fought in a world war, and I was partway through my apprenticeship as a boat-builder.”
I began to suspect he wasn’t that interested in reassuring me. What films had he been in?
Our conversation swung around to the fact that The Sound of Music had been shot in his home town.
“People in my village,” he said, “don’t watch that film.”
I nodded gravely. “Of course. I’m sure it brings back all sorts of bad stuff. What with the Nazis and all. Awful.”
“You see,” he continued, “they’re walking down one street and then bam, they’re on the other side of town!”
Nazi trauma? Nope? No.
Er, “Which side of the war were you on?”
That was when the conversation sort of petered out. Realising you’re talking to a guy who spent a stretch of his life theoretically trying to kill your grandfathers sure makes things awkward.

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