Sometimes you just need a laugh

With all the seriousness in epidemic mode around the world, there needs to be some kind of relief every now and then. I don't recall what set my mind in motion about what happened many years ago, but I managed a good chuckle about a couple of the things a friend and I got up to during and after our senior year in high school.

Enlistment?

The exact timing of events I can't remember (hey it was over 55 years ago), probably because one was a bit off the cuff. Maybe we were bored or couldn't think of anything else, but my friend Randy Graf and I took it into our heads to go the Armed Forces Recruitment Center in Spokane, Washington one day. Randy didn't have a car and I did, so off we set.

Most cities have these places, where there are recruitment officers for the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. All in one room with 5 desks and these guys sitting around wondering what is going to happen next (when, or if at all). They may have been talking about the latest baseball game or something along those lines, when Randy and myself walked in and looked around. All 5 representatives stood up and said hi at the same time. We saw the US Air Force desk, run by a Major and walked over to it. He said, "You boys interested in joining the Air Force?"

The other recruiters were standing near a door to watch the proceedings.

The man slid an extra chair over in front of his desk and he then proceeded to tell us all these things about what it was like to be in the USAF. On and on he went, barely pausing for breath as Randy and I sat there, trying to look as eager as possible. Our eyes wide open and occasionally saying, "Oh yeah!" or "That sounds great." or "Really?"

The clock on the wall kept ticking away and finally, after nearly an hour, the Major stopped talking: sat straight up in his chair, put his thumbs under his armpits, stuck out his chest and pronounced, "Well, what do you boys think of the US Air Force then? Oh, by the way, where do you guys live?"

We looked at each other, without any emotion present and in unison replied, "Fairchild Air Force Base."

The recruiter's jaw dropped. The other ones burst into fits of almost silent laughter, rolling against the wall and one even actually stuck a handkerchief in his mouth. Then Randy and myself joined in, laughing our heads off.

"Oh, um, well, I guess you guys know the real score then," said the Air Force Major and began to laugh as well, "...you really got me there".

We shook hands with everyone, most still in the latter stages of the hilarity and departed, still laughing, to my car. Some months later I returned and enlisted, I don't know what Randy did and have not seen or heard of him since I joined up.

How to bring a rock concert to a standstill

I think we were still in high school, some months previously, when the radio announced that Rockin' Robin Roberts and the Wailers were going to have a concert at the Spokane Armory. The MC would be Pat O'day, a top Seattle disc jockey along with another band. Normally the Armory would have a disc jock or minor group playing, but this lot from Tacoma were big over the whole Pacific Northwest. That meant the Armory would be filled to the brim, instead of the usual couple of hundred teenagers, there would be at least a 1000. Randy wanted to go, so did I.

Back then my Dad had bought me a Peugeot 403, almost brand new, but I wanted an Aston Martin DB4 we'd seen and it wasn't all that much more than the Peugeot but, Dads being Dads—I ended up with the French thing. It was in it that we drove to the Armory and were there as the place became more and more crowded. O'Day introduced the run up group which nobody paid any attention to, we wanted the Wailers. Finally the moment arrived and everyone silently waited for the announcement, it came, the cheers went up and they struck their first few notes.
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"I've lost one of my contact lens, " whispered Randy.

"You don't wear contacts," I replied—as he winked.

I then shouted at the top of my voice, "HEY EVERYONE! DON'T MOVE! THIS GUY HAS LOST HIS CONTACT LENS!"

The entire assembly froze, all 1000 plus of them. People began looking around the floor. Zippo lighters were lit all over the place. The Wailers stopped playing. Hundreds and hundreds of people were on their hands and knees, crawling around slowly, all searching for this contact lens. Myself and Randy were also down on all fours, heading toward the door as they turned the lights on and O'Day asked people to look some more.

Randy and I went through the door on our hands and knees, stood up and legged it out of the Armory. Immediately the radio was turned on—because this concert was being broadcast live over all of: Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Millions of people were listening to this thing!

It must have been about 5 or 10 minutes down the road, when the MC asked where the person was who lost his contact lens. No reply was made and the Wailers started over. We were still cracking up as the Peugeot crept us back to Fairchild AFB.

. . . . . . .

Randy and I decided that it might be a good idea not to go to the Armory again.

Nov 02, 2019


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