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RESTAURANT TABLES GIVE DINERS THAT WOBBLY FEELING

Question: Why are so many restaurant tables wobbly?

Answer: Fact: The wobbliness of the table is in direct proportion to the expense of the restaurant.You go to McDonald's, no problem, the tables are bolted down, "grout-in" as they say in the business. But you go to a fussy place with glass plates and a name like Maison du Rapprochement, you're lucky to find a table that doesn't lurch back and forth as though you were eating with Gil-ligan and the Skipper on board "The Minnow."

One cause, according to our well-placed source in the restaurant furniture business, is that restaurants are often under-cap-i-tal-ized. That means they don't put much money into fixing them up, and the floors aren't level. They also buy used, beat-up tables.

Another problem is that the most popular table is a "deuce," or "two-top," a 24-by-30-inch table for two that can be pushed and shoved around and linked up with other tables to seat a large party of diners. The tables go out of whack eventually.

All this wobbling can be stopped if the restaurant springs for the cost of "wobble stopper glides." These can be used as the feet of the table, and contain an expandable and contractible drop of silicon.

Unfortunately, in most places you still have to use a sugar packet or a matchbook. Now that smoking is getting banned everywhere, says our industry source, "there are fewer and fewer matchbooks to shove under there."

We intend to invest in wobble stopper glides as soon as we learn to say the phrase without stumbling.

Question: Why didn't they find Hitler's body?

Answer: They did. Stalin just didn't want to believe it. Stalin's obsession helped fuel rumors and theories about Hitler surviving the war.

But he surely died on April 30, 1945. As you would expect from a monster, Hitler spent his last days without the slightest remorse or guilt about his genocidal crimes. He was possibly senile at the end, a withered, palsied figure. In his final hours he railed against Jews, Marxist-Leninists, and the German people themselves.

"He blamed everything on the German people for not being tough enough to hold out," says Gordon Craig, the foremost American historian of modern Germany.

His final concern was what would happen to his corpse. He really didn't want to be captured by the Soviets, who, with 20 million dead in Hitler's war, might be disinclined to treat him cordially.

And he didn't want to end up like Mussolini. The Italian fascist's body had been strung up by its heels and displayed in public. Hitler decided to commit suicide and told his henchmen he wanted to be cremated.

"I do not want to give my enemies any chance to mutilate my corpse. I have already given orders that my body be burned. Fraulein Braun has expressed her desire to end her life with mine; I intend to shoot Blondi before I die," Hitler had said a week earlier, according to James P. O'Donnell's book "The Bunker."

Blondi was Hitler's dog.

(If he had children he probably would have killed them too - precisely the fate of the six children of Hitler's propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. While Goebbels reminisced about better days, his wife poisoned their kids. That was preferable, the Goebbelses felt, to having them grow up in a world with-out Adolf Hitler.)

On April 30, 1945, with Soviet artillery pounding Berlin, with the Third Reich in total collapse, Hitler and his new bride Eva Braun killed themselves in Hitler's bunker. Hitler bit on a cyanide pill and simultaneously shot himself. Braun took cyanide. Hitler's aides took the bodies outside the bunker, put them in a shallow trench, doused them with gasoline and, while saluting, set them on fire.

But that probably didn't do the job as Hitler had wanted, writes O'Donnell. Most of the gasoline probably sank into the earth, and there wasn't enough of a draft in the trench for an incinerating fire. Thus the bodies were probably still recognizable when they were reburied early the next day in a deeper trench dug out of an artillery shell crater.

The Germans quickly told the Soviet generals of Hitler's death, but Stalin never believed it. Stalin was obsessed with the possibility that Hitler had escaped. Soviet troops found the body of one of Hitler's doubles, and briefly thought it was the real thing, displaying it in the Chancellery. When a soldier dug up the real remains, nobody realized what they were, and they were reburied for a couple of more days until someone finally grasped what had happened.

Two dental technicians then identified a "crown bridge" they had designed for one of Hitler's molars. Stalin nonetheless kept floating the idea that Hitler still lived. At the Potsdam conference in July 1945 Stalin told Truman that Hitler might be in Spain or Argentina.

Russian historians recently said that Stalin had Hitler's remains all along. The Russians say the remains were buried and reburied several times, and finally destroyed in East Germany in 1970. They say fragments of Hitler's skull are still in Russian archives.

But Stalin couldn't accept that Hitler was dead. One monster was obsessed with the other. Stalin had desperately wanted to capture alive the man he called "the beast." Dreams die hard, as do nightmares.