Things that changed my life. 2/366. It’s odd to name a general here. It might not even be the last one you can expect here. I lust have been younger than six when I first heard about him. I guess via the movie ‘Little big man’ and also via my dad. One of the first memories I have is replaying the battle of the little Big Horn with a set of plastic soldiers designed for this. Later I used Playmobil. The story of the seventh cavalry also featured in several comic books I read. We still have thousands of them stowed away in the attic. I don’t know what hit me so profoundly about this ‘footnote’ of human history. Even stranger is that am not even American, am Belgian, but I somehow grew up with American history and not Belgian history. So what is that moved me so much?
Even to this day I can get tears in my eyes thinking of this event. Was it one of the first times I learned that ambition could kill the ambitious? That the flamboyant were mortal too? It’s true that I have never had a thing for invincible action heroes. I was introduced to Batman, Robocop, Superman at the same time as I was introduced to Custer, Napoleon, Robert E. Lee, Hitler… I found these real life figures far more interesting than any action heroes. What these four all have in common is that they were obviously gifted, but ultimately they failed. I suppose the idea ‘pride comes before the fall’ struck a deep chord in me. What I also appreciated about it was that the underdogs – the native Americans – prevailed. Am just scratching the surface here, but am convinced stories like these shaped my identity.