The yanks are coming
As a young middle schooler growing up in Jefferson City, Missouri I had the opportunity to watch a performer whose specialty was keeping several china plates spinning on poles simultaneously. The performer would rush to get a plate spinning in the air, and double back to make sure her previous charges were still going strong. The routine continues on for a couple of minutes until suddenly ten china plates are whirring and the performer is running around frantically every time a pole gives just a hint of instability. At the time, the act did very little to interest or excite me (in fact, my youthful-self judged professional plate spinner as a very odd choice of vocation), but now there is something about the performer jumping desperately from pole to pole to keep the plates airborne that sticks out in my mind. Metaphorically, I’ve always seen the plate spinner as a normal person, and her plates are the various spheres in someone’s life: family, friends, work, hobby, love; all a different plate to keep spinning. Now, as I attempt to describe the events leading up to World War 1 and detail a few of the atrocities within it, I keep seeing the performer running in between her plates, trying to delay the inevitable crashes to the surface. The Great War was first and foremost the world trying to keep too many plates in the air.
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