Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Highway to Heck

I was supposed to have finished college in the spring of '86. But in the fall of my junior year I had (in order to finish up all of my required course work) taken five classes, three computer science, one meteorology, and one history. That was the semester I "hit for the cycle." One A, one B, one C, one D, and (of course) one F.

I was pissed more because of the B, which was in history, than the other grades. I mean it was the only freaking B I ever got in history. The A was in meteorology, which was sort of an introductory class. Learned I lot I did. When the professor said that all we really needed to do was "show up," he wasn't really kidding.

The C, the D, and the F were in my computer science studies. Which explains why I didn't graduate with my classmates. No big deal, as I mentioned the other day, the Air Force would bend over backwards to get you that degree. Provided you hadn't made a complete dog's breakfast of things.

Which I had not. Not quite anyway.

Now two of the courses I needed to actually graduate weren't offered in the summer. My Air Force advisor, a decent chap at Wright-Patterson AFB, said, "Not to worry, take them in the fall. Hey, if you also want to get a minor in history, you can knock out two of those courses this summer and take the last one you need in the fall."

So I did just that.

Now after all the trials and tribulations it was graduation day, a cold December day in Fort Collins it was. I had purchased a video camera earlier in the year so The Missus Herself volunteered to tape the ceremony. Bear in mind, back then video cameras were either VHS or, getting rare by then, Betamax format. We had a VHS camera, damned thing must have weighed 20 pounds. And here was the love of my life volunteering to lug it around for the ceremony.

My graduation ceremony, in a word, sucked. Sucked bad it did. All of the PhD and Masters candidates got to hear their names called and go up on stage to collect their actual diplomas. When their moment of glory had passed, they announced that all of us lowly undergrads could grab a diploma case from the strategically located boxes along the walls, thank you for playing, and if you actually graduated you'd get your diploma in a couple of weeks. Now sit and be quiet for the guest speaker.

Was I pissed? You betcha.

But gamely I waved to my wife, who was taping the proceedings, and settled in for our guest speaker. This gentleman was the actual, I shit-you-not, President of The Gambia.

Uh, what's "The Gambia" you might wonder?

Yup, that appendix looking shape, surrounded on three sides by Senegal, is The Gambia.
(Source)
Now I didn't know much about the President at the time, one Sir Dawda Jawara, other than his English was heavily accented and coupled with the execrable sound system made him nearly unintelligible. And, like most politicians, he didn't know quite when to shut up.

When we got home, we wanted to show the kids "Dad's graduation ceremony." Which was apparently all static with some monotonous droning noise in the background. Seems the camera was very touchy and had to be at just the right temperature and once the tape is in, record a little, check the picture, then don't touch anything after that.

At any rate, college was over (and yes, my actual diploma had come in the mail) and it was time to start thinking about Officer Training School. Three months down at the Medina Annex to Lackland AFB, Texas. Remember the other day when I mentioned that I had spent the first eight months of my married life on Okinawa, while the love of my life lived in Korea?

Yeah, that sucked.

So I wasn't all that thrilled to be heading off and leaving the matriarch and the three bairns at home. I knew that I would miss them terribly. Been there, did that for a month when I went to NCO Leadership School in Japan, at Yokota Air Base. When I had left, The Naviguesser hadn't started sitting or crawling or any of that stuff. When I returned I didn't even recognize him! He was sitting up and starting to get mobile.

And I missed that. Oh well, in the interests of the mission, getting a commission, I figured I could handle it. Although I had asked around about OTS, all I got was the official USAF propaganda, seems no one I knew had ever been there. All of the officers at the ROTC detachment were ROTC or Academy, they had no idea.

So one clear day in January, I hit the road. I should have known that something was amiss when I realized that I had to report in on the day before the Super Bowl. Our actual training would not commence until Tuesday. As our very own Denver Broncos, with John Elway under center, were headed to the Super Bowl that year, I assumed that we would all bond while watching the Super Bowl together.

Right? I mean only communists would ignore The Big Game, right?

Well, communists and the training staff at OTS.

I had no idea, as I rolled down I-25 for the drive to San Antonio, that I was on the Highway to Heck.


