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Material Contributed by Artie Weiss '63
Wagner Days: Looking Back - A Statement On Gifts And Winning No Matter The Score

Aphorisms, Apothegms, And Other Things
Wagner Days: Looking Back

by Artie Weiss '63

Philosophical Comment After A Thumbnail Retrospective On The Incredible Zone

What Do I Know?
My family understands it, especially Jeff who was closer to my own age. I've tried to explain it to my children and they look at me with uncomprehending compassion. They have their own world to deal with... one, I'm sure, I would find difficult to understand if I was thrust into it as unprepared as I was thrust into my own time.
I've tried in various ways upon numerous occasions to relate the context of the experience to significant others. Sometimes they reacted with jealousy at not having shared the experience. Sometimes they showed the earmarks of boredom, having to listen yet and again to the braggadocio they perceived as a sign of stunted emotional and personal growth.
But then, I don't have to tell you. You Are It. You have been there and you have suffered the fate. You have lived this part of my life and have walked the same path from the lightness of being back to a world not appreciative of the Incredible Zone.
There, in that place now rendered unrecognizable by nature and the gods of caprice, was a Camelot of Teenhood. There may have been others dotted around the globe. In all likelihood several existed. But we know where one unfolded for that one brief moment in the timeline of the third rock. The best and the worst, I have often thought to myself, as I chuckled over some fleeting image of happenstance from that place and time. We spoke among ourselves of the ZI and the PI. We knew, and still hold in the fibers of our bodies, the visceral meaning of those terms. But the context has melted slightly over the years.
The ZI was where we had come from and where we spoke of returning to, the place across the wide Pacific which held such promise. Christ, they had real milk, just like you could get if you went to Subic and panhandled a ship's commissary or went to their cafes. The ZI had real stores and real music, not the leftovers of a dysfunctional military pipeline, which apparently stopped two hundred miles east of Honolulu. The ZI, that mythical agglomeration of goodies and opportunity. That was where we had left our own true loves and the thread of our lives. That was where the action was, the place of opportunity and real life.
The PI? Merely, a stopping place on your old man's duty cycle. A dump holding us back from our true destinies. God, what had we done to deserve such a fate. They're still doing the Twist here! My real friends, those in the ZI, would not believe this jerkwater existence. I can hardly believe it. Nothing to do, no money, nobody and nothing.
But in our hearts, as we looked around, we felt a kindredness. We knew that each of us had lived much the same lives, moving and loosing another bi-annual compartment of time. We knew impermanence. We knew packing. We knew rootlessness. We were brats, a term that displays all the derogatory aspects of our lifestyles and, in my case, personality. I heard the term "little Lord Fauntleroy" more than once.
Lest I digress further, I"d better draw this thought of the PI back into focus. Especially as the term has meaning to the topical content of my diatribe. The PI was the Incredible Zone. Don"t deny it, you cannot. From the heart of darkness there showed a piercing light, a Rhodean beacon, a....dare I state it....Kamaic shaft of true purpose.

Snickering At The Fools
I've gotten older since then. I've had children, at least one of my unions produced issue, as they say. Could have charged for tickets to the event if I'd had them.
As I watched them grow, as I stood there knowing from my own experiences just what they were going to do next, I had a revelation. You know what I mean, that thrill of white nerve that bursts forth in your body as realization and awakening plunges the adrenal gland into releasing its flood into the body. Not fear, not the need for action, but the throb of insight. Been there and done that, as the cliché so aptly subscribes the event.
You see, I had just felt the rush associated with understanding something I had not until then known. In my heart of hearts, in that corner of my being where I held my real self, I had always felt that what we undertook in those years at Clark was ours to know, ours alone. Sure we made the odd faux paux which drew attention to our little community of peers. There was always something going on that exposed our existence to Others. The times when the parties were busted, the pregnancies and the near misses, the things that we were called on the carpet to explain and had to live through. But those were things that didn't give away the real secret of live at Clark. Just little potholes on the road through the Incredible Zone.
Wrong, Arturo! Oh, what a fool I am. While I snickered at the fools I be one. What we didn't tell them they knew. As I stood looking at my kids, I realized that the fools were snickering at us. The Others must have had more than one good chuckle, late at night sitting around in their own groups. They could smell the hormones at work in their little darlings.
Now I understand Colonel Shaw's demeanor toward me. He really didn't trust me, but then he knew, and you see I didn't. Jane Shaw used to tell me the most arcane stories about her daughter, how she was so refined and a true and devoted young lady. Without prejudice to our relationship, I used to wonder if we were speaking of the same person. Mrs. Shaw was merely hurrying through a graveyard.
At the moment of realization, no one has ever said I was quick on the uptake, I roared with laughter. Another display of my dementia, as far as my children were concerned.

