Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Repost



     It's been so long (that's what she said) that you probably won't remember this.  In fact, some of you are new here so this will be new...here.  Others have dropped off the face of the blogosphere.  I wish them well.  


    Sherilin is still hanging on as a Facebook friend.  One of you disappeared for a while, but has come back ("Jeez-a-Lou, Al!  I go away for a little and when I come back, there's frikkin' reruns!!").  Sorry, Barb.


    A couple of you commented in February, 2012, but no longer come around Penwasser Place.  This makes me sad for I miss them so.  


    Then there are those who were here nearly two years ago, but are still plugging away.  Matthew, Pat, Julie, Ruth, Pearl, Bushman, Robyn, Bea, Dawn, and Dwei (I'd put you in alphabetical order, but I'm too lazy), thank you!  Good grief!  Have we been together that long??


   Anyway, if you've read this before, you can skeedaddle and come on back Thursday for Captain Caption or return Saturday.  For another GD repost.  Hey, what can I say?  'Tis the season for reruns!


    Or you can stick around and maybe read something new.  Or not.  I'm feeling a little lazy.  Hey, I changed John Paul Jones' picture at least.  That's gotta count for something.   


**********

Call Me Al-The Rerun of the Rerun of the Rerun


Commodore John Paul Jones
Al Penwasser
Anything's better than Ken Lynch


    Life was considerably different in
"No, your majesty,
it is foretold that
the world will end on
January 1st, 2013."
 October 2013:
Mayans:  Full of shit.
And dead.
the late 80’s than today.  We didn’t fret about Mayan prophecies, fume over gas prices, or wonder why Kim Kardashian was famous.  We had Bill Cosby instead of Tyler Perry, Qaddafi instead of Osama (NOTE:  okay, so we don’t have Osama anymore.  Would you prefer I said Kim Jong Il?), and Madonna instead of Lady Gaga.  And Dick Clark instead of...uh...Dick Clark.
(NOTE from 2013 Al:  Since this was written, Dick has sadly passed on.  Hmm, that kinda sounds dirty).

    The “Evil Empire” was still in business and few people did a better job of caging the bear than the U.S. military.  Our influence was felt throughout the world and it could be argued that, like the Union Jack before it, the sun never set on the Stars and Stripes.


"You want me at that barber shop,
you need me at that barber shop!!"
    Each of the services had their hand in winning the Cold War:  the Army held the line in places like Germany and Korea, the Marines scared people with their haircuts, the Navy ruled the waves, and the Air Force kept golf courses in business.  Together, they promoted truth, justice, the American way, and McDonalds. 

    The Lajes Naval Air Facility in the Portuguese Azores was just such a place.

    Perched nine hundred miles off the European coast, Lajes was a major stopping off point for forces crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  The roar of aircraft pausing to refuel there was as common as flag burnings in Tehran.


"Hey, can you ask if they have
a nice, clean rest room?"
    In addition, Lajes was an ideal spot for launching aircraft to locate and track Soviet submarines going back and forth from the Mediterranean Sea.  Crucial to this effort were groups of fixed-wing P-3C Orion sub-hunting aircraft.

    It was also where Al Penwasser was born.

    Petty Officer Penwasser was an enlisted aircrewman attached to Patrol Squadron Eleven during its deployment to Lajes in the final days of the Cold War.   
Al had wicked jaundice, too.

    Not many people actually saw him, but I knew he existed from the day I reported to VP-11 in 1987.  Many folks warned me to be on the lookout for this cocky individual who always seemed to be on “assignment.”

    Even though I never laid eyes on him, I did see his service record, training folder, and the volumes of mail he received on a regular basis.

    I never questioned why his picture board photograph always came up missing or why “Classified-Secret” was pasted across his face when it wasn’t.

    It certainly drove the Commanding Officer nuts that Penwasser never checked in with him.


I meant spork
Damn Google.
    He did have a checkered career, unfortunately.  Promoted to a senior rank, he was subsequently demoted for parachuting into Grenada armed with only a blow-up doll and a spork.  A week before the actual invasion. 

    After the Cold War, he realized his lifelong dream of becoming a member of the Special Forces.  Exactly WHOSE Special Forces we didn’t know; all we knew is he volunteered for only the most dangerous of missions.  Ya know, like hunting with Dick Cheney or being Charlie Sheen's designated driver.

    He stayed in touch, though.  We routinely got postcards from places as exotic as the Orient, the Gulf, or Daytona Beach at Spring Break.  A sentimental rake, he always signed them, “Love, Al.”


Wrong type of manure spreader
    Our last contact with him happened when an 18-wheeler pulled up in front of our squadron hangar.  Evidently, Mr. Penwasser had placed an order for a manure spreader (which we thought was pretty appropriate).  Luckily, we convinced the flustered driver that Farmer Al had transferred, to where we weren’t sure. 

    After that, he dropped out of sight.  We sometimes saw his name in guest registers at places like the Pantheon, the Dubai Seamen’s Center, assorted Mayan ruins, or bowling alley bathroom walls, but that was about it.


