Sunday, July 19, 2009
Love American VS Korean Style #18
So there I was. It was a sunny and chilly afternoon in the southern part of South Korea April 1st, 1975...or as the US Army taught me to properly write the date "1 Apr 75". A date written down in the annals of time, such as when O.J. put on the gloves that didn't fit! A date when Al Gore invented the Internet...or how about when Nancy Pelosi announced, "America must be a light to the world, not just a missile." ? ...or when Bill Clinton wagged his finger at Hillary and said "She was just delivering some pizza and cigars...I swear ta gawd, Hill." I am talking a day that would go down as an eternal score for the good guys (ME)... or one on which I would crash & burn, as I previously did with a one-wheeled bicycle into some banjo (sewage) ditch along an unnamed and unpaved street on a cold and lonely March night in "The Land of the Morning Calm" Pusan, South Korea. It's hell being in love. It's paradise being in love. Yep, that's love. Anyway, I was 20 and 1/2 years old almost, a follower of men (I was an Army M.P. Specialist 4th class E-4), and a chaser of women. I was one cool cat, alright. I was a tiger on the prowl. Playboy extraordinaire. Looking back on it all, the older I get... the better I was! Elvis wished he could be me. In fact, I was Elvis in the cool spring airs of Pusan Harbor, in the year of raging hormones, Nineteen-Hundred and Seventy-Five. Now, after all of my misadventures thus far...
In Part 1- I met the girl I would marry. Her name is Kim and RUV is in the air!!!
In Part 2- Spent all my money on a MASTER PLAN to set up a birthday party that would put me with Kim.
In Part 3- Stupid master plan FAILS!Kim gets puked on by drunk Birthday Boy. Kim leaves. I am miserable.
In Part 4- Korean Grandmothers (Shaman) take pity on me. We Kamikaze in a taxi to Kim's. Grandma's sitting on my lap crushing my huevos. I may never have children.
In Part 5- I survive the taxi ride. The Grandmothers tell me they will fix all. I must return to base. I can't beat the midnight curfew but I damn sure try.
In Part 6- Suicide ride on a bus bumper. Crash. Injuries and more. Concussion too! Police chase! Escape & Evade!
In Part 7- Climb a telephone pole. Steal a bike with one wheel. Make my Great Escape!
In Part 8- Ride bike into a Banjo-Ditch (sewage). Another concussion and a laceration on the forehead. I crawl out and am captured by the ROK Army, then returned to base.
In Part 9- Got stitches/medical treatment at 0130 hours. Later that AM, a meeting with Military Police 1SG Black Thunder Johnson. Made an Ambassador to South Korea. Run to Motor Pool for a jeep.
In Part 10- Bicycle recovered. I fall into the banjo ditch. 1SG YOON/1SG Johnson/Me and the Korean Grandfather have a Pow-wow. Intercultural relations rebuilt! Valuable lessons learned.
In Part 11- The First Sergeants have a meeting. I am cleaned up at a ROK Army wash point. We go to Kim's. I am OBAMA, to the Korean OPRAH's (Grandmothers). I SEE KIM! We are returning to base.
In Part 12- I return to Camp with the First Sergeant's, jeep, and bicycle. My squad members, the house boys, and I/we all ponder MY fate. We break for chow (lunch). I opt for a nap and am awoken by my Squad leader SSG OLY. Intro to Staff Sergeant Oly (The Big "O") and the infamous Three Beeps! Time has come...I head for the orderly room.
In Part 13- I report to the orderly room. My fate is suspended until the next day when I must report back to the First Sergeant with my Squad Leader. I am re-directed to the unit supply room and meet Sergeant James Wheeler.
In Part#14- Learn about ambassadorship, love of life, Korean orphanages, and about giving from the US Army's Santa Claus, Sergeant Jimmy Wheeler.
In Part#15- I was to meet my fate. But what was it? I was reassigned and given a "Special Assignment". But what was it? I didn't know.
In Part#16- My "Special Assignment" was to ride shotgun on the trash truck going through our Army base. I banged my head on the truck's handrail and limply fell to the ground. With Kotex applied to my forehead I was taken to the Evac Hospital and returned to my unit. I am a cross between Elvis, Audie Murphy, Evel Knievel, Sad Sack, Ralph Kramden, and a crash test dummy.
In Part#17- I meet with The Iron Empress of Korea and her man, Huey P. LeDew of Houma, Louisiana. A date with my KIM...the love of my life, is arranged.