Forward To The Past
By November, 1961 I had been shaving around the mouth areas for nearly a year. Not my doing but the demands of the chain of command. Since finding out eight months earlier that the old man was being transferred to the Philippines, life had been a constant round of miscellaneous activity. We moved from Mitchell, on Long Island, to a temporary home in Colorado, while Dad went on to Clark. We awaited the notice to proceed.
In September of my junior year it came. Travis on the sixth of November, extant. Shots, driver's license, planning the route long distance with Dad, since Mom would not make the drive to SanFran. Packing up the kids, the household effects already in transit, leaving Denver and beginning the journey with a heavy heart at having to leave a place I was getting to like. I'd even had my first taco at a disreputable little cafe down to the shopping center. The kids in Denver were great and I had made the varsity football team, being a newcomer to the area and all. You know the routine.
Thirty six hours of flying over the Pacific, landing at Clark. Them opening the aircraft and a balled fist of heat and humidity dropping me in my tracks. Hi Dad. Went to temporary quarters on base, found a bed, and proceeded to sleep most of the next several weeks. Same shit.
Went to school, then home to bed. They have a basketball team. Guess I'll try out. Not my sport, no football. Say there's Bob Lindsay. Knew him from Long Island. Hi, Bob. What a dump, huh! Sorry, got to get some rest, this place is killing me. Say what goes on around here, anything to do? See you when I wake up from this nightmare, or maybe I won't. Bye, now.
Jeez, there are some great looking girls here. Better pay attention. The usual assortment of male creeps. Got to get established. Mark out my turf. That Tully character, the one with the skull ring, is sure on my case. That Dickinson asshole also, BMOC. Guess I'll go to that Teen Club thing, see what its all about. What a bore. Doing the Twist, man is that out or what. Whoa, look at that will you. Wouldn't mind getting a piece of that.
What are those guys doing on those little motorbikes? A few guys have scooters, never have liked them. Hondas, who ever heard of a Honda? Like those little metal hats they wear. Maybe I'll ask the old man to get me one. Right, that'll go over like a lead balloon. Better muck out some of that paper route money and maybe have him get me one. Cool, man. Just what I've always needed. A blue fifty-five. Does that make it ten percent better than Rick Smith's. He's got one of the older fifties.
Can never beat that little shit Zelner. He's got the fastest. Mac's got that black one., only black one on base. Maybe I'll tear this thing down and see if I can get more poop out of it. There, got it all back together, and only three parts left over. Wonder what they are for. Give it a try and see how it works. Wow! What is that noise. Better tear it down again and find out where these spare parts fit in. Remind me never to undertake mechanical shit again.
It seems to be working better, but still can't beat Zelner. Say you really want to buy it? And the little metal hat, too. Sure, course you got to pay for it being here, and I have modified it some. Even cut out the baffles. Okay, you got a deal.
Driving a car now. Big time. The old man agreed to go fifty-fifty on a new VW. He'll pay the insurance and all's I have to do is pay the gas. Good deal. Say Dad can I use the station wagon. Got a date tonight, and she's wearing a big dress. You know, don't want to get it wrinkled. Snicker, snicker.
Man this is what its all about. Hot date with Linda, kind of like her, and the big car. Little submarine race watching later. Not good, the Apes are cruising the circles. Better pack up and move someplace more isolated. Got to hit the defogger or I'll pile this thing into a ditch. Man the shirt is sticking to my body. Hers too. She likes to make out, but no touchy. She'll get over that with a little persistent effort on my part. Who could resist?
Look, I don't want to hurt you, I've just decided not to date any more. No, nothing like that. Well, who do you think it might be, if that is the case? Who!?.. give me a break. She's your friend, I couldn't do that. ·

We Introduce Ourselves By Our Actions
How did it all come about, my lasting image of the PI? One day on the Blue bus, heading toward the BX I sat in front of a person I had had my eye on, since even before I said my good-bye to Linda. She had been right but for all the wrong reasons, another vestige of her paranoia.
With the effrontery of youth and the confidence of a rabbit, I assailed her and began to win her heart. I told her that I had noticed her around and thought that that massive Toby Metz was no man for her. She really ought to go out with me, since I was so recently unencumbered. She replied that she could be less interested, but she could not imagine how that could be, at this particular time.
I managed to be where she was for a week or so, sort of driving off the field of competitors. Mac asked if my intentions were pure, he had a paternalistic attitude toward this young lady, right. Metz made some body language toward severing me from several of my most important bodily parts. The storm blew over when the young lady began to warm, at least I think that's what happened.
Hello, Colonel Shaw. I'm Artie Weiss, yes we are going to be neighbors on the circle. Next week we move in. Just thought I'd stop by and introduce myself. Yes, she is a nice girl. Well we've been meeting at social things. Nothing serious, no sir. Yes, sir, I understand completely. You can trust me. I'll look after her real fine. Snicker, snicker.
Oh, Hi Geoff, what are you doing, man. Yeah, next week. Sure look forward to having you around. In a pig's eye. Say, Duffy, you want to go to the prom together. You already have a date, the queen and her court, huh! Well maybe I'll see you there. I can drive you down. No problem, maybe we can have a dance or something. You really don't have a date, you say. Just things to do. Well, then I can take you? Sure, be there with bells on.
Then, the true meaning of the Zone. To date a beautiful lady, to have the drive of youth, to participate in the community as we wanted. To have a relationship that, as I told her recently, defined the first years of my life.

