I was born September 11th, 1938. Time Magazine's Man-of-the-Year in 1938 was...Adolf Hitler. Henry Luce, Time's publisher, was a Synarchist*, a Skull and Bonesman (Yale, class of 1920). An anti-democrat, he believed only an elite class of Guardians was fit to rule the world. A Fascist sympathizer, Luce admired Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco. He hated FDR and Churchill. In 1938 Hitler had taken Czechoslovakia and occupied Austria. Neville Chamberlain was busy appeasing him. Winston Churchill, then out of office, said of the British ruling elite, "They take their weekends in the country, while Hitler takes his countries on the weekend."
          1938 was also the year Don Budge became the first tennis player in history to win the Grand Slam. My parents were tennis fans and nick-named their new son "Budge," which I lived with till I escaped to college. I couldn't play tennis worth a lick, and I hated the name.
          In 2001, my 63rd birthday fell on a Tuesday. That morning I sat down with a cup of green tea to prepare a class I would teach that afternoon. I turned on the TV, and the south tower was already ablaze. I remember thinking, "Boy, there'll be some expensive remodeling on those floors." Suddenly a vicious, black wasp appeared to flit across the screen. I wasn't sure if it was in my house or in Manhattan. The north tower erupted. The newscasters were eerily silent for seconds before a female voice screamed out. With the world, I watched mesmerized as the horrors unfolded. Down went the north tower. Just as the south tower was imploding, my phone rang. It was my son Joe calling from Alaska to wish me happy birthday. Joe is a wilderness guide and pilot. He had just landed a party of bear hunters on the Kenai Peninsula.
          "Happy Birthday, Dad," he said, his cell phone crackling.
          "Nice of you to call, Joe," I said, "but you won't believe what I'm watching on TV. The tip of Manhattan looks like an A-bomb went off. The World Trade Towers just collapsed." He didn't believe me and had to call his wife in Anchorage to confirm it. His float plane, like every plane in North America, was soon grounded. He was stranded with his clients in the Alaskan wilderness for two days.
          In 1938 Time Magazine opined that Adolf Hitler might well be Man-of-the-Century, but after the war began, Henry Luce and his magazine fell silent on Fascism. He died in 1967. He was 69. Hitler died in a Berlin bunker in 1945. He was 56. The real Man-of-the-Century turned out to be Winston Churchill. A female critic once told him, "If I was your wife, I'd poison your tea." He replied, "Madam, if you were my wife, I'd drink it." Winston Churchill died in 1965. He was 91.
          Don Budge just managed to live out the century. In December 1999, he was badly injured in a car crash in Pennsylvania and died the next month. He was 84.
          It's now 2005. Osama, who ordered the Trade Tower attacks, is still on the loose. Bush's war in Iraq still hangs in the balance. A "democratic" Afghanistan is still the number one opium producer in the world. The newspapers also report green tea will prevent prostate cancer. My prostate was removed last year.
          Joe's business in Alaska prospers. He recently took George Herbert Walker Bush and Chuck Yeager float fishing on the Talachalitna River. They caught huge king salmon and fat rainbow trout.
          I'm retired now. On my birthday, I don't watch replays of the 9/11 disaster. I don't care to. My sister and I have lunch once a month in St. Paul where we both live. She can't play tennis worth a lick either, but she does drink tea. And she still calls me Budge. I don't protest.

                                                                       * Google SYNARCHY and read about this ideology that links Plato,
                                                                                     The Knights Templar, the anima mundi, Indian prana, the orgone
                                                                                     force, Tibetan Shambhala, the sacred path of the warrior, Skull and
                                                                                     Bones, Fascism, and its latest incarnation, the Bush/Cheney/
                                                                                     Rumsfeld/Wolfowicz cabal.