Author's notes:

1) I originally was going to call this post "Highway to Hell," with appropriate musical accompaniment, but as bad as Medina sucked (and OMG it sucked bad), it wasn't Hell. Not even close. Also, I don't particularly care for that song, though it has a catchy tune and I do like most of AC/DC's stuff. Just not that one. I'm not one to tempt the Fates, dontcha know?

2) If I had finished the whole story today, it would disappoint poor Beans. He so loves giving me crap about the whole episodic, cliff-hangar aspect of this tale. Who am I to deny him this marvelous opportunity to complain? ;)

3) I mentioned the eyes the other day. Eye exam on Friday, dilation and poking and prodding of the ocular sensors left me in something of a blurry mess through most of Saturday. Seems that the pressure in my left eye was hovering around 41. About 21 points higher than is healthy. Glaucoma? I don't know, I didn't ask. Eye drops were prescribed.

4) Follow up visit on Monday, pressure was down to 19. Well within acceptable parameters. (Right eye had no issues either day.) I have to see a specialist in September, also a follow up to my eye doctor in the same month. After a regimen of eye drops thrice a day until then. Probably for the rest of my life in all likelihood. But hey, I'm starting to nail the target on the first pass, both eyes, ninety percent of the time.

Yay, me.

And "eye drops for life" sure beats the alternative.

In any event, I shall keep all y'all posted.

Stay tuned...



50 comments:

  1. My thoughts here in the Barber's Burrow will include you, until we get the word on your eyes. It isn't a faulty eye compressor, or sticky relief valve?

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  2. Ya....... you got hit with a jacka$$ grad "ceremony" all right, leave it to "higher education" to bolox that. Hope the eye keeps behaving, Sarge. Another installment...... can't wait to hear Beans riposte!

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    1. Yes indeed!

      As to Beans forthcoming tirade, all the world waits with bated breath!

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    2. Are you saying that I am a Master Bater?

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    3. Um, um, no comment?

      Though we are all good at something.

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  3. When my dad wanted to call you a liar, but decided to be tactful, he'd say you were "full of beans." Just a bunch of air. I didn't realize that he'd made such an impact on me.

    I, too, made it to maturity this week. Pills for life.... I feel your pain. I really do. I'll keep you on the prayer list as well. Those winders are most important.

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    1. Hahaha, "full of beans," my grandparents used that as well.

      Beans, you care to respond? (Oh shit, oh dear, now I'm in for it!)

      Thanks STxAR, I guess a pillbox with slots for the days of the week can't be too far behind!

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    2. You mean you ain't got one of those pillboxes, yet? Piker! That's the only way I know which day of the week it is.

      And...Yes....My Brother Rower, Beans, is going to take you to the woodshed. (To mix a whole bunch of metaphors.)

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    3. Hhmm, better buckle up guys, I'm feeling the need for speed. That is, waterskiiing behind the trireme.

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    4. What? What did I do? (Looks guilty, which is a perpetual state with Beans...)

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    5. Come on man! You know what you did. Or will do. Or might do.

      This is too easy...

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    6. This, this is stereotyping! I am shocked and ashamed at ALL of YOU! Only the Saintly Mrs. Beans can truly read Beans' minds with any reliability.

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    7. No, no, it's profiling. Which is even more insulting.

      ;)

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    8. I must inform you that, contrary to what your limited, aged and feeble brain seems to think, I am more than just a walking rant machine.

      Yeeeesh, old people, so friggin stuck in a rut, I tell ya. No wonder your wife thinks your first name is Youreanidiot.

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    9. Yes, yes, there is a kinder, gentler Beans.

      Thousand points of light, etc.

      ;)

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    10. Thousand points of light, ON FIRE!!!!

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  4. Sure hope your eye situation resolves itself in a good way.

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    1. Things could be worse, I've got that going for me.

      Thanks Cap'n!

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  5. I’ve been dealing with eye drops since “the procedure.”
    Slowly being weaned off... Friday’s the last day for the steroids.
    I kinda like the serialiized version, don’t mind waiting for the punchline.

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  6. Since relieving pressure often involves drill bits, I'm glad some simple drops are the Rx. By the way, your hitting for the cycle analogy is hilarious. As for your serial nature of this story, you just need to add some teasers- "Will our intrepid hero pass Calculus? Or will the evil professor exact his revenge?!"

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    1. D'oh! I wish I'd thought of that.

      But hey, I might use that in the future.

