written June 27, 2006
The theory that the pyramids are an Earthly formation of Orion’s belt is fascinating, and ESP is damn near proven, isn’t? Still, I wouldn’t call myself a Believer in all the hokum surrounding the unexplained, if for Yuri Geller alone. It s fun all the same though to hope as a wishbone is snapped, and in that way I can be called superstitious.
If I am cursed, if I will ever be cursed, no finer day can be found to be a poxed upon than June 28, 2002. I was being an ass, again, as I had been for many months leading up to the Navy that day. Not an “I’m going to snatch a baby bird from its nest and stomp on it” cruel, but rather chilled and aloof, as only I can be. It was the final day of our graduation weekend, three morose days that stretched, because it was little more than a tease, seeing everyone, the next time not until Christmas. Truth be told, my mind was already in balmy Charleston, South Carolina, and was merely waiting for my body to later arrive. So I let tears and other such tricks be by like an annoying gnat, and was almost grateful when the family car pulled away, and could return to my barracks, clad in immaculate summer whites. At this moment a thunderbolt was thrown or the eye of a newt was cast into a boil.
Two days later, awaiting only now our bus ride out, there was a shift in the breeze. Consider: I was a divisional office, had the highest “grade point,” and was a finalist best sailor of my class. Life was good- or as good as it could be in boot camp- and the Navy looked like a wise move. Hell, I’d probably have my first row of medals by October. Then there was the nasty canteen incident, which found me within then minutes of occurring being yelled at in the office of a very large and angry Senior Chief. This was me, Eric, who never so much as… oh, wait. In fifteen minutes I was back in the blue sweat suit given upon arrival, being threatened with restarting. Luckily the worst of it was being beaten by Seals.
A year later, now June 28, 2003, I was sitting in an air conditioned classroom. Sounds harmless enough. That morning I took the Comprehensive Exam for Nuclear Power School, a five-hour test that took everything we had learned- and inverted it. As I took the test, I knew I was answering completely enough to get many points. Some pages might have remained blank. Some had the odd drawing or equation scrawled to show any kind of work. OK, so blah blah blah, it struck again. My victory cigar knowingly fell to the ground outside the school building as we waited, the glass case shattering. The night I try to reach my parents lost somewhere in Tennessee as the made their way to see me graduate. But don’t yet call it a trend.
On June 28, 2004, while in San Diego I had the academic board in which I drew attention to the fact we were not being taught and the instructors were treating the days like an uninterrupted coffee break. Afterwards they kindly draw my attention to my suddenly changed orders, from Yokosaka, Japan to Norfolk, Virginia. Within the week I was on a plane out of California. The day is better remembered as the day it was reported former Arizona Cardinal player Pat Tillman was killed. I actually heard it over the radio just before going to my review board, which probably places a chip the size of Afghanistan on my shoulder.
And it was last year, on June 28, 2005 that you wrote about having inebriated fun in the streets of Lusaka, Zambia that made me call you in the middle of the night; the yelling from the port deck of the ship still seems fresh. Of course I am not happy about it, and at least it was the tamest of the lot.
I can’t fathom what this years might hold, but as the date approached I relieved to get my request safely out of the way. Perhaps a big storm, or the ship runs out of coffee? No, it has always been something that affects me almost exclusively. It should be fun to see if the luck holds down, and the tradition continues. Maybe I will go below for the day, like that Twilight Zone with Burgess Meredith. Batten down the hatches…