One of my most favourite songs was "One" by Metallica (and I still like the song and get shivers when I hear it, although I do not listen to Heavy Metal any more).
The last few days I have been doing some archiving of my old VHS tapes alongside of what I normally do. And one of them contained the video of "One", a video I had seen a dozen times and more in my former, younger life. I remember I even showed it to my English class when each of us had to do a presentation about some topic. And I chose "One" back then.
So two days ago, as I was typing on my computer, these videos of my former life were on the TV screen while being copied to my DVR. And when the first notes of "One" were heard I stopped what I was doing, stood up and placed myself in front of the TV to watch the video of the song I had loved so much more than 20 years ago for the first time again since then.
But this time the video and the song struck a totally different cord in me. Although I knew the video very well and although I still know the lyrics by heart I was shaken to the core while watching it. Of course I already knew back then that the song dealt with war, with a life that almost everything was taken from, with an individual left helpless by professionals and doctors and every other human being around him, with the devastation and the desparation this individual suffers and with an end to the story that is absolutely horrifying. But it was not before the day before yesterday that I really could relate to it all somehow. And since then I cannot stop thinking about why it hit me so hard although it was nothing new to me that I saw.
I do not know if it is because I am older now and more comprehensive. If it is because I witnessed so much cruelty and brutality and horrible things that happened around the globe since I was young and carefree. Or if it is because some years ago I have dived into the world of special needs, gradually but steadily, and thus my universe was expanded in a way I never wasted any brain power on, being the healthy, quite intelligent, athletic teenager that I was. Because now my antennaes are out on everything dealing with special needs or disabilty. I actually notice people in wheelchairs or with other disabilites. I read stories about people with disabilities being abused, maltreated, institutionalised. People who cannot speak for themselves and who cannot defend themselves. People who rely on other people and who are let down by their caregivers. And these stories break my heart.
Back in my teenage days I thought this was just fiction. And although the subject is a different one, on Tuesday I saw the video with different eyes for the first time.
PS: Something weird happened on Tuesday with regard to this. I copied and saw the video on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday afternoon I saw a Facebook status update of Metallica saying that this exact day, on January 22, 1989, the video for "One" debuted. As I said, I hadn't see it for probably 20 years or more until Tuesday. What a coincidence.
PPS: The original film is called "Johnny got his gun". I found out I have it on VHS tape, too. I have never watched it so far and now I am not sure if I will ever be able to do so.