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More Shop Characters

            While I have already made a spectacle of the dear old shop by highlighting some of the unique personalities that inhabited its demesnes, I feel that I have failed to adequately capture the full bouquet of strangeness. Perhaps I no longer have big personalities like Stinkbug, Full Frontal Ford, Smelly Miley or Angry Charlie to entertain the jaded reader, but I trust that a chuckle or two or perhaps some nasal milk will make an appearance at some point. With no further ado, oh gentle lumps of useless flesh who suckle at my well storied teat and ooze not a bit back yourselves, a tale of more shop characters.

            Though a great many airmen were probably good candidates for the fabled Section 8 dismissal, Psycho was the only case were I observed the process at work and apparently successful. The observant reader may have noted that this cat sports the same moniker as his now West Coast based doppelganger who may now be angry and confused as a result; I care less and will continue the use with impunity, regardless of any damage or elevation of reputation. Virginia Psycho is considered by some to be more deserving of the name.

            The name itself evokes the image of the hooting and hollering type of lunatic, again like the West Coast version, but that is simply incorrect in this case. Psycho was one of the quiet creepy types apt to mutter strange nonsensical threats and admonishments under his breath while affixing the object of his fascination or ire with a cold wet stare. It is somewhat disturbing that the Air Force let him get so far, but some light can be shed on the conundrum by the revelation that psychological screening consists of a self administered exam filled out on a SAT style scan-tron. I recall this gem well, with such obvious ‘correct’ answers such as, “When I feel frustrated and angry, I…. (a) Enjoy the use of violence against people and animals to feel better…. (b) Feel that my head or other extremities are disproportionately larger or smaller than the rest of me… (c)  Sometimes attempt to end my own life….. (d) Like to take a brisk walk.” While it is hard to image anyone slipping through this finely woven net, batshit crazy or not, it did happen on occasion.

            Psycho, as well as the guy in tech school who honestly and truly believed himself to be an elf (unlike the majority of the readership who only do on weekends), are two examples of those who must have pondered each choice carefully and then lied. I’m sure by now enough anticipation has been built up as to why the cut of his jib earned him the cleverly original nickname and I do aim to disappoint. Much of it of course was the threatening muttering, the vague threats against other persons in the shop (by no means a unique condition), and the disconcerting staring. There was one incident of note wherein Psycho made a rare venture out of his room to watch ‘The Exorcist’ with some of the other dormies. This proved an unwise choice as the movie had the unfortunate effect of driving him screaming from the room to hide in the holly bushes outside where he refused to budge, despite the horrendously uncomfortable prickers native to the species. The security police eventually had to be called to remove him well scraped and somewhat incoherent. He was formally dismissed not long after and hopefully has received competent help.

            Jolly was a different type of character entirely; more of a caricature at that. Form a mental picture for yourself of ‘one of those muscle guys’ and that was him lock, stock and barrel and buy yourself a ticket to the gun show; something he would request weekly. Before I paint too poor a picture, as I am about to, I would like to condition the description that for the most part he was a really nice guy and actually somewhat intelligent as well. Being one of the smart monkeys who could run TISS is not enough to exempt one from being one of those muscle guys.

            While it can be handy at times to have a muscle guy in the shop to move things around that the rest of us would rather not, it also proved to be a challenge in unexpected ways. For one, he was in the habit of twisting on connectors with every ounce of his brawny might causing frustration and shame in those of us who followed his shift. A few times even sturdy Channel locks proved powerless to undo a cable he had attached to the system, effectively killing a whole night’s work in that location. The communal jelly once enjoyed a week’s reprieve after he had been the last to use it before going on leave. Equally humiliating was his loathsome habit of placing extremely heavy things on high shelves and thereby requiring civil engineering projects to make use of them in his lack of presence.

