Was it the thing about the woman with the mustache that killed this thread?
So...Les...And you led a double life in Peoria?? How did you pull that off?
I remember Black and White TV..
]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ©;33807 said:Just curious about our demographics - especially regarding age. The poll will not track those who answer the question so your personal information is safe.
So you're probably curious; how is it that I was able to live this long, yet evade the suspicions and fury of jealous townspeople and even leave marriages before I was discovered to be what I call a "slow ager." That's right, I'm aging. I'm not immortal. I just age more slowly. But sure enough, after 20 or so years of doing things like growing a beard, putting on weight, thinning my hair, etc., to simulate age, there comes a point when I have to leave. Because living as long as I did was a sure sign of the work of the devil, or worse. Think the Inquisition was bad? Yeah. So did I.
For most of my life, it was difficult to leave loved ones, but they knew my secret, understood and protected me. Eventually I discovered a sure-fire way to fly the coop: I joined armies when it was time to go, and went off to war.
Until the 20th Century, a battlefield's activity ended in the evening when it got dark. The dead and mortally wounded were simply left in the field, and burials did not take place for several days. Although I arranged for myself to have "safe" jobs, such as doctor*, or interpreter (I had learned Latin and Greek was my native language in Constantinople; these were the international languages), I could usually arrange to be present on a battlefield for a short enough time to be "killed." I carried a bladder of animal blood with me. When the time was right, I would spatter the blood over my chest, fall down in the heat of battle, and simply lay in place until nightfall. Then I would make my escape from the army, and move on. The men left on the field who were still alive to see me would not be alive by morning. Should a peasant come by stripping corpses, the sight of a bloody man getting up from the dead was frightening enough that they were afraid to follow me.
The thing is, and I learned this from experience, you don't want to join the army that, you know, loses the war. That's a sure way to have big trouble. You want to be in the army that wins, unless you can arrange to "die" and disappear at a good time before the end. So it was always tricky picking the right army to join. I learned early on, don't get into an army because of the causus belli; it doesn't matter if you like the goals of the nobles or politicians or not, your mission is to pick the right army so that you can arrange the death deep in enemy territory where no one will recognize you. Join the losing army, and you're fighting on your own turf, and believe me, it's a lot harder to get lost in your own country. Think I could have gotten lost in the French army in 1918 or 1940? They didn't make it out of the neighborhood, let alone out of France. So. There were other armies.
For example, I thought I was making a foolproof choice joining Napoleon's army and heading across Europe into Russia. Napoleon had never lost! I wound up nearly freezing to death on the steppes, which was of course a good place to pretend to die, but it was really too cold to lay down, and there were the wolves. Fortunately I managed to straggle farther and farther behind, and wound up finding a nice woman to settle down with for a while in Vilnius, Lithuania where the few other survivors got sick with Cholera struggling to get back to France. Thousands died. Their mass graves have only recently been discovered. Of course, I knew, but I wasn't telling.
She felt sorry for me, and was kind of cute except for her mustache kind of thing, but I digress. You really have no idea how many women had mustaches before the discovery of depilatories and bleaches...their teeth didn't last long either, so the slight mustache wasn't much of a deal breaker on looks. If they still had a few teeth, you were a big winner. My teeth of course, were sturdy due to my unique physiology, and I had a variety of musical skills, so I had no trouble with the ladies.
That's where I bought this absolutely fantastic kankles, which is kind of like a psaltery, an instrument I knew well from the middle ages. It was gorgeous, inlaid with ivory, and made mostly of flamed Balkan maple, Acer hyrcanum, with a beautiful German Spruce top. The maker called it his "Double Eagle." I wasn't crazy about the matte finish, but fortunately the shop that built it was headed by Paulius Raimondas Steponas, and they had something like a PTC. So they put a gloss finish on it, and in fact, stained it Elzbieta Verde, which was kind of a greenish stain.
I bugged them to make a padded gig bag for the thing, and they finally padded a burlap sack with horse hair, lined it with rabbit fur, and put buttons and a rope on it so I could carry it like a backpack.
Things were great in Vilnius, but I knew I had to leave after a while, and fortunately, the First Schleswig War broke out in 1848. I made the fateful decision to join the Prussian Army and go to war against Denmark.
* You might wonder how I was a doctor when I lacked modern medical training. Well, before about 1870, army doctors needed to know basically five things: how to saw limbs off, how to cauterize, how to bleed a patient, how to use a syringe full of mercury on a guy with syphilis, and when to call the priest. Oh yeah, and astrology. And of course anything but a slight wound was bound to be fatal. From the 13th to the 19th centuries, death on the battlefield was probably preferable to existing cures for diseases from natural causes anyway. And wars were excellent vacation opportunities (because, honestly, there weren't other kinds of vacations except pilgrimages), plus the whole pillaging thing. I had left Constantinople before I could learn Byzantine medicine, which was based on the Roman work of Galen, who knew more about fixing soldier's wounds than American Civil War doctors; the Romans and Byzantines knew how to remove cataracts, for god's sakes, but in the West, they didn't even know what a cataract was. So we let a lot of blood. Read omens. Stuff like that. In the Byzantine world, I'd have had to know something. Not so much in the West.