May 29, 2008

Thieving for Greatness?

This week’s Thursday post is brief, since I wrote a long one for Fifa’s birthday yesterday.

Two FA Cup medals were stolen during a celebration last week from a hotel where this year’s winners Portsmouth FC were staying. The FA Cup is an annual knockout tournament in England that runs concurrently with the regular leagues, culminating in May. It’s the oldest soccer competition in the world and one of the most coveted medals.

I’d like to think the thieves were troubled children who now feel like heroes. In Günter Grass’s Katz und Maus, an outsider named Mahlke is unable to resist the temptation of stealing the Knight’s Cross, which a visiting military captain to the school has left unattended in the changing room. The audacious theft gives him a profound, momentary sense of contentment and earns him the nickname, Mahlke the Great. The medal, or “coveted lozenge,” acts as an exact counterweight to his enormous, freakish, restless Adam’s apple, perfectly concealing his otherness for the first time. There’s much more to read about the troublesome pupils in Katz und Maus. I won’t spoil it for you.

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