            His most reliable and enduring characteristic were the weekly or sometimes daily stories he liked sharing to as large an audience as possible concerning someone, usually female, who caught sight of his muscles and was really impressed. I have no need to exaggerate this and even have one of them memorized as part of my repertoire of unflattering impressions I like to do. “So I was at the G….N….C (he pronounced it in single distinct letters to highlight the appropriate reverence for the place) buyin’ whey powder and this girl walks in and is checking me out. I was wearing a jacket so I took it off right away and she was like ‘Daaaamn, those are the biggest muscles I’ve seen! Can I touch your arm?’ So she squeezes my arm and says that is like the hardest thing she ever felt.” Most of the stories ran along this vein and would vary only in location, what he was wearing (usually a muscle shirt in the summer), and what exactly the individual (sometimes it was a guy) said in praise of the muscles. Despite the obvious Penthouse start, none of them were so interesting as to end with him boning her in the supply closet, presumably due to the shriveled testes.

            The one story I recall that managed to progress beyond some vapid doe eyed chickie verbally admiring his big knots of protein was well more interesting as well as disgusting. He brought a woman back to his dorm room who he managed to charm by playing tug of war in her vicinity. Breaking the cardinal rule of holding off on all but the most pressing calls of nature when one’s bed is but 8 inches from the bathroom door and a hot to trot is eager to occupy it, Jolly excused himself to the throne room for a short sit. During his brief absence it must have become clear to her that she as well could hear the call that that it was either deafening or she didn’t want to follow him in the proper location after he finished. She hadn’t counted on the awesome power of his muscular sphincter as he emerged in short order only to find her sitting, pants to the knees, upon his sink and decorating it with a golden shower. For those not in the know, the dorm sinks were located in the room proper with just the toilet and shower in the shared suite area. The date ended rather quickly after as I don’t think either was interested in taking things further, especially given his likely reluctance to wash his hands. Before parting, however, I’m sure he asked how much she could bench as he did with everyone else.

            Fortunately for everyone, the Air Force managed to obtain and keep around an older, far more disheveled version of Dave from the mullet sporting, ass ripped pants MacGyver days. We called this fellow McCarthy by request as it was his name. Unlike Dave, he lived up more to his Irish heritage as a chain smoking tosspot with a whisper on the scale of the 1812 Overture. Truly salt of the earth and endlessly entertaining not only for his colorful personality but proven ability to somehow sustain injury in even the most unlikely of circumstances. Despite this, the safety paranoid Air Force still felt comfortable allowing him to take the unofficial role of facility guy; a duty that included ladders, high voltage power inputs, spills, shop equipment, and packing things up for the exercises.

            My first encounter with McCarthy was in a morning meeting. Before the meeting began a wet/dry vac was spotted occupying the center of the room and it was passed around that McCarthy became aware of misuse and would be giving a corrective demonstration. Charlie Ahlm immediately began making wagers as to how long it would take him to injure himself in the demonstration. Low numbers were at a premium and true to prediction, about 6 minutes into the presentation McCarthy managed to stick the thing to the side of his face. Not a grievous injury but enough to win one of the sergeants a little extra cabbage. During phase exercises the betting was much more complex and involved how many injuries at what time of day and performing what activity.

            In one of my first Phase One exercises working with McCarthy, Bell and a few other ne’er-do-wells I had the opportunity to call the time on the first. We were working at the warehouse where our extra equipment was stored; an enormous structure created out of an old hanger, and it was a rainy day. In the tens of thousands of square feet of space, one tiny Suzie B size dollar puddle had formed under a pin hole leak in an out of the way area far from our equipment. McCarthy was drawn to it like a dog to a tampon in the trash. I head the cry of pain first and ran towards it to find McCarthy lying prone, his knee in hand, cursing loudly. “Bell, call the shop. He’s down.” No need to explain who as ‘he’s down’ had an understood implied subject.

            I did a very foolish thing by my own admission as a new airman in the shop. Eager to please those of superior rank, I raised my hand to volunteer to help McCarthy with a tough mission. Although I had already observed the wet/dry vac incident and could have taken a cue from the deafening silence of the other prospective volunteers, I had in mind to make sure they would know my quality. As I walked out the door, I could hear bills slapping upturned hands already as the polls opened for business. “Hope you’re not afraid of heights!” joshed McCarthy to my dismay as I was indeed was. The mission proved to be a terrifying combination of aerial acrobatics and high voltage applications. We were to climb a tall ladder to the shop roof, 3 stories up, and make our way along the flat 4 inch wide peak as the roof sloped 45 degrees to either side, and cross an unrailed 6 inch walk way between two buildings with the full 3 story drop beneath us. At our destination we were to repair the power input then make our way back.