Except now, he's probably asking,
"Would you like fries, fries, baby?"
    Like Vanilla Ice’s career, Chastity Bono’s breasts, and Miley Cyrus’ innocence (Note from 2013 Al:  Wow!!!  Did I nail that one on the head!), Al Penwasser just disappeared.

    I never found out where he went or what he did, but his spirit lives on in this blog and elsewhere.  No matter whether the subject is Old Man Toe, Columbus Day, or Heel Piss Cream, I’m proud that Al has once more found a home for his wry take on life.  

    Oh, and as for that name.  Comes from Portuguese bottled water: 

    Alpen Wasser.


33 comments:

  1. WHOA, you must have seen some shit as Charlie Sheen's driver!!!! Heck, you could write a tell all. Congrats on being mentioned in bowling alley bathroom walls. Those bowling leaguers are big time baby!!!

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    Replies
    1. And they have such wicked cool looking shirts.

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  2. You should write a memoir sir - for real!

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    Replies
    1. Believe it or not, in the works.

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    2. And the above is one of the chapters (I've edited it some).

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  3. Hit the big time with the bowling bathroom stall walls lol so did "he" turn sheen into what he is now? Been here a good long while indeed, doesn't feel like 2 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time flies
      when you're cracking wise.
      Rhyme in your honor, my friend.
      Let's just hope it never ends.

      Delete
  4. America owes a great debt to its bottled-water heroes who go on dangerous missions involving manure and seamen. Were you ever introduced to his blow-up doll?

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    Replies
    1. Funny you should say that. "Al" DID order a blow-up doll and we kept "her" in the Aircrew Shop. Pretty funny.
      Nobody was ever allowed to molest her. So, she was kind of a "Blow Up Nun" that way.

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  5. When I read Tyler Perry wasn't around in the 80's, I thought " What? Aerosmith was too!" And than I realized you wrote Tyler Perry not Tyler, Perry. Punctuation matters.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, wow, I didn't notice that. Coulda made a joke. We LOVED Aerosmith in high school. In fact, "Dream On" was one of our favorites in...yes...1976.

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  6. Heel piss cream? I must have missed that one too.

    What is it with the branches of the military? You guys bust each others humps all the time. But, um, yeah, the Air Force has some really nice golf courses, doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heel Piss Cream goes back even further than this. I may dust it off during this "Season of the Rerun."
      I forgot to mention the Coast Guard. For instance, did you know that you have to be six feet tall to enlist in the Coast Guard? Why, you ask. That way, you can walk ashore if your cutter sinks.
      All kidding aside, Air Force bases are beautiful.

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  7. My curiosity about your name has been raging for two years now and I'm glad to know the truth. My grandparents were born on Terceira Island in the Azores and as you know that island is home to the Lajes Naval Air Facility.

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    Replies
    1. Steve, you were one of the ones to whom I felt I owed an explanation since you weren't here two years ago. We loved Lajes. At the time, we were also deployed to Rota, Spain, which was a raucous, partying beach city. Lajes gave us a chance to relax a little. We called it the "Betty Ford Clinic of the Mediterranean" (although it wasn't in the Med).

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  8. "Armed with only a blow-up doll and a spork?" This was great! I also don't remember how it all began with "Alpen Wasser!" Thanks for repeating this classic Al!

    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There really is a whole story (more than this) behind the Al Penwasser legend.

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  9. Qaddafi did make a comeback from the 80's with his golden mumu

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    Replies
    1. Didn't end well for the Libyan nutjob, huh?

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  10. Prob went on to fluoride bottled water and you'd have to change your name to ......
    Flo Eide. And then everybody would hate you. Better off as it is/was. You know.

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    Replies
    1. I really ought to look up a picture on Alpen Wasser and post it on Twitter..

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  11. There was no mention of the top secret mission in New Jersey? But you told me.....hahaha. But the bigger laugh out loud while snorting was the blow up doll and spork part!

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    1. That's why it's Top Secret. But, I'll give you a hint: that's where Chris Christie keeps his secret donut stash.

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  12. You've led an interesting life, Al, during which you will have acquired so many stories to keep this blog going for decades to come; I hope so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And not all of them involve my father setting his groin on fire.

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  13. I remembered this... it might have been a reprint then, too....

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    Replies
    1. It most definitely was. I'm just "regifting."

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  14. Holy crap, has it really been two years? Good god, I'm getting old.

    Also, as a kid born in the 90's, this post is completely foreign to me.

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  15. I barely remember reading this Al but it must have been out before because that Mayans line is so familiar, then again you have name dropped the Mayans a few times right? Love it all the same buddy.

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  16. Like Anthony Weiner, the Mayans are always good for a few laughs.

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  17. This post was so nice, I loved it twice!
    I'm still here, Penwasser - my blog looks like it's jumped the proverbial shark, but as you know, I'm writing a book, so my new material's going there.
    Why is Kim Kardashian famous? No one knows.
    Seriously, my friend - thank you for your service to our country. :)

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    Replies
    1. I know how you feel. The big difference is that my book suffers. Although the above is going to be a chapter.

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