You know the type. The ones that seem to come from nowhere.
This didn't really qualify for the "True Tales" series. It comes from A&P School.
Everyone had a nickname. It was un-taught basic training.
Whether you know it or not EVERYONE on every hangar deck everywhere has a nickname. If you don't know what your nickname is, you probably don't want to know.
I WILL NOT list all of mine.
My favorites were; my call sign, "Comanche" because I picked it. (Safer that way!), "Mad Max", for my deft right hand/ third world driving skills and "Largee".
My best friends in A&P school were; Dodge, Attitude, Fast Talkin' Slow Walkin', Walta, Sharkey, Blastweld, Doxi-Dan, Bubba, Docta Ro, etc.
I was just thinking about a time when Attitude, Dodge and I were all in the cab of a small four speed pick-up.
(Does a nickname like Attitude really need to be explained? Dodge became Dodge due to the enormous 4 door, 4 wheel drive, 440 cubic inch Dodge pick-up he drove.)
In the little truck I sat left seat, operated the 'yoke' and the pedals, and cleared traffic from the Port side. Attitude sat 'bitch' (which didn't help his attitude) and manned the gear shift (which didn't help his attitude). Dodge sat left seat, cleared traffic on the Starboard side and poked fun at Attitude for sitting 'bitch'. (Hey, if you don't have a thick hide you don't belong on a hangar deck or in the cab of a truck with two A&P's!)
We successfully navigated around Dallas and had a great time.
I have no idea what made me think about it but it got me to thinking about friends I have not seen for years.
Almost all of those guys were married when we started school.
School was 7 and 1/2 hours a night, five nights a week for 14 months.
Attitude was one of the upstanding family men. Clean cut, pressed shirt, corporate job, etc.
I of course was among the few as yet undomesticated (and still not house-broke) single guys and lived with similar animals.
Occasionally Attitude would ask, "Where's the party?" That meant that the Wife and Kids were out of town. Yeehaw!!!
[Holy Smokes, I just remembered Attitude, Sharkey and I and the After-Hours Club! I've got the giggles...]
Attitude was the first victim of A.I.D.S I ever knew.
For those that don't know, AIDS is an affliction that attacks air crew of all sorts, 'AVIATION INDUCED DIVORCE SYNDROME'. There is an inversion syndrome, S.I.C.K., 'Spouse Induced Career Killer'.
If you are air crew and have avoided this (these) Syndrome you still know plenty of people that have fallen prey to it (them).
It began in A&P school. The long hours getting through school took a toll. Attitude wasn't the only one to fall. I can think of FOUR guys in the list above that were divorced during or shortly after A&P School.
Dodge and his family came to Alabama and participated in my first wedding. His Wife even stood in as the 'Bride' at the rehearsal. There were some that felt she and I put too much enthusiasm into the rehearsal kiss. Mostly Dodge and my Fiance'. It was just a peck.
The last time I saw Dodge was here in San Antonio several years ago. It turned into a tale not worthy of retelling. Suffice to say it was the last time 4 of us (from School) were in the same room. Dodge, Sharkey, Me and Jose Cuervo.
The last time I saw Attitude was in the airport in San Francisco.
I was on my way to Korea for the first time and had a layover.
Attitude was a no show.
Several weeks later he called the Homestead. He'd been in a motorcycle wreck. 'Holy Crap?!'
Wait a minute...???... Attitude? Motorcycle?
We reset the visit for my return trip.
I had not seen Attitude since school, four or five years I guess.
In the airport, I was headed down a long, steep flight of stairs (or escalator?), looked up and saw an individual in the requisite airline mechanic uniform.
But, his hair was down below his shoulders and... is that... an ear ring?!?!?!
The individual was behind glass and too far away speak or even shout to so...
I shot him the bird.
He fired back and grinned.
We met up in a bar near my gate, I bought a round and we began to tell our tales.
I finished my beer and ordered another, "Attitude, you ready for another?"
"No, I don't need another DUI?"
Attitude?! DUI?! My, how the worm had turned.
Just to throw this in, I don't condone or encourage drunk driving (nor do I get coffee in the drive thru on amateur night).
One stray thought lead to a lot of other stray thoughts that loosely became a post. With any luck, I'm just warming up!!! [Apologies to B.B., I actually warmed up with an email to P'cola this afternoon. But, hey, since they lack a newspaper there maybe they need some entertainment.]
- ► 2008 (55)