            McCarthy took the lead and went right up the ladder as I followed with some trepidation, not knowing what lay ahead. At the top I already felt queasy as he virtually skipped along the precarious balance beam of a peak as I very slowly inched along. Where he bounded across the walkway over the gap, I stopped dead. “You have got to be fucking kidding me with this.” McCarthy cat called to me and inspired a moment of insanity as I steeled myself across the 4 foot gap. By the time I reached the power input my nerves were gone and I proved little help to him. I was feeling shaky and pouring cold sweat that was made more uncomfortable by the stiff November breeze. Getting back proved more of a challenge. I asked for an alternative and declined once I heard it was the base fire company coming to rescue me. Far better a splatter than gaining the reputation of a treed kitten.

            I’d say it took me about an hour to cover the same ground it took 10 minutes earlier. For one, there was no way I was walking. My knees no longer held the strength to support the weight and my blood sugar had dropped dangerously low. The gap was the biggest challenge as no way seemed acceptable. I wasn’t walking it, McCarthy even cautioned against jumping, especially with the headwinds against me, and even hand and knees or butt scooting seemed precarious. I finally settled on a high crawl; my hands death gripping the edges and knees and toes doing the moving. The peak was also slow going as I resorted to the aforementioned butt scoot all the way to the ladder, which I was stymied on how to mount. To this day I can deftly use a ladder to climb up but then have a dickens of a time getting off the roof. Slowly and painfully I lowered myself on to it and didn’t stop shivering until long after I had reached the ground. To McCarthy’s credit, he never breathed a word to my knowledge.

            Finally there was Farm Boy; the only allegedly heterosexual male I have ever met who was proudly inflicted with not one, but two tongue studs of the same type that Jen with the Tongue had. His attachment to these was not only unusual but perverse as well.

While it was well known that most of the shop women also sported the same fashion, only Farm Boy would be so flamboyant about it and often would draw little pictures of himself in the log book with an enormous pierced tongue sticking out. It was preminiscent of the fat kid from ‘Superbad’ drawing pictures of dicks. Interestingly enough, each woman with the same piercing when asked freely admitted that the primary benefit to this was that it significantly aided fellatio. Farm Boy stopped short of making the same admission and those of us who had to work with him declined to press the issue.

            While the rank and file were relatively unfazed by the tongue stud, Air Force management frowns upon such adornments and mandates that anything of the kind, if absolutely necessary, be hidden while one is in uniform. Tats must be hidden beneath one’s dress and alternative body jewelry, including earrings on men, must be removed unless only detectable by the most sensitive of airport security measures. Farm Boy laughed at such restrictions and almost always showed up for work with his metrosexual adornments in place and went so far as to advertise their presence by clicking them against his teeth during the morning meeting. I knew of him receiving several letters of reprimand from his arch-nemesis MSgt ‘Bud’ Weiser who took particular exception to the dick sucking accoutrements.

            Despite his unusual taste in accessories, he did manage to still attract members of the opposite sex and stumbled into what seemed to me one of the worst relationships of all time. I never met her myself but as I understand it she was reminiscent of Amy Winehouse without the ‘good’ looks or talent. Rumor had it that he found her while trolling 12 step meetings looking to score some easy tail, but we will probably never really know. The fact of the matter is that she was a known heavy user and he chose to get involved at a time that the squadron was having a massive witch hunt for illegal users after a few folks popped positive on the random urinalysis. After this the alleged randomness became so specific that there was but a 5% confidence interval that those chosen were done so by chance alone and perhaps only 1% for Farm Boy with his body jewelry and crack ho. He insisted she was clean and so was he and the test results bore surprising testament to this.

            On top of the substance abuse, she also had an oily ex boyfriend who continued to linger about at the periphery and whom Farm Boy suspected was doing more than just sniffing about and even caught the fellow in his apartment where he and Snortin’ Sally were ‘just talking’ in a state of half undress. Despite all of these gigantic warning signs that indicated he should do nothing other than run away fast, he chose the opposite path and invited her to move in with him into his studio apartment where he felt he could keep a better eye on her. He picked an ideal time to do this a week or two before he was set to leave for Saudi for several months.

