Thursday, March 24, 2016
Nippon’s Wife and Slave Trade
A & Q: at the Psychologist Office:
Did he love his wife? Dr. Sterling was pondering, or had he been bored with her? There he sat a few feet away, why not ask him? He had or gave the appearance he did get bored with her, and she was a faithful wife so he had learned, ‘But I bet that he never really, and truly never loved her. So what?’ Thought the psychologist, talking to himself. ‘He had made his life out of complications and drama, and boredom, yet filled his human commitments, so he did not hurry for the funerals, that’s the answer.’ The psychologist feared to say this out loud lest he give him an excuse to deny it. He did admit to the psychologist, on his wedding day he was simply less bored. Now with the deaths, the return of silence and the evening’s mildness had come back, that he had before his marriage, this too he admitted was a plus. This was the way Nippon thought. He knew he was hardhearted, not usable by God, as he proclaimed, for God demands an open heart, but more often than not, openhearted people were in a class of their own, in a governing class of hypocrisy, like the psychologist, like King Saul, and that is why God gave the throne to King David, his soul was open, it had not deserted God at the last hour.
Oh Nippon thought of his wife, now dead, without making any effort, but he might have thought of other things just as well. And it perhaps was of difficulty in recovering his good spirits, but he didn’t need any stimulants, he was either stimulated or depressed all his life, now life was simply less easy for him, for the moment.
. . .
The psychologist asked, “What would you have liked to have been two-hundred years ago?”
Without hesitation, “A negro slave trader. You see, they weren’t queasy in those days, they had assertions, they announced ‘Look here, I’m a man of means, wealth, I have a slave trade, I have as much black flesh as you have gold coins.’ Can you imagine Doc, anyone publicly saying that today? What an outrage it would bring!”
“But you could,” said the psychologist.
“In a heartbeat, I wouldn’t hesitate if it was legal.”
“So,” inferred the psychologist, “you’re for slavery?”
“I didn’t say that—I said, if it was established, I am certainly not for it, I am against it. But if it was established it would be for me quite natural a trade, not boasting about, but taking it to its limits. Now you can see where I’m headed I believe, these were some indifferent people, you’d have a massive hoard to heal in those days if you thought the way you do today, back then. All English speaking people thought the same way, all of South America, and parks of Africa, they all believed in slave trading, even in Peru, so am I so different? You would have been the black sheep back then, and sent to the sanitarium with your modern day thoughts. They believed in slavery, as no more than having fresh air to breath. Don’t you agree? Plus, back in those far-off days in Ethiopia, the Ethiopians had white slaves, and thought no more of it than our southern Alabama folk, in the 1860s.”
The psychologist had no answer, the asked, “With no wife and no children what will you do now?”
“Buy a dog,” said Nippon, “when I get angry he can’t talk back. Thus I get the last word, and as you readily know, there is to every point of issue, a counterpoint, and the dog doesn’t know that, he can be dominated, but a woman does.”
Part of the story “Anthills of Lima”