The Starfish Thrower (3)

(If you haven’t already read “The Starfish Thrower (2)”, just let me say that you will understand this post a lot more easily if you do.)

OK. Back to St Ives:

And back to the moral of that story.

I was once told by a wise man, “You can always find a reason for not doing something”. And that is so true.

Why bother helping starfish?

It’s too hot

There are too many of them

What’s the point?

and so on.

But don’t just look for a reason to do nothing. It’s easy. Just throw the starfish back. You don’t need to train for 20 years and spend £300 on special equipment:

You don’t need to gather a crowd and you don’t need to wear special clothes:

And you never know. You might attract a helper:

Or get the grateful thanks of a mermaid.

With me, it’s always contributions to charity that I baulk at, whether that be my valuable time or my hard earned cash.

I give a little money to the Salvation Army because my Dad said that if you were freezing cold on a foggy station platform during the winter of 1943, the Salvation Army would always be there to help you. The Church of England never was. Nor was anybody else. So my Dad ordered me to donate a little money to them from time to time. But equally I could say to myself, “Well, I never saw my Dad give them any money himself, so why should I bother?”

In other words, “You can always find a reason for not doing something”.

Four days later, I was back in St Ives, wandering round a gallery stuffed with art that I like. Pictures of dogs, pictures of dogs playing cards, pictures of very large sharks, undersea divers, undersea divers being attacked by very large sharks, and most of all, aeroplanes.

I used to read war comics when I was little. Ones like this…

And this…

And this…

Just look at that fantastic line “Spitfeuer! Achtung!!” I’m fluent in that kind of German. I often think I could have been a Kommandant of a Prisoner of War Camp, using just the German from war comics and films.

This art gallery had dogs and sharks and undersea divers. And it also had this wonderful print:

Nowadays, lots of Germans visit Cornwall and they visit St Ives. They all like to look around the art galleries.

Suddenly a little boy came in, closely followed by his Dad. He looked up at the aircraft print on the wall.

He pointed up at it and loudly and clearly, he said to his Dad, the line I had waited to hear somebody say for 50 years. He shouted:

“Achtung Spitfeuer!  Achtung Spitfeuer!  Achtung Spitfeuer!”



Filed under Cornwall, Cryptozoology, History, Personal, Wildlife and Nature

25 responses to “The Starfish Thrower (3)

  1. That had me laughing, John 🙂

  2. Andy Jones (ON 70-80)

    Ha! I think we all learnt our first German from those comic books. I was very keen on the Commando series. Shame I never kept them. Also, on the Salvation Army – I recently donated to support their work in helping the homeless, particularly during the brutally cold weather. I received a note of thanks from them, that whilst doubtless pre-programmed, was nevertheless particularly touching.

    • Absolutely. I have always been impressed by the sincerity of the Salvation Army. I was certainly appalled by what Oxfam seem to have got up to according to the BBC News. I’ve given them my surplus books for decades, but they’ve had their last one from me now!
      You can buy shedloads of old comics on DVDs. I have bought from this dealer
      and this one, with no problems whatsoever.

      I bought all of the Tintin books, for example, or all of Rupert, all of Victor comic and so on. Very cheap, and superb artwork, especially the 50s American sci-fi

  3. I think even I with my interest in the Pacific I learned a few German words growing up. I remember counting to 10 too.
    My father said the same thing about the Salvation Army, said the Red Cross got all the fan fare, but the SA did most of the work.

    • What my Dad had to say about the Church of England wasn’t too flattering either. He said that you just never saw them, although I must admit, in WW1, a lot of them tried very hard and a lot of them were killed in combat situations. But not in WW2 in my Dad’s experience.
      It’s surprising what bits of languages you pick up. As a little boy I used to read a lot of adventure stories of the British Empire which was largely our Wild West. My favourite author always wrote about Africa and that is how I came to learn the Zulu for “Kill the White Wizards”. It hasn’t cropped up yet, and I really hope it doesn’t!

  4. Thanks John, Here it’s the Salvos for me every time.

  5. I always recall the Victor comic and the regular German contribution of Donnerwetter which I believe translates rather disappointingly as Thunder Weather!

    • If you look at the reply (above) to Andy Jones, you can see how to buy Victor, Wizard, Hornet, Valiant and all the rest of our childhood reading very cheaply. And also, enough of those “shilling war books” to satisfy even the most patriotic of small boys. The first port of call in my time machine will be to go into Albert Taylor’s newsagents on January 25th 1961 to buy Issue No 1 of Victor, and a few others as well.

  6. When we first moved to the US and had to weigh the value of every dollar spent, the Salvation Army thrift shops helped me to dress smart for job fairs and job interviews.

    • Yes, they help a lot of people a great deal of the time. They also seem very honest and keen to do good. The US Salvation Army has a different uniform to ours, by the way. As you might expect, lighter and more fashionable than the British one.

  7. Those comics were just great. A few years ago I treated myself to a book of those stories, i still have it and every now and again I dip into it. Oh the nostalgia. Aach Himmel! Nein!!!

  8. jackchatterley

    I remember the Spanish WW2 comics that I read in my childhood here, in Spain. I wish I had them still with me…

  9. None of the words I learned from the Commando books ever cropped up in conversation in Germany. Frankly, as linguistic resources I feel that they over-rated. 🙂

  10. Comics were such a nice part of my childhood, Phantom, Mandrake, Asterix and all those war comics. Thank you for sharing 🙂

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