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Date

06/19/2021

Women In Hardhats Are Sexy – Yes, You Can Thank Franz Kafka

On the bus this evening ,a young lady in a “Security” uniform got on. She was also wearing a hardhat – a snazzy grey hardhat,

This took me back to the days (and many things take me back to the days) when I knew a couple who worked in the movie trade. He was a cameraman and she was an editor – though each knew the others job pretty well.

They were dealing with a scene where a construction company was renovating an old building. It was being shot on location beside a real old building (a railway station) that had fallen into great disrepair. There were big machines, piles of dirt, construction supplies and construction ‘workers’.

The scene focused on two women who were (if I remember) partners in the construction firm. They were on site to direct the operation. A whole scene had been shot, showing the work in progress and various conversations between the two actresses.

But then everything was hauled to a stop.

One of the “producers” (that is, someone who was supplying the money) had an idea. Which is never good from folk who are not expected to have any ‘creative’ say. They are there to count the dollars and cents.

However, this fellow wanted the whole scene (a morning’s work with actors and machines and crew) re-shot. He wanted the two actresses to wear hardhats. He liked to see women in hardhats,

Well, Buddy was helping pay the bills, and everyone would just get paid twice for doing the scene again. And maybe the different lighting would not be noticed.

So, hardhats were found and the whole thing was shot again.

And – yes – we can thank Franz Kafka for this, because he invented the hardhat through his work with the “Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia.”

And, decades later, I have used this dilapidated railway station as a setting for one of the chapters in my current novel – though there are no hardhats.

Kafka Aims For The New Year

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In Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the ‘missing’ diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. There are some estimates that Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

26 December 1916

The saints and the sinners can sometimes sing together.

 

27 December 1916

Ottla says I am staying here too late into the night. But she is implying more. I am certain she is soon to tell me that I should stay in her tiny house all night. Sleep here. Have things prepared and ready so I could go directly to the office in the morning. But the office must be more than just distance from this place.

 

28 December 1916

Another wretched letter to F. A response to anguish and accusation. Perhaps Ottla is only half right. Perhaps I should shut myself up into this hovel from morning to night and then night to morning. Let the snow pile to the rooftops, and become as hidden and secure as any mouse in its burrow. And if I dare push my snout through the snow to snuff at the air, they can all be standing with shovels at the ready to pile me in deeper. That would be best.

I can not take love, and I certainly can not give love. Not what is expected, and certainly not what is needed. To express what I feel is indeed like yelling through a mountain of snow. It is absorbed. It is deflected. It is diffused. By the time my love reaches the real world, it is a ghost which – although it can not be seen – can still cause a person to shiver. If I did not know that for a couple of times – especially with the Swiss girl in Italy – my love had possessed a body, I would bar the door forever.

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