      (Drill bits!?!?!? Oh dear Lord don't even go there. I have a friend at work who has some weird eye issues, they actually drilled into his skull above his right eye to try and figure something out. OUCH! - And no, they haven't figured it out yet.)

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    2. Well, if you're thinking of drill bits, make sure you order one of these.

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    3. Um, um, um. Yes, a mask, that's what you want. Not sure you want THAT mask.

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    4. Ignoring juvat's last response (eye bleach, lots of eye bleach,) there is some valid theory behind depressurizing the sinus passages around the eye if the eye is being overpressured by the swelling of the sinuses. It's one of those semi-radical newer medical theories that our less advanced ancestors knew about.

      Like actual trepanning. Someone has a history of migraines or other long-term headaches, or is suffering from severe head trauma. Drilling a hole in the skull to relieve blood pressure and spinal/brain fluid does have some medical benefits in certain cases. But it's the after-care that will save or kill the poor victim.

      And, juvat, seriously? You liked it so much you had to post it twice? Sick man, sick sick man. Heat must be getting to you.

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    5. Juvat - it's the same link dude. What is it about ladies' undergarments and fighter pilots?

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    6. Beans - I know of this trepanning of which you speak.

      Which reminds me, my leech prescription needs filling.

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  7. Your graduation... suuuuuucked. Sorry to hear about that.

    Mrs. Andrew's BA graduation, which she struggled for, as the school cancelled her major in her junior year and she had to find another major (from a hard science based computer management program to a fluffy liberal arts computer library management program, like going from a Ferrari (Any) to a Fnord (Pinto) difference. Oh, and she did this as an adult, while working 15 hour days 6 days a week after having a cancerous tumor removed from her spine... So the graduation was special important. First one she ever got to attend (HS graduation was... another story.) So we get room in city (program was on-line, location 3 hours away, because our local university was too snobbish to have online courses or 'allow' part time or evening classes. UF sucks, by the way. Big ones. I only can repeat the name 'Galen Hall' all day every day until I die in order to show how much unlikingness I feel towards them.)

    So we get to Free Shoes U. Where everyone is nice, friendly, place is better laid out, get to graduation, people are fawning over Mrs. Andrew, because she's really a neat lady and wicked smart, and we settle down for the show. Commencement speaker is some far-left douche-nozzle of a leftist (this is a few years after 9-11) and goes onto a 30 minute screed on how unjust the American way of life and especially President Bush (II) was for actually requiring foreigners to have actual approved paperwork to come into this country legally and his main gripe was his best liberal commie professor buddy was Canadian and his wife and children were Iranian and they all went 'home to Canada' for Christmas the previous year and just because his wife's and children's paperwork wasn't up to snuff the USA didn't allow them back in so his best bud was familyless and blah blah blah. (I wanted to shout to him in my best Herald voice (loud, very loud) that "Good for US, you should have your papers in order to come here, and by the way, all those US Servicemembers now experiencing the same separation from family thing are 5000 times better than you commie professors... But I didn't. I thought about it. Thought about it hard! Sent evil mean nasty thoughts at the commie jerk I did.)

    So nice for someone to take a life-changing moment and take a massive Taco Bell Dump on it, isn't it?

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    1. I couldn't have said it better myself. (No really, I love the way you examine life, picking it up by the scruff of the neck, shaking it vigorously, then kicking its ass should any contraband fall to the floor from its pockets. Or words to that effect.)

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    2. Remember, when rendering First Aid, the first thing you should do upon coming upon the victim is check his/her pockets/purses for identification, so you can talk to the victim in a friendly way. Any accidental loss of monetary items is just accidental. And, hey, if they're unconscious, they can't protest, can they?

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  8. I, too, have pressure in my right eye, which the eye doctor wants to treat and my insurance company will only allow to be treated at certain doctors. Makes sense, right? But the IC has tried to send me to 2 plastic surgeons, 1 ENT, an Oncologist and someone whose office staff accents were so horrible I thought I was on long distance to New Delhi.

    So changed insurances, and then the dog got in the way, so I really need to try the whole eye doc thingy again. And need to get Mrs. Andrew in for her cataracts (again, delayed by bozo insurance company bullscat.)

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    1. Ah, insurance companies. Don't get me started.

