Holy shit - forgot that I was such a fucking MOT until I listened to Jamie talking about how all of us Jews have the big bad holocaust recording playing in our heads. A profound component of my deep isolation is thinking that it was just my family story (dad survived both Dachau and the Kovno ghetto). I was my dad's sole confessor, and he first told me about his experience when I was around 7, I think. I was just a fucking kid growing up in Iowa wanting to play professional ice hockey (more specifically, to be Bobby Orr), trying to translate my dad's torture stories in the context of things like bad grade school teachers and mean hockey coaches. I remember one time I told my mom that I saw a plane crash, and that was why I was acting sad (I was acting - walking with my head down, with a sad look on my face, like I'd seen my bubbe, also a survivor, and my dad do all the time). I was trying to get attention by being sad. Needless to say, the movie played out with me pulling a romantic Bukowski impersonation in my 20's and 30's, then recovery in my 40's. But I digress: Jamie talked about how her grandfather not putting his birth date on his tombstone, and her parents talking about how "my age is no one else's business!!". I only learned that my dad was actually 10 years older than he had been telling the whole family when I started to get a Social Security check when I turned 18 and went to college, coinciding with my dad's 65th birthday. All this time I thought he was 55. I was a smart kid (a Jewboy, after all), so I put 2 and 2 together and asked my dad about it. In his typical, "I'm always right" voice, he actually gave me an elegant (in it's simplicity) and lucid answer that still makes sense to me to this day. He explained to me that the Nazi's had taken those ten years from him, and that he wasn't about to let those fuckers get away with it. That was an awesome answer for an 18 year old kid. Fed right into the side of my Jewish ego that is all about surviving and a bold fuck-you to the world, nothing can stop me, because I'm a baddass Jewish motherfucker. Worked for an 18 year old at the time (umm... sure, insert witty comment about my anger issues here). Paul - your reply to Jamie that this phenomenon had it's roots deep within the Jewish experience during the war and being very, very guarded about any personal information lest it be used against you was wildly perceptive and I got to give you a shout-out for that. To take it a few steps further, I believe that another component of the phenomenon lies within the obvious, immediate necessity for the survivor to either re-invent or die at one's own hand. A priest talked my dad out of killing himself in Munich after the war - cut to 10 years later and he's a small businessman in the midwest. now, how the fuck did that happen? sure, there is a timeline of action and circumstance, but the level of denial (of unbelievably horrific experience, loss and sorrow) necessary to survive the fallout and reinvent a life could only be seen as a successful story - - with the old man's superpower to pass on to his son being the ability to compartmentalize and deny any and everything. Uh oh! Making it about me again. I'll stop there for now.