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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Nazi Stamp Album: Part 2

Arnold might have accepted the situation better, had he understood what had happened. But how can a child understand what has happened to family, his community, and his country, if his father refuses to talk about it? How can he make sense of such an upside-down situation, when all the men in his town who fought on (he thought) the side of right refuse to speak about, or even remember, their involvement in the war? How can he feel any sense of identity, and hope for his future in his home or his homeland, when forces from other countries walk his streets, and dictate how his government should function? Even his cherished stamp album was taken away from him. This album had fired his imagination with the grand new, modern world Hitler had promised to build. Instead, just as Allied forces had destroyed Hitler's dreams, the foreigners occupying Austria stole Arnold's cherished album, along with everything else associated with the Nazi party, and consigned it to the flames.

How could any child deal with that?

Is it any wonder that, as a child, he fixated upon the idea of America, the world's conquering hero-nation of World War II, and the home of all the movies that helped him escape the poverty and emptiness of his childhood, as being the land of opportunity and freedom? Is it so incomprehensible that he looked for a way to escape Austria, and when he found a means that seemed to work for him in bodybuilding, threw himself so fully into it that he became the most successful bodybuilder in history? 

Extraordinary times breed extraordinary people, and, as Total Recall demonstrates, one such person is Arnold Schwarzenegger. He worked hard at Bodybuilding, and when his successes gave him the opportunity to emigrate to the United States, he leapt at the chance. After working one's muscles to failure for four, five, or six hours each day, most bodybuilders lack the energy and focus to do much else. Not so Arnold. In addition to his rigorous gym sessions, he took business classes in community colleges, helped run Joe Weider's Muscle And Fitness empire, promoted bodybuilding contests he didn't compete in, ran his own mail order bodybuilding business, and operated several home repair businesses with fellow bodybuilder Franco Columbu.  

Note: Arnold Schwarzenegger thought most of his fellow bodybuilders were "lazy."

Arnold's hard work paid handsome dividends. He made his first million dollars in the real estate market. When he tired of all his conquests in the Bodybuilding world, he turned his focus and passion toward Hollywood, and helped make the kind of movies that he adored as a child. When he tired of being a movie star, and desired to give back to the country that had given him everything he ever dreamed of achieving, he threw his energies into serving as the governor of California. In addition to serving Californians everyday needs, he helped design and fund infrastructure projects that would improve cities, update highways to relieve congestion, and build high speed rail systems. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger's life might have been far different had his father really reached out to him, talked to him, and helped him understand the Austrian government's reaction to the post-Hitler years. His life might have been more conventional had he been allowed to carry some relic of the past, such as his cherished stamp collection, into the future. Instead, he worked hard, never lost sight of his goals, and eventually transformed all his desires and dreams into reality. And unlike Hitler, he didn't need to start a war, or oppress an entire culture and race, to build a better world for all of us to live in.

Dragon Dave

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