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    2. Getting the pre-Glaucoma, or actual Glaucoma, treated is a must. The pressure squeezes the optic nerve bundle and actually kills off individual sensor-nerve cells, from the outside in. Which is why I was mightily peeved when I kept getting the runaround from the IC last year and then things this year have interrupted any plans of getting anything fixed.

      So I must kit up and prepare to wend my way, yet again, through the savage jungle of 'approved providers' in quest of the mythical 'low cost medical treatment.' While, of course, dealing with all sorts of other miscellaneous fires, attacks, subversions, infestations, manipulations, border raids, sonic assaults, and general tomfoolery. And cooking. Mustn't forget the cooking, and all the attendant tasks such as shopping, prepping, cleaning, digesting and post-digestive tasks.

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    3. Yeah, modern medicine.

      Thanks Obummer, Pee-lousy, et al.

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  9. Oh, forgot to comment on the continuous nature of the post topic. Nicely done. Good sense of continuity, and proper amounts of foreboding. The chapter format is actually the correct format for this topic, as each chapter post has a distinct sub-subject that ties into the overall subject matter.

    The chapter format also allows for the author to take the time to polish each chapter, rather than taking an extended time to pump out a whole long post.

    Can't wait to see where this story-line is wandering to.

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    1. Me too.

      Oops! I mean, we're getting close to "The End." Of the story that is, my finishing or not finishing has absolutely no bearing on the continued existence of our species.

      Or, as LUSH likes to say, does it?

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    2. Meandering, Beans, the word is Meandering. Regardless of the Captain's diction, we, on the rowing deck, always, always, always, sometimes, use precision in our wording.

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    3. Precision?

      Meandering?

      Bosun, fetch the cat, there's unrest on the lower decks!

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    4. Remember when I first compared our noble host to Dumas, oh, say about a year ago? I like Monsieur Dumas' unabridged work, having been the only person I know to have read his whole Musketeers series that started with 'The Three Musketeers' on one long, wandering opening that describes everything one needs to know about young D'Artagnan, the nag that not even a glue factory would accept that he is riding on, his trumped up attempt at 'gentleman's dress' made up of old clothes and provincial at that, the bridge he is riding on, the road that connects to the bridge and then leads into the town of Meunge, the town of Meunge, the hilt of the broken sword that is hanging on his side, the fact that the sword is broken, the general laziness of the air as he enters the town, and so forth and so on. Admittedly, it was an English translation of a work in French, but since the version I was reading was printed in the '30s, the translation was pretty close to the feel of the time that the original was written. And, of course, being the person that I am, I had to get a map of Europe and England, and trace the action encompassed in all the books. The characters really did get around all over France through major regime changes and power struggles, at one time bringing the main characters together in friendship, at other times turning them against each other.

      So, meandering bothers me not at all, as long as the path is enjoyable and the overall trip a worthwhile thing.

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    5. Good to know.

      I have been compared to Dumas more than once. What do you mean I'm pronouncing it wrong?

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    6. As Mrs. Andrew is fond of, or is forced to say continuously, "You sure find yourself funny, don't you?"

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  10. Sarge: I like your meandering tale...but then everyone knows I'm chatty too. Take your drops and go see the specialist...eye balls are important and you only get 1 pair, there are no replacements that work if the pair ya have quit working.

    Beans!!! GO get your eyeballs checked!! Don't pass go, don't go to jail, the white cane look is NOT a good one!! Beside, Mrs. A. needs your eyeballs in working order so you can help her! Caregivers need to take care of themselves so they can take care of everyone else. Besides which, Sarge doesn't meander in Braille, and I am sure you have waaay better things to do then have to learn Braille. Trust me on this, Mom was a transcriber for 40+ years, so I have seen plenty of it along the way. Take care of the eyeballs!!! You can always find an excuse to put it off, just DO IT!!!

    And Juvet needs to pick better face masks...just saying...

    Ok, I will hang up the nurse's cap and stop yelling now

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    1. Suz, I am not some one-legged hermit living in the desert...

      And, yes, I will be setting up doc visit soonest, as the scorn of the ladies, especially Mrs. Andrew, is too much for me to bear.

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    2. Suz - On it. Taking the drops religiously, getting better with my aim as well.

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    3. Beans - You're not?

      Lady scorn is a great motivator.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)