They call it V-J Day. Victory over Japan Day.
President Truman called it that, on 2nd September, 1945. It was celebrated pretty wildly too, the official end of the World War. It was probably also celebrated in a lot of other countries too. I have a feeling Japan themselves celebrated the end , considering that our famous jobs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki cut their population down by about 250,000. But who am I to play guessing games?
A nobody, dear reader, that’s who. It wasn’t a rhetorical question. I’m 88-years-old, have the best part of 6 teeth, and I’m only somewhat alive. So why should you continue listening to me, you ask? Because, son, I’ve just watched a presidential debate and I’m sure I’m responsible for at least half of the things being said.
Now, now, don’t make faces. You’ve gotta believe me. Let me tell you how.
It was just about the end of summer in 1945, and just about the start of the American Dream’s best lap. The country was still hungover from V-J Day, when Marlon put me in charge of finding a plumber to fix the dripping shower upstairs. Actually, that’s not completely accurate. Marlon was what they would now call a butler, and I was what they’ve always called a slave. So what I was really put in charge of doing was actually fixing the shower.
It’s not that difficult. You remove the faucet handle, unscrew the locking screw and replace the O-rings and washers. Then you put it all back together. Simple enough. But before all of that, you’ve got to make sure the water supply is turned off.
Somebody should have reminded me, because, like in this story, that disclaimer came too late. Experience is something you get after you need it.
So there I was, 17-years-old and in the middle of a flooding bathtub , without even the wisdom to unplug the drain stopper. I suppose you could blame it on Marlon for enlisting me as a plumber in the first place. But this is my story and you’re not allowed that sort of power. In any case, I was fired a year later.
Anyway, what followed was a very wet first floor and a very cross owner. He blamed it on Marlon, of course (This is my story, he’s allowed that sort of power). What’s gotten into you, why didn’t you just call a plumber, it’s V-J Day dammit, why in f*ck’s name is my alarm clock riding a rubber duck…this is the sort of stuff Marlon heard that evening, as I cowered under the kitchen sink, careful not to disturb any more faucets. Poor Marlon, I think it haunted him for as long as he was alive. I hope his soul’s resting in peace. If mine is anything to go by, it is the kind of harrowing memory that makes you wish Alzheimer’s was around.
Because, I changed American politics that evening.
After Marlon got a telling, he was tasked with heading into NY and finding a hotel for as long as it took for an upstairs bedroom to dry. Despite my prominent role in his rapidly deteriorating evening, Marlon dragged me along. It’d only take a day to fix up that room. But he booked them in for three days. “It’s V-J Day after all, they can use an extended celebration,” he said. He didn’t sound very solemn. I reckon he just wanted three days to recover his own mental resolve. In any case, it was a dumb idea to book three days at the Plaza, even if they could afford it.
And boy, could they afford it.
It turns out, son, that on the second day, the three kids were gifted their very own suite. I know this because I filed the receipts the week after, and scribbled under September 3 was a charge for the honeymoon suite. I just giggled it off at the time, like anyone my age was bound to do. But I’ve done the math since.
Fred and Mary Anne had three children at the time: Maryanne Trump, 8, Fred Trump Jr., 7 and Elizabeth Trump, 3. Now that means they’d gone 4 years without thinking about more children. And, if I may so, there wasn’t too much effort happening on the first floor.
So when young Donald was born in June the following year, just a little more than 9 months later, I should have guessed he was as much my own making as he was theirs. But there’s enough evidence of my naiveté at the time to let my 18-year-old self off the hook.
The family discarded me a couple of months later. I didn’t understand what they were punishing me for; my plumbing ability was getting better and I was breaking records with the mower. It was just one of those abrupt endings, I suppose. You know, the ones where you’re left wondering what the hell just happened?
But now, 70 years later, I see little Donald on TV and everything makes sense. I just wish it was because of his hair.