|"Me love you long time."|
That isn't what I meant. By "long time," I mean I don't feel like looking back when I last posted this. It's been over a year, let's put it that way. In any event, it occurred to me that many of you don't know where the name "Al Penwasser" comes from. It also occurred to me that it's nice out, the pool is clean, and the floatie raft I have has a beer bottle holder. So, I can either write something brand new or....
|"That would be 'From where the name Al Penwasser comes'!|
Knuckles, if you please."
|'Al Penwasser' comes. |
For those who've been tenants of Penwasser Place for several years ("Penwasser Place: Where You Don't Need to Pay Rent and the Rats Don't Eat Much!"), you've no doubt read this already. Some of you poor bastards a couple of times. In that case, go find a pool of your own. But, if you live in Australia (I'm talking to you, Jo Ann), you may as well hang around. Maybe I can dig up some new pictures for this thing. After all, it's too frikkin' cold to swim outside. Yeah, well, sucks to be you (NOTE: I'll get back to you in November, 'kay?).
So, without further adieu (French for "futzing around"), may I present....
Call Me Al
(going to the pool now)
Life was considerably different in the late 80’s (see my last Captain Caption starring A Flock of Seagulls...all you need to know). 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 Ayatollah Khameini?), and Madonna instead of Lady Gaga. And Dick Clark instead of...uh...Dick Clark.
|"And no one suspected a thing. |
Be baba skiddily do do wop do beeboo jello pudding pops."
NOTE: Please excuse my clumsy attempts at 'Cosby-Speak.'
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.
|"Oh, please with the 'caging the bears' remarks. |
Bet poosy mans with the birthmarks-on his head yet-can't be
makings with the shirts off and wrestling the bears."
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.
|We also found time to relax.|
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.
Nobody 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."
|"Hey! Is that Al Penwasser?"|
"Naw, I think it's Donald Trump."
"Huh, I guess all clowns look alike."
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.
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.
|"Probably should wear a helmet. |
That'd be a lot safer."
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, designated driver for Charlie Sheen, or going for a bike ride with John Kerry.
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.”
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.
|NOTE: NOT Mayan ruins. |
But, it was the only picture of ruins I had handy.
I didn't have time to go look.
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.
Like Vanilla Ice’s career, Chastity Bono’s breasts, and Miley Cyrus’ innocence, Al Penwasser just disappeared.
|"Hey, but my junk hasn't gone anywhere. Haters."|
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 to annoy people from.
Proper prepositional placement, please.""
Oh, and as for that name. Comes from Portuguese bottled water:
|Yeah. It's as clever as that.|
|"And you can't blame me for that."|