In Pakistan, “Hitler” is everywhere. Often searching for Wi-Fi signals, I’ll sometimes come across one with some permutation of Hitler’s name: “h1tl3r72,” “hitlerhouse,” or the confounding “ManUnitedHitler” combo I saw flicker on and off while sitting in a coffee shop. Stuck in Karachi’s never-ending traffic, I’ll catch a glimpse of “HITLER” emblazoned on the back of a Suzuki passenger van. Occasionally, I’ll see “hitler” spray-painted on a slum wall or stitched onto the polo shirt of a chai-wallah. The most baffling and established example of Hitler’s omnipresence here is a label called “Hitler: Reloaded,” headquartered on the corner of one of Karachi’s biggest markets. It sells moderately priced menswear.
It turns out, however, that the average Pakistani doesn’t know who Hitler is. On one of the occasions I saw a Wi-Fi network featuring the Fuhrer’s moniker — “hitler2,” in this particular case — I was in a small enough neighborhood in which I could deduce which house named their network after ol’ Adolf. When I finally met the man living in the house, I asked him why he named his Wi-Fi network after Hitler. “He was a really strict general in Germany. I like to keep a strict household,” he said.
It’s that time of the year in Texas and a lot of schools are having their homecoming. Not until a few years ago, I thought all high schools had a bonfire for their homecoming. I had no idea what my hometown of Mineral Wells did was a bit unique, although a handful of small Texas towns also do it. The bonfire would be built during the week and seniors would stay the night on Wednesday. Supposedly, many moons ago, a rival town set fire to it early, so the seniors were there to keep watch. I’m not sure if that was true, but it was a good excuse to stay the night out there unsupervised. It would then be lit on Thursday night with the majority of the town gathered around it. I have many fond memories of them and it always felt magical. It happened on the outskirts of town, next to our stadium in an open field surrounded by woods with the band playing. For a small town, it was pretty decent in size, maybe two or three stories tall. All this talk of homecoming in the news led me to a little research, which actually bummed me out. Mineral Wells no longer plays football at the stadium on the outskirts of town, so I guess there was no longer a need to have the bonfire in that location. Per this horrible video, it’s filmed sideways and there’s cursing, the bonfire is now in the parking lot of the high school and it’s in a dumpster. What was a beautiful experience is now nothing more than a dumpster fire. What’s embarrassing is that the volunteer fire department sets it on fire, but they do it horribly wrong.