"Strange Things . . ." A Saying From My Sixth Grade Year, 1970

In 1970, my then best friend and I always met on Saturday afternoon, alternating weekly between our respective homes, to watch the local Shock Theater.  Our enjoyment was always accelerated if the film being shown was one of Universal's classics from the era 1931-1945.

   We had a saying that very much aggravated our parents, which caused us to say it much more in their presence, but always, and repeatedly, for the duration of Saturday afternoon's Shock Theater:  "Strange things are happening, tonight."  My friend believed these words were spoken in one of the Three Stooges' short features, although I have never, since that year, heard those exact words delivered in one of the aforementioned features.

   We also had a way of pronouncing it:  "Strange" followed by a pause; then "things" pronounced almost a full octave above the tone of the first word; then "are" in the original tone; "happening" pronounced rapidly, as in "hapning," then another pause; and, finally, "tonight," pronounced as rapidly as possbile, as "t'night" like the springing shut of an insidious and, possibly, haunted trap.  

   On the night of the 2016 election, when the late returns were being called in favor of Innkeeper Trump, I first prayed desperately that this would be wrong; and then, in the laughter that often follows the hysteria of an existential shock, I began to recite that phrase from 1970.  I felt instinctively that a four year era of estrangement was coming upon us.  I could not articulate that emotion, at that time, in any other words than that pre-pubescent saying with which we aggravated our parents and expressed our delight in Shock Theater.

   When the 2020 election was called, against the Innkeeper, I, this time, breathed a prayer of gratitude.  And though strange things have been happening recently, including the invasion of the capitol by rightsers, clodhoppers, ballcaps and duckcallers, the time of our nightmarish estrangement from our heritage, our history, our allies, and each other is rapidly dwindling away.  January, the month I became a Christian and the month in which, God willing, I will return to the Orthodox faith, will also see our country begin to return to the dignity, if we can ever recover it (also, I pray for that, God willing), the very ennobled dignity of Abraham Lincoln's courtesy, as expressed in the Second Inaugural Address, some of which I will repeat here, in the italics that I usually reserve for Sacred Scripture, as I believe Lincoln's words were supernaturally close to that kind of Holiness:  With malice toward none, with charity toward all . . . to finish the work . . . to care . . . to . . . achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves . . . .





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djtj's picture

I was

I was trying to recreate the pronoucation of the line.  Interesting piece.Well stated.