Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Lizard and the Fried Egg

I have a very unique filling system. The papers, letters and notes that I save eventually go into one of four boxes. These are not the regular store bought cardboard boxes (some assembly required – very dangerous words), that fall apart at the seams, if they are inappropriately handled; these are sturdy empty beer bottle cases. My four boxes are from four different beers.

The way that my system works is very simple. I let papers etc. pile up on the shelves of my computer desk. When the shelves get three quarters full, I transfer the material to one of the four boxes. But first I have to sort through the box and remove stuff that I no longer need to save; to make room for the new stuff that I no longer need to save. This can be an arduous time consuming task.

The other day my wife (who is currently visiting, here in Florida) asked me about some financial notes that I had made last year. I knew right where to look; Samuel Adams Winter Ale. I remembered that this was the last box that I had sorted through last March. How I remember this even amazes me; I’m the guy that can’t remember what he ate for dinner three nights ago.

I found the papers, but more importantly I found a letter written to me by a friend (Greg) on December 26, 2007. My friend lives in the Hotsy-Totsy Brentwood section of LA. In fact, not far from the Swartzneggers (he and Maria shop for groceries in the same store - well la-di-da). He is more of a Beach Bum than I am; he spends a lot of his time on the beach in Santa Monica (he’s friends with Bobby Shriver of the Kennedy Clan) and at Malibu Beach. He is still (mentally) living in the 1960’s and early 1970’s (he even continues to wear tie-dyed shirts). “Surf’s up, dude.”

In his letter he writes (among other things):

“Got your singing Christmas Tell-E-Gram. Nice to hear your single malt juiced, Marlboro cracked contralto. Slay-belles, my rectal obtrusion.” He was referring to me calling him on Christmas night and singing Winter Wonderland on his answering machine.

I met Greg when I was stationed at Kagnew Station in 1967. Someone had nicknamed him Lurch (because of the way he moved his head while making guttural sounds – just like the Addams Family character did) it stuck and to this day we all call him Lurch.

Lurch is an extremely intelligent person, but if you didn’t know him well you might think otherwise. To say that his sense of humor is a little off-center is a gross understatement.

The day that I met him he was crawling down the hall in the Barracks like a lizard. He did this to perfection. If a fly (and there were many flies in Ethiopia – we called them the National Bird) flew past he would try to zap it with his tongue. This was very impressive to say the least. He fit in well with us other nut cases.

Another sight gag that he preformed was the Fried Egg. He learned this from a guy nicknamed Waldo. Together he and Waldo would do variants of the Fried Egg, such as two over easy and a fried egg with bacon. Again, as with the Lizard, this was a true art form appealing to the minds of the demented. In fact, it was better then the fried egg on the anti-drug commercials (and that was a real egg).

He was also very proficient at shooting and killing flies with rubber bands. But he was best known for his putdowns of senior NCOs and Officers. He did this with class and finesse. The victim rarely realized what he was doing or actually saying to them. That was truly a gift.

Tonight I will drink a single malt scotch and smoke another Marlboro in his honor. And perhaps I’ll sing Winter Wonderland. It’s a good excuse for me to indulge in all of my bad habits.

The Beach Bum

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