WARNING: Shameless Self-Promotion Ahead:
These stories will be available in the book I am now writing called It's Not Just a Job, available in finer bookstores (or bottom of birdcages) nationwide sometime before the apocalypse.
However, I wanted to whet your appetite before I finish this grand opus because, let's face it, I may die before it's finished. Plus, it could also suck so it may never even get printed. On the other hand, Snooki wrote a book (albeit in crayon) so there's hope for me.
Anyway, I know you've seen these pictures before, but I changed the captions because you all deserve fresh material. And I deleted the original file.
So, join me now as I take you on a pictorial tour of a young man's transition from wet-behind-the-ears naif on the cusp of the greatest adventure in his life to wild-haired crone with a big crooked nose.
Seaman Recruit Penwasser
Naval Recruit Training Center (Great Lakes, Illinois)
So young, so full of optimism, so wearing a clip-on tie and glasses with no lenses.
What you can't see: we had just gotten back from being in the tear-gas chamber. So, you can't see dried booger.
Aviation Fire Control Airman Apprentice Penwasser
Naval Air Technical Training Center (Millington, Tennessee)
Part of the "Sucker Photo Package" given to young sailors. For only $200 (I'm not kidding), I got twelve black and white wallet-size photos, one 8X10 color photo with a picture of my girlfriend in the upper corner (this, I think, was a major reason why she dropped me like 3rd Grade English a year later), and one creepy-ass 30" X 18" (you read those dimensions right) painting/portrait. I still have it and trot it out every Halloween to scare the batcrap out of trick-or-treaters. BONUS: It really skeeves my kids out.
NOTE: My glasses are crooked. Yep. $200.00
Aviation Fire Control Technician Airman Penwasser
I know what you want to say: "Awwww, what a baby! Does his mother know he's on a ship?"
Either that or, "I wonder if he's wearing pants...?"
Well, yes. And, yes.
Aviation Fire Control Technician Third Class Penwasser
There are lenses are in the glasses, the faint beginnings of the mustache that still wouldn't let me get into bars, and look at me rocking those sideburns!
NOTE: This is the same shirt I wore in the above photo. I just changed the patch on the arm.
And my underwear.
Aviation Fire Control Technician Second Class Penwasser
This was at my reenlistment onboard ship. I gave the Navy four more years, they gave me a picture of the ship. Oh, and I should tell you, I'm the little dude on the right-hand side.
Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Operator First Class Penwasser
Naval Air Station Sigonella, Sicily
If it looks like I had indigestion, I did. And diarrhea. This was Sicily, after all. Thank you for your concern.
If it looks like I was squinting, I was. The photography studio lost all power (remember: Sicily) so we had to take our pictures outside. So, I'm looking right at the sun.
And trying to hold in a severe case of gastrointestinal distress.
NOTE: The sideburns are gone forever!
Chief Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Operator Penwasser
Naval Air Station (Brunswick, Maine)
The "surprised" look on my face was due to the fact that my hat was one size too small. This pulled my eyebrows up and gave me a "I just got goosed" look. Which I was. By a midget.
HISTORICAL NOTE: This was the zenith of the "Al With Facial Hair" era.
USS George Washington
I know what you're thinking, but the haircut was free! Shouldn't have picked that blind guy, though.
On the bright side, the "stash" was finally gone.
But you can show a movie on my frikkin' forehead.
Lieutenant (junior grade) Penwasser
USS George Washington
I was promoted by one of my best friends and the captain of the ship. The captain scared me. Not only was he touching me, he could order me on bread and water for three days. And, from the look of that 36" waist trying to escape from those 33" inch trousers, I could've stood to miss a meal or two.
Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland
A grim, no-nonsense Naval Officer who insisted that his people give their very best in the performance of their duties.
And who should have incorporated more fiber in his diet.
Rockefeller Center (New York City)
Bastards wouldn't let me climb the Christmas tree.
I'm a veteran, dammit!
Friday: My first completely serious post on Veterans Day.
Be there. Or have something else better to do.