            He returned to find the predictable results; she back with Oil Can Harry who had moved into Farm Boys digs less than a week after he left, back into heavy use, and having sold most of his stuff to finance it all. His apartment was near empty, she was long gone but for the lingering stench of patchouli, and he faced eviction both for the misuse of the property and the non-payment of the rent he had left her to deliver in his absence. If it was a lesson well learned I will never know and I can well imagine by now he has found ways to shove several more pounds of metal into uncomfortable places of questionable masculinity and is likely involved with a transvestite hooker by now.

            Without question there are more interesting characters than this meager handful but they appear and will yet be uncovered under the mists of other stories wherein they play their roles for brief shining moments of tawdry brilliance before fading like a match lit in the toilet.


14 Responses

  1. I will begin preparing for your inevitable sudden disappearance when Jolly reads this. He will not need his shriveled testicles to kill you with a fork, as I hear they teach you in the Air Force.

    “drawn to it like a dog to a tampon in the trash”.. what the fuck Mike. Trying too hard to us this idiotic expression.

    How did the get the name “Farm Boy”? Was he actually from a farm?

  2. Actually it was a spoon they taught us with as they were too afraid someone would get poked with the tines during practice. In any case, I was much better at spooning then Jolly, so worry not, I will be here for the long haul to your dismay.

    You understand of course that the tampon comment and those similar are Easter eggs for your benefit. Be grateful that I narrowly managed to avoid yet further mention of the severed deer head.

    I don’t remember where Farm Boy was from, but it was what I called him since his last name was Farmer. He liked it slightly less than you liked being called ‘Boscoe’.

    Is your address still the same place in Sunnyvale?

  3. I can imagine your Air Force spooning classes. A line of beds and a Sgt. yelling “Cuddle left!”

    The deer head. Can we all email your old roommate a picture of the deer head?

    Unlike others on this blog I prefer you to email me off the blog for my address. Can I expect a *-mas gift! Happy Happy Joy Joy

  4. Thanks Mike for the kind words…I heard that you were around on the web.


  5. Jolly! Nice to hear from you! I hope you took a moment to read the disclaimer and understand that all stories are parodies and considered to be nothing more than ficticious sources of amusement.

    How have you been? It’s amazing, through this Kent Lambrecht, Jake B… (ok, so I can’t spell his last name), Rocky Vance, Celeste Lawinger and now you have found this.

    I hope all is well and great to hear from you!

  6. Since when have you known me to get upset? I know that it is a parody and not all facts are correct 🙂

    Things are good…still in the great USAF…only 9 more years to go before retirement, but who is counting…oh wait….ME!!! It has only gone down hill since Langley.

    Yeah I found out about this through Celeste since she lives three houses down from me. It has been pretty funny to read since I only have half of the story anyway. It is almost like you have continued with the Saudi Cronicles (sp?).

  7. Things went down after Langley? Ugh. Of course you never got wrapped up in all the foolishness as the rest of us; especially in the stories to come.

    If you want to write me direct, it’s bonsaimew@gmail.com.

    Small world with Celeste down the road! I heard rumor that Vaughn is also there. Is this true?

  8. No…I don’t know where Steve is.

  9. Steve is a recruter in PA. Kevin, I heard you have a couple of kids now. Is that true?

  10. What are you troops up to? I hope all of you are doing well. I am retired and working UAVs in CA or other places around the world.

  11. Rocky, no only one…will probably be a only child 🙂

    Chuba, good to see an old boss. How are things in the UAV world?

  12. Kevin, The UAV business is booming. I couldn’t be happier. Retirement from the AF is just awesome. No more short suspenses or meetings. I hope you find out some day. I still miss the people.

  13. Mighty Wolf, now I know where that deer head came from. And yes I did have a few comments but that was after laughing my ass off. Never lose your sense of humor!!

  14. Gary! Great to see you show up! Quite a few of the old shop now have a well. Funny how posting an exaggerated old story will do that. I added you on Facebook and hope to catch up over there.

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