...getting me here to this point, I wait at Camp Hialeah's Gate #1 to meet with the lovely girl named KIM and with our escorts... The Iron Empress, and her husband PFC Huey P. LeDew of Houma, Louisiana. I am at the gate early, alone, and keep nervously checking my Timex. Let's see...I have my Ray Bans on, blue jeans, cowboy boots, and a gold-brown corduroy jacket. They are 29 and 3/4 seconds late! Where the hell are they?! I curse God, Buddha, Ringo Star, Commander-in-Chief Jerry Ford, and The Jackson Five! I check my watch...42.3 seconds late and counting. I pray to all the powers that be! I pray like Dick Nixon to Jerry Ford for a pardon. I prayed not just for me (so God would figure I was not some selfish and foolish racist) but for Arthur Ash, that he would make it to Wimbledon and win! I even prayed that Soul Train would outlast American Bandstand! I tried showing mercy, in an effort to get some mercy from God...so I prayed that those damned heathen Oklahoma Sooners and their head-coach (the anti-Christ) Barry Switzer be forgiven for winning the 1974 NCAA Football Championships! In case the Lord was a big fan of the Lutherans... I even praised Him for bringing victory to the lowly Texas Lutheran Bulldogs in the year of His greatness, 1974. I took on a vow of chastity, promising never to stroke-it again! I told the great "I am" that I would become a monk. A monk dedicated to minister only to the "special needs" of my girl, Kim...if only He would hear my plea from that barren desert of an army camp and give me a lucky break. Now up to then I was never one to cut deals with God but I was desperate and in love. I checked my Timex. It was as if time had stood still. I asked the MP's at the gate what time it was and wound my watch. It takes a licking but keeps on ticking. Now I'm thinking and I remembered I was an hour early. Oh, that's right. They are not late. I am early. Like I said, it was a cool Tuesday afternoon but I was sweating. I lit up another Marlboro Light and waited.
Now Mr Chicken began to peck at my brain...asking me questions. Questions like..."What are you doing getting involved with a Korean girl? What would the family back home say? You are something like 5,500 miles from home and you don't even know this girl but you think you're in love with her? What kind of crazy crap is that?! Mr Chicken continued to harass and peck my mind some more with thoughts like "What does she see in you? You are less than nothing. Unworthy of such a girl!" An anger began inside me. A rage. I deeply wanted to choke that chicken for planting such doubts! I talked back to the chicken who'd come home to roost in my mind. Shutting him up, praying to the God of Love (Tom Jones) praying...
I, I who have nothing.
I, I who have no one.
Adore you and want you so
I'm just a no one
With nothing to give you...but, oh
I LOVE YOU!
Damn the chickens! Full speed ahead! Where'd that come from? I must have been in the Navy in a previous life. My mind must be playing tricks on me. What the hell... I light up another Marlboro and check the Timex. Thirty minutes to go. I look at the flame coming from my Zippo lighter when it happens. Another spiritual attack aimed for my lame brain. I think...what if the taxi they were riding in got in a fiery crash and they were all burnt up and killed? Now I'm thinking just like my Mom, the Jehovah's Witness, herself. Damn it! Bad enough the chicken in my head but now I have to fight my Mom and fend off the Battle of Armageddon within my mind! Son.of.a.bitch. See...my Dad was an electrician and my Mom would always work up these scenarios in her head where Dad was killed while Dad was away at work when she wasn't busy talking smack about "worldly people" to some other Jehovah's Witness ladies on the party-line or reading the latest word from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Old Milwaukee, Florida. Mom had options, various options, for Dad's death... like death by electrocution...or falling off a power pole. She even came up with having a power pole fall on him. But Mom's favorite story she would tell us kids, while he was at work, had to be by having my Dad die a grizzly death up on a power pole when the transformer he is servicing suddenly explodes! Blows his head clean-off! Next, the trunk of his body falls off the power pole onto an adjacent busy street when, from out of nowhere, a speeding convoy of heavy-duty semi tractor-trailer rigs (18 wheelers) carrying hundreds and thousands of telephone poles for the PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) run over Dad's still smoldering carcass!!! Now, after telling us kids all of this, Mom would calm us down and assure us that Jehovah God would take good care of us thanks to the "Mutual of Omaha" and that it was most unfortunate that Dad would not be one of the 144,000 chosen for heaven, since he was a heathen Baptist after-all. Mom further gave us hope for the future (without a Dad) by telling us she would buy us a ranch and we could all have our own pony. Cool, huh? Oh well... I know Jehovah is playing with me now, so I make another deal. I tell Jehovah I will be especially good and that when I come home on leave, that I will be sure and go to all the meetings at the Kingdom Hall. Even making it to the Wednesday night bible study meetings! I do this while covering up my dog tags that clearly state my name, social security number, blood type, and my religious preference....the one that says "NONE"! Oh well. Jehovah soon grants my wish (sort 'a) with the arrival of a taxi in front of the gate. I hear the unmistakable Cajun voice of Huey P. LeDew calling me over. I put out a smoke and hurry over to the Korean taxi. The taxi is blue. The sky is blue. There's no Kim in the taxi. I am blue.
(TO BE CONTINUED)