We Are Us And We Revel
To meet and hold this fleeting dream. To stroll the golf course in the moonlight while the rest were being busted on the Senior Trip. To watch proudly as she was crowned queen of Homecoming. What a hoot. Have her at every game and on all the trips, cheerleader and my girl. To see her in class and down at the O Club. To watch her and even watch us. To be lost in the moment. To not care what others think as long as we are together. To deliberately not think about leaving in June. Too soon. We'll still be in love in the ZI. We have to be, we were meant for each other. Having to go to the Teen Club and check on things because Mom is in charge over at the O Wives Committee. Glowing reports, the sobriety and decorum are things to behold. Yes, Mom, we know the seriousness of our social privleges. Right, catch you later.
The only summer job I had was when Duffy and I got work at the day care, play school, kiddy camp. Thirty-five an hour. It was better than brother Jeff's job. He was shoveling it down at the chicken ranch. Man what an odor he brought with him.
Chateaubriand for two at the O Club. Dress up galas, seeing every one excited and watching them beaming at their own true loves. The gallantry and the coyness, and the shyness, and the flush of romance.
Not wanting to trade places with anyone. Going out, staying in, doing things, talking without speaking, speaking without saying anything. Living life at the apex, and thinking it was divine right. Being tied up in the relationship, until you cannot disassociate yourself from it, and not wanting to in any case. But keeping an eye on the clock and watching the hands sweep toward the inevitable. Living in the twofold arms of joy and fear.
We Start To See Our Friends Leave. We Begin To Realize We Are Short Time. We Grieve And Boy Do We Know How To Withdraw.
The parting approaches, I don't even want to think about it. It'll be all right. We will make it. I won't go to any of those going away things. God, I hate this place. Another break away. Damn, I'll be glad to go to college and stop this moving all the time. Sink myself in someplace and stay put for a change. Mom has told the old man she will leave him if he extends. She wants to get her sons back to the real world, just look at the worthless little...
The evening of May twenty fifth I found myself on my bed at home with my arm flung over my eyes and deep pain in my heart. Duffy and I haven't been getting along well the last several weeks and it's all my fault. The parting syndrome. The withdrawal. Tonight we're supposed to say our final good-byes. Final seems to be the operative. Will it be final? Will we make it in the ZI?
There hasn't been time for us lately, I've so much I want to say. So much I want us to promise each other. It was a disaster. We both felt the withdrawal. The wall I had been building. The goddamn defense I had allowed to intrude. We won't really see each other tomorrow. She's going someplace with friends. I didn't know she had any other than me. Shows what I know.
I looked at the fenced area at the Flight Line hoping to see her. She's not there. I really am going to leave and not see her here, in this place and at this time. The cry goes out from my heart to hers. Duffy, why? Why did this ever happen, this place, these things. I hate it all.

It Must Have Been A Dream
Years went by. We made some half hearted and rather pathetic attempts to rejoin back in the ZI. Those attempts were only at first and not very forceful, just forced. That barrier was still in place. She had to go her way and I wandered mine.
I drifted through several vocations and affairs of the heart, albeit heartlessly. I found, through conversation and behavioral analysis offered by people who had come to know me, that I am withdrawn and impersonal. I always defended myself on these points. Crying in the wilderness, I guess.
Nostalgia welled up when other people went to reunions. I shrugged it off as another by-product of military life. We never will reunion, that's for other people. People who had normal lives. People who had never been to my Camelot. Abraham, Martin, and John along with Robert and others had gone their way into history. The Vietnam War was a messed up part of our past, as messed up as our fathers had told us it was going to be when were burning the midnight hormones back there, in the PI.
I never really tried to contact anyone. Tabb Walker found me at Colorado University and we stayed in touch off and on over the years. I saw Geoff Shaw one Chinese New Years in SanFran while I was learning the electronics trade at Treasure Island for the Navy. Went down to see the Shaw's near San Jose. Found that Duffy was married to a real nice guy. Went back to Treasure Island after a frightfully congenial day with the Shaw's and took to my bunk for about a month. In a funk.
Thought about the guys and gals back then. Always looked to see if Jim Kent was running for office. Always had the association program running in the background. Heard about the volcano and its consequences. It was a dream.....
But, by God, it was my dream. It did happen. It was real. Some how I came across Toni Little Stephensen's name in an article on Russian artifacts being auctioned. Contacted her and made noises about staying in touch.
Tabb and I got together in '91, it must have been. Went to a place in the Colorado mountains that purported to be hosting a reunion of Clark alums. We were older than the teachers of the kids that attended. Most of them were from the late seventies and eighties. I let it die out, the initiative to contact, I mean. My home life was coming apart. The kids were grown and as soon to be ex-parents we found that we were no longer partners. I signed it all over, took my clothes after packing my guitars, and left. Much to her relief. The kids tried to rally to both of us. It was hard for them. We had been a pretty good family, even though the seams showed worn upon close inspection. Eventually I drifted to Georgia. Brought a lady friend. No matter how or why, I never find myself without one. Maybe I need to look out from my isolation and know that someone cares. The wonder of it all is that someone does.

Geoff One Night
One rainy night in early June of 1961 received a call. Hi, this is Geoff Shaw. You probably don't remember me... Like a good poke in the nose, I remembered him all right. We talked and he told me of the REUNION, and Jim and Ruth Kent, and Duffy. I called Jim and gave him the vital information. He was kind. He was Jim, busy, peripatetic. I got Duffy's answering machine. I waited for the call. She called. We talked. We were re-united. I began to immerse myself in that old dream. It was good and bad. It was hell and a slice of heaven. It was to drive me to my bunk for a month or more. Another funk. Contrast and comparison. What I have had versus what I wanted back then. The brat.

Does Anyone Feel As I Feel, Am I Alone?
I still am withdrawn, and really casting about for the right thing to do with my life. What am I going to do when I grow up? Will the partitions ever come down? I want her and the dream I once had. I stay here, ridden with what I should do for me and with what I perceive I must do for another. I have never grown up.
I have a career and have been successful, without being in touch. I have had marriage and the other glues of life and staples of existence. I have never loved another and don't know the meaning of trust as described to me in the books and literature, and the speaking of other people. My body, as the systems begin to show their age and lack of maintenance, tells me I've been growing old. But no sense of self... down deep in the part that contains my dreams there is only the young dreamer, hunkered in his corner. The time grows shorter. I again cry in the wilderness, shout out my rage at opportunities not taken, at streams not crossed.
The things I do I do well. I'm a great meeter (as who of us aren't, we've had so much practice) and fit in well in most any gathering. I can be the life of the party when I want to be. I can be the fly on the wall just as easily. But when I look at it in the largest context I don't need people. My dysfunction continues unabated. I am alone.
But I do have my dream... of long ago when I was where I wanted to be and had what I truly desired. The Zone, the Incredible Zone. The lightness of being. The best time of my life, unsullied by comparisons. It makes me smile. I look forward to when, by luck or God, I again arrive at a place and time of lightness. It will happen. The path is wide and all things are on the path.
The truth and the wonder of it escaped me at the time. I was looking forward to bigger and better. Things did get bigger, and they also got different, and some difficult and complicated. My children are a joy and my relationships have been interesting, to say the least. My parents continue to be healthy, as do my brothers. The world has treated me as I have treated it, with respect and distance. But in the Incredible Zone, as was so aptly stated in Dirty Dancing... by the melodious voice of Mr. Bill Medley... I Had The Time Of My Life.
Who'da thunk it? Who really would have thought it possible?

From the Artie Archives: A Statement On Gifts And Winning No Matter The Score

by Artie Weiss '63
I don't know how this will be posted, I can't imagine that John Prunier will allow me to take up more space on the WHOA. (By the bye I can't even find my previous offering. Shows what kind of a computer guru lovely Rita raised.) There is every probability, therefore, that I haven't taken up any space. One of the complaints I've heard in my life may not be true at all. "Just taking up.....," you get it.
I have had several communiqués regarding my last transmission. I wish to thank you for the attention you paid it. It was more the cathartic value than the memories that was important to me. Not to say the memories were not important. I believe that, in most cases where catharsis is regarded, a general statement may be made. Thus, (and here I'm paraphrasing) "A person who expresses his feelings in public may have other nasty habits. Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but wash your hands afterwards."
Lest I have planted a false impression there needs to be some clarification of imputation. In the truest sense I have subscribed to the notion that when tempted by altruism I examine my motives. Once I have uncovered the self-deception, if I still wanted to do it, I enjoyed it whole hog. Has this a tie to the current essay? You bet it does.
One of the most useful understandings gifts to the discerning service brat was "given time, this too shall pass." In many ways the military offers its associated personnel the tools required to cope with life in the here-now. Several may be mentioned for points of focus.
1. Time is a function of your relationship to reality.
2. Decisions are made higher up the chain of command.
3. When shooting from the hip, take dead aim on the plan, and kill it.
4. Bunkering...the passive aggressive's haven.
I believe all brats know these tools and their use. Some of us have the predilections required to fully incorporate them, some fortunate ones have the ability to overcome the offerings. If dysfunction is one of your strong points you have used these tools to advantage, and the disadvantage of those close to you. If you have seen the power of these tools and have a sense of rightness, not tainted by the experiences of your past life, you have laid them aside and joined the integrated portion of H.sapiens. How are the above statements tools, and what is their true meaning? Well, so kind of you to ask.
A. Time is a function of your relationship to reality. This is the most basic tool in the arsenal, and understanding it opens the path to the other items listed above. This tool tells us that if you don't like the things of the present you only have to wait for a change to occur. This leads you to rither act to change or withdraw from the present into the bunker of your soul. This has been touched upon before, in another session when washing hands was necessary.
Military life chops time into discrete chunks, called assignments. Allan Guarino, and others, fully developed the use of this tool by making the service a career. He decided not to fight the visceral pulse of his relationship to time, he made it work for him. Some others, however, did not choose to continue the association. They decided to move into the civilian realm. They said, "not for me. I've already put in my time, the twenty or so years required for retirement." And, at the age of emancipation they went over to the other side.
What they didn't realize that Allan and his type did was that it was too late. Time for us had been defined. The uneasiness came upon us every couple of years, more urgently at the beginning than later. But it came nonetheless. Some moved, some stayed put and fought the urge. But it was there, niggling at the corners of contentment.
What did we do? Some fought through it and rested until the next attack. Some succumbed and made a hash of their then current circumstance. If you fought through you might have used the bunker approach, you withdrew and fought your demon. One that you may not have been able to even name. If you succumbed you probably shot the foot that supports you.
The interrelationships become cloudy. The time thing is not a root cause for particular dysfunction and, even if it was, dysfunction can be useful. It can always be a topic of conversation as well as an excuse. But the true gift given to us is that time passes. More than any other way of life the military (other typical vocations such as foreign service, large corporation rotation scheduling up the ladder of success, and such included) shows us that this will pass. We had learned not to be rooted and fixed by the linearity of time. Time comes in chunks. Some here, some there, and the chunks may have no connective tissue except that the time is ours.
If one were to cull through the lives of the population that makes up service bratdom one should not be surprised to find a high rate of nomadic life continued under the guise of many disparate names. While non-service connected, these vocations stilled and filled the urge. And, how many can count the places of temporary residence since civilianization equal to the number during direct association? How many of us can recall those times when the itch was on us? Phases and new beginnings, changes and career choices, new relationships and responsibilities which defined more parts of our time. Many of us still use rotation timing as markers.
I spent almost twenty uninterrupted years in Denver. Pretty stable you might say. Wrong, anything but! From 74 through 94 I had five or six different careers, one of which purportedly lasted thirteen years. But to the initiated there were the telltale markers. Starting new businesses inside and outside of the ongoing ones. Times of connectedness and times in the bunker. Changes in attitude and latitude. The quintessential peripatetic of body and soul.
In true understanding, when the illusions are stripped away, there were those times, the unnamed urge, the itch. Our connectedness to reality and time was one of fragmentation, of soon this will pass. Whether we fought or succumbed we have those feelings of time passing in the old and comfortable way. The most hostile circumstance (even those we created for ourselves by our relationship to our reality) will pass, we know this as surely as we know anything. We may act or we may wait. Action, as often as not, leads to catastrophe, while outwaiting leads to disconnectedness. Such a choice.
Speaking of peregrinations, which I truly was, leads to the next gift given us.
B. Decisions are made higher up the chain of command.
Wise people have told me that my decision-making abilities are seriously flawed. Upon hearing this I simply reaffirm a prior decision: They are full of shit.
Hubris whispers in my ear that I am the god of my existence. I know what is best for me and my life. What can be flawed about that? Humble, ain't I? Not likely. When the sentence starts with, "Of course it's none of my business, but.." I would advise drawing a knife and slitting a throat. Anything given free is worth what you pay for it.
When it comes to decisions I am deemed dysfunctional. It's not that I can't make them, its that I don't use proper methodology. You see, I don't consult. That is a further display of disconnectedness and the bunker mentality. How so? Well, it just is not supposed to be done that way.
I have been instructed that all decisions (this truth was brought to me by others using the aforementioned beginning statement) must be committeeized before action is taken. Well, that isn't the way I was taught! I can say without possibility of contradiction that decisions are made by responsible authority and action items are disseminated. Period.
In my memory I find no instance when the higher command in my life consulted me on matters of choice that may have impact on my life. I don't recall an occasion when the old man and his mate, Lovely Rita, gathered the troops together and laid out circumstances, asking "what do you think we should do?" He did not make up his own marching orders, and he could not allow us to make ours. We were told the decision made up the chain and that was that.
Well, often if not all the time and now, that is how I acted. I made decisions that were in accord with my understandings and requirements, and passed them along with action items attached. It seems that civilians don't think that proper, however. Communication is supposed to be the name of the game, committees are to be formed and a horse should be built to the specifications of the majority. Right. Another camel. A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain.
This policy of unilateral decisioning displays disconnectedness and a lack of feeling. In order to appease the others in my life I have often times not made decisions and withheld information. I have kept my own council. Not good, they tell me. One should cuss and discuss. I have never been able to do that. I have that part of my bunker well stocked, you see. All the things I need to know and act on are there, by inventory item and catalogued. When driven past inaction to do something, I do it.
Bad decision, Ripley. It was a bad decision! (from Aliens, that's the second one, you know the one with an "esssss"). So often, I have made the decision not to decide. Let events unfold and sort themselves out. And in doing so loose opportunity. But even this shall pass.
If one has chosen to remove oneself from the military (e.g.) chain of command one has lost the mechanism that makes the dictates governing life. One must replace it with another authority. Too often that choice is to make them (decisions) selfishly without consultation, using a methodology anachronistic to the context.
Back to the bunker again, you naughty, naughty boy. Got to rethink this stuff, do it right the next time. Fat chance, you don't have that tool in your bag. You have the one labeled: dictate. That leads to another gift of the socialization you learned for Unc.
C. When shooting from the hip, take dead aim on the plan, and kill it.
This gift item leads inexorably to the next as you will see, if you haven't already. Several concepts must be scrutinized, however, for this particular gift to make sense.
"Shooting from the hip" is the concept described directly above. The old fallback about not submitting to committee. People don't appreciate being taken unawares it seems. They like to know in advance the exact location, size, feel, and nature of the next surprise in their lives. I say, "Phooey". I got a cannon big enough to move a mountain, and move it now.
"The plan." We have all made those. Those are the things we haven't submitted to standardization by committee, remember. Maybe it was marrying early, to get away. Maybe it was not being attached so that we have no commitments to others. Maybe it was this or that, and even the other thing. Whatever it was, we conceived it and made sure it happened. You see, since I am the primary unit on the chain of command, the god of my existence, I have the power to decide. And I do. But what do I create? It has been pointed out to me by those in the know (see knives and throats above) that I create "objets de sabotage."
"Kill it." Sometimes the killing was what happened to a plan and sometimes it was what the plan did to me.
Since my concept of time is as it is and since I have the dysfunctional decision making ability, I can employ part C with full confidence. I can draw, shoot, and kill in the blink of an eye. The civilians, soaring above the earth on the wings of a hawk, witness this gift and wonder. I find nothing so amazing about this talent, inculcated and nurtured in the crucible of bratdom. I don't have to live long term with the consequences, you see this too shall pass.
And that is a concept they don't understand. They have been bogged down in the linearity of time. They don't understand that if you kill but don't brown out, don't make a wave, nothing happens. You aren't brought before the judge kicking and screaming your innocence. You aren't held up as an example of social deviance. You are just that kind of person, the kind who does those quirky things from time to time.
But you know you have done it, again. And that is what life is teaching me. That is what forces me into the bunker again. That is what leads to the last gift on the menu I proposed above.
D. Bunkering... the passive aggressive's haven.
I will not quibble with you. All brats are not passive aggressive. Just those who have had opportunity to use the bunker, and have returned there from time to time, knowing what it was. We all have that private place, that closet where we keep the things of our lives. Some are well lighted and some are dark, and some have light and dark in their various permutations. Mine has both, it has items arrayed on shelves for immediate viewing, as well as file drawers with locks and no keys.
By finite element analysis I have determined that I am predominantly the passive aggressive type. (Damn, I do love the labels we have come up with in the last years of examining social deviancy in all its forms. Thank you Phil and Ophray. If I didn't have these well articulated images to fall back on could you imagine how long this treatise would be?) Since my conception of time is that of chunky fragmentation, since I subscribe to no decision other than my own, and since I know how to shoot from the hip and kill the plan; I am a prime example of the type, bunkerism considered.
So what does all of this have to do with my previously aired discourse and the point I wish to make with this dreck? Just this: By imputation it has been brought to my attention that I might be isolated and dysfunctional due to some lack in me.
Not so, oh toothless wonder. I am isolated and dysfunctional because of the gifts I have received and the time I have spent learning their true utility.
While I remember the Incredible Zone with affection and humor, and a sense of AWE; I have relegated it to its place in the light on a shelf in my bunker.
Browsing the stockpiles in the bunker in recent times, an activity brought on by the Reunion of 96 and its associations and images, I have begun to pick and pry at some of the locks without keys. OOOHHHHH WHOOHOO, let me tell you there are some smelly things hidden within. No matter how quickly I slam the previously inaccessible drawers shut again, some of the pheromones do escape. So I decided to do the manly thing, sexist remark aside. I decided to drag them all out, setting up my own Pandorian chaos. Examining them in the light and circulating air has begun to aid in their loosing potency. The one labeled: Passive Aggressive - Use When In Doubt, is still reeking a little. I shall overcome even this in time, because it too should pass.
This item, filed for fallback use, is what has issued the raging scream from my primal being. Mayhap to even grow up.. methinks with pusillanimous hope.
Do you, at this point, remember what the thing was I was going to comment on? Well neither do I. Why say anything with brevity. Go whole hog, never stint, don't succumb to moderation, that is for monks. The altruism bit is now going to come into play. Not wanting to take your time without some reward for your patience, I will leave you with another image associated with the PI:

Basketball games at the Base Gym.
Whilst recovering from another grueling session of weightlifting prior to taking the floor for one of the many games played against the boys in blue from the squadrons I, and several of the team, was looking out from the weight room assessing the crowd gathered on our side of the gym. The stands were filling up and as usual the WHS cheerleaders were rousing them to a fever pitch of partisanship.
Sam was checking out Peg Posey with more than usual fervor. Don was sighing over Duayna, and I was watching my favorite cheerleader with approval and some degree of smugness. We all had done our curls. Even Newberry who needed no augmentation. Tabb was looking good as he posed for the mirror, and Johnny Fisher claimed he could see a muscle under the right conditions of shadowing cast by the overhead lights in the weightroom.
Mr. Godbold had given us our pregame instructions and Mr. Grana was blinking his approval at every syllable uttered by our revered coach. The lineups were set and as usual the front line was Dravis, Fisher, and Newberry. Donny Hammond was mentioned as one starting guard, and then Tabb, Sam, and I held our breathes. One of us would start, and it was always a game to game thing.
I don't wish to slight the other two, who probably deserved the start over me. They, especially Sam Zeldner, worked harder and had more talent than I. Maybe that night I willed Coach to name me, maybe not. The others were working equally as hard. Sam usually came off the bench, however, in deference to Tabb and I being older. Not right but the way of things, sometimes.
All too soon we made our way onto the floor and started our warm-ups. The ovation we received was out of proportion to the skirmish at hand, even as we basked in its glow. Our arms were as pumped as our egos.
That particular night we were playing the 405th A&E, and they had the bodies and the talent to kick our butts. We had scrimmaged them before and they had taken us apart. Johnny and Tony decided that they would boost our confidence and give the opposition something to think about. They dunked during lay-up drills. Wow! Too cool or what. The crowd went wild. As you may recall dunking was hors de combat during that neanderthalic period, and as a second note you might remember most of us were white, which meant we had the disease. Run slow jump low.
During the pre-tip huddle, each of us took time to spot our people in the crowd across from the bench. But we played it cool. We didn't want them to see we knew they were there, especially as we tried to focus on the game at hand.
Johnny lost the tip as one of the opposition cut in front of me, still in a dream. The 405th swept up the floor and dropped in a pair, Tony fouling the shooter. That started a sequence of points on their part and mistakes on ours. Before we could break a sweat or call a time out and regroup 405th was all over us, and our crowd was no longer cheering us, they were imploring us.
I looked at no one in the huddle as Godbold tried to rally us and gave us instructions. I don't think I heard a word or even wanted to, I knew that I was going to be reason we were drubbed. I had made several of my more classic mistakes, such as dribbling off my foot, loosing the ball out of bounds, the sensationally bad pass. And a brick or two thrown up for good measure.
And from the noise penetrated the voice of the one clarion never to be drowned out in any crowd, Colonel Weiss. The voice I could always hear no matter how I concentrated , nor what the circumstances might be. And he was giving me a hard time, which I rightly deserved on that night.
Godbold pulled me, and inserted Sam. He made some other substitutions a few minutes later. And the Falcons began to claw their way back into the game. By will and determination the game came down to the last several possessions.
I had watched most of it from the bench, not to my liking but proper in retrospect. Sam and Donny Hammond were throwing them in from all over. Fisher was using his elbows to keep the lane open and allowing Tony and Newberry to clean up the boards. And from fifteen down we had a chance in the end.
This time I noticed the crowd, and its energy. I wasn't to be a part of the outcome on the floor, I was going to be a part of the cheering throng, for that is what they truly were. My dad's voice was raised above all others that night, exhorting the team on to the win now within its grasp. I joined him from the bench. Not minding the voice I could never escape while on the floor, but raising my own in chorus, verse, and anthem.
The cheerleaders were in ecstasy. The joint was rocking. The bench was pounding themselves on the back. The gamers were exhausted but had the light in their eyes.
The 405th had there heads down in their huddle. They had managed to let us back into the game, had managed not overcome our will as they had started to do.
But in that time and at that place, they had no caring crowd cheering them on and exhorting them to win. They were disconnected from their friends and families.
We had the energy given by those who loved us. Hammond, Fisher, Dravis, Walker, Newberry, Zeldner and the rest were playing for their sweethearts, their mothers, their fathers, and for each other. Contributions came from everyone, even us who merely spelled the others for short minutes that night. Wayne Humphress and Steve Lilly, Scott Hayes and Jim Perkins, each made their contributions.
And the final time out proved decisive. The last ball was thrown into play and the Mighty Falcons put up the shot at the buzzer. Final score, 42-40.
I suppose you recall who won, or have looked it up in the year book. But the winner doesn't matter. It was the experience. The energy of the moment. The ties that bind. For that was one of the best nights of my life. Ninety-five with a humid ten mile an hour breeze wafting into the Base Gym. Noisy folks all around, and benched in the bargain. Yipper, doesn't get much better than that.
I recall Dad homilizing about the never say die attitude later that evening. I recall agreeing that hard work does pay off. I remember now the hard work the others gave to that game, and know that each of them has given the same work to their lives since. I remember looking to the stands and seeing the hope and enthusiasm of all assembled. That attention was focused on some young guys playing a game of basketball far across the wide Pacific. In that hothouse of the tropics, on nights such as that, are born the images of love and life, of community and connectedness.
An item for placement on the shelf of light in the bunkers containing our things. We are the Falcons, the Mighty, Mighty Falcons.

From the Artie Archives: Aphorisms, Apothegms, And Other Things

by Artie Weiss '63
The following lists may be used against me, sanity-wise. Interspersed within the contents are quotations, truisms, falsisms, nerdisms, and my own brand of neologisms (often called oxymorons or non-sequitors). It is up to the reader to sort through them, should he wish to expend any mental energy doing so, and ferret out the kernel of meaning. Some items are set ups, some items are statements without merit, and some are little homilies that illustrate a point. As in any exercise we will start with a light workout and then move into headier realms.
In the words of the immortal sage, Edward A. Murphy, Jr. "If there are two or more ways of doing something, and one of those ways can result in catastrophe, then someone will do it." That has evolved into the catch phrase, "Anything that can go wrong, will."

"Some people say that I must be a horrible person, but that's not true. I have the heart of a young boy...in a jar... on my desk."-- Steven King Save the whales...collect the whole set.
A cat will blink when struck with a hammer.
What was "sliced bread" the greatest thing since?
Jesus saves sinners...and redeems them for VALUABLE PRIZES! If your attack is going really well, it's an ambush.
If sex is a pain in the butt, you're doing it wrong. Kohn's Corollary to Murphy's Law: Two wrongs are only the beginning.
Chance always sides with the hidden flaw. When a male fish starts blowing bubbles in the aquarium it means he's ready for breeding...or getting a little too much fiber in his diet.
Both Timothy Leary and Edgar Allan Poe attended West Point.. and the Army is worried about gays in the military??  Interchangeable parts aren't. 
The boss never watches until you make a mistake.
"The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it." -- Oscar Wilde Never travel with your father in a car after he's had pancakes.
Everyone wants to see justice done, to someone else. The greatest productive force is human selfishness.
In a family argument, if it turns out you are right...apologize at once. Kovac's Conundrum: When you dial a wrong number you never get a busy signal. 
When someone you greatly admire and respect appears to be thinking deep thoughts, they are probably thinking about lunch. Fingernails grow fastest on the middle finger... the one we use most.
Never forget that the safety equipment was made by the low bidder. Murphy's First Law of Thermo-dynamics: Things get worse under pressure.
Get out your calculator. The title of this problem will appear somewhere else in this list: 33x1.2x365x20=  Appended to a less than scintillating discourse, "I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone had printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top." 
"When you come to the fork in the road, take it." -- Yogi Berra  Said a young lad to his teacher upon getting the latest reading assignment, "The covers of this book are too far apart." 
If at first you don't succeed, destroy all the evidence.  Error. Keyboard not found. Press any key to continue. 
A penny saved is a Congressional oversight.  Suicide is the most sincere form of self-criticism. 
The Department of Redundancy Department.  I want to go peacefully in my sleep, like Grandfather did -- not screaming, like the passengers in the other car.
See, now, that wasn't hard at all, was it? We will step up the tempo a little and really seek the chaff amid the wheat.
When in doubt, stay there...women love helpless animals.  Mendel and Darwin were all wet, disparate species can mate successfully, regard: Mars and Venus.
Why do men never stop to ask directions?  Diplomacy: Lying in State! 
"The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare." -- Michael Crichton "A fanatic is one who won't change his mind and won't change the subject." -- Winston Churchill 
He who begs timidly courts a refusal.  Where there's a will there's a lawsuit. 
Do you realize that Atlanta, Georgia is 60 some miles west of Columbus, Ohio?  If you had everything, where would you keep it? 
I've met people who claim to be able to do the New York Times Sunday crossword without reference and with a pen. Never seen it, however. Maybe I put too much pressure on them!  The state of Colorado is larger than Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and 2/3's of New York; combined. There must be significance in this fact. 
If it sounds like a French horn and smells like an English bog, you're riding with your father after pancakes.  "There's no mystery to making money, you just have to love it more than anything else." -- Donald Trump 
He who dies with the most toys is, nonetheless, dead.  The lower limit of the number of cigarettes I've smoked. 
You're schizophrenic? Gee, that makes four of us.  It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it. 
"I am not young enough to know everything." -- Oscar Wilde In a managerial hierarchy confusion is an inverse function of level attained.
If man was intended to fly it would be easier getting to the airport. Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense. 
As I said before, I never repeat myself.  Arabs have almost 1,000 different words for camel...and only one word for the weather...hot. 
In ancient Greece, soldiers often went into battle totally naked... double time marching was an especially popular attraction.  According to a psychological study women talk about men three times as much as men talk about women... mostly complaints about how little men talk about them. 
The new improved model appears on the market just after you make the major purchase of the old under-improved model.  Murphy's Law of Research: Enough research will tend to support your theory. 
The wisest man knows nothing.  Doing it the hard way is always easier. 
Staying young requires the unceasing cultivation of unlearning old and useless behavior.  Georgia is the roadkill capitol of the world. It also has the most buffet eateries. Is there a correlation? 
The only time I open my mouth is to change feet.  Conscience...what hurts when everything else feels so good. 
Never hit a guy with glasses, always use your fist.  Originality is the art of concealing your source. 
Scientific Corollary to MurphyÕs Law: An experiment is considered a success if no more than half the data must be discarded to obtain correspondence with your theory.  "Faith is believing something you know ain't true." -- Samuel Clements 
Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.  Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. 
"There's so much comedy on television... does that cause comedy in the streets?" -- Dick Cavett  Power is the only narcotic regulated by the SEC instead of the FDA.
If, mathematically, you end up with what appears to be the wrong answer... multiply it by the page number.  You can spot an expert in any field if you remember this truth: he will say it costs twice as much and takes twice as long as anyone else present predicts. 
The world lost one of its greatest philosophers when it lost Robert A. Heinlein.  Great care and study should be undertaken prior to selecting a mate for life... remember you may have to live in that institution the rest of your days. 
It would be nice if the FDA stopped issuing warnings about toxic substances and just gave out a list of the two or three things still safe to eat. "There are two kinds of people, those that work and those that take the credit. 
Try to be in the first group, there is much less competition." -- Indira Ghandi 
Concrete people are all mixed up and set in their ways.  Having made an observed social indiscretion you will find that the only thing faster than the speed of light is your wife's grapevine. 
The more confidential the memo the more likely it is to be left in the copy machine.  The only thing that super glue will bond successfully is your fingers.
Nothing is ever a complete failure, it can always serve as a bad example. "One size fits all."
Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are held up as objects of scorn by smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jambs.  "Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity." Hanlon's Razor (from Murphy's Law). 
The world holds two classes of men... intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence. -- Abu'l-Ala-Al-Ma'arri (973-1057 AD)  A sucking chest wound is nature's way of telling you to slow down.
The cost of living hasn't affected its popularity.  Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.
Well, there are so many more that we might try on, but space and time will not allow. As always I will leave you with a jolt from the past. I have selected a little ditty that points out the immortality of youth.
Let me first set the stage by relating where we, the Weiss' lived off base. It will make things easier in the end. As one left the main gate there was a little development just to the right which ran back along the fence and covered fifteen or twenty blocks of housing. The turn was right before the railroad tracks that cut across the divided highway before you got to the Angeles Highway down the road a bit. Jay Ousey and I believe that Gerry Stroh were resident to that little bit of off-base turf.
We lived on the dusty street fronting the railroad track, which made for a peaceful existence. You couldn't miss our place, it was right next to a swamp that doubled as the local caraboa wallow. Lot's of fun for all us kids on wash day. Reminds me of the time Mom woke me out a perfectly good sleep to advise me that there was a cobra in the living room and wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I suggested she offer it a bit to eat and ... well, if you don't know Rita then you will never appreciate this irrelevant aside.
Let's get on with the tale, shall we, Artie. The audience is bating their breath.
One evening after basketball practice Tony Dravis, Johnny Fisher, Tabb Walker, and I tumbled into this ancient four door Buick or Oldsmobile or whatever it was that Tony was driving and headed straight from the gym to a party off base. We stopped at a local booze emporium, a tin shack on wheels with a bicycle cloned onto one end, and purchased some liquid refreshments for the evening ahead. We pawed through the trade goods and selected a case or two of San Miguel and bought several bottles of spirituous liquor, all in San Miguel beer bottles. The proprietor assured us that it was top quality stuff. The light stuff was gin, the medium dark stuff was scotch, and that dark stuff was rum. Right. It all turned out to be flavored lighter fluid. But, we didn't care 'cause we were out to have a good time, and we were young and in love with life.
We drove to the site of the revelry, in one of the off-base housing areas nearer Angeles. As I recall there was a big canal, dry at that time, along the street where the party was housed. All the kids were there. The reveling was in full swing, spaghetti was being eaten and we proceeded to catch up as quickly as possible.
After downing what was purportedly some gin and a bottle or two of San Magu... I was feeling no pain. The party whirled around me as my head began to move in the opposite direction. Within the hour I came across the line to the spaghetti vat and indulged myself of the first food I had had since noon.
By what must have been nine of the clock I was feeling numb on one side of my body and the other side had checked out to delirium city. Came ten or so and I found it difficult to remain upright, either standing or sitting. I decided to move my venue to a more comfortable location, and grabbing a bottle of this or that, dragged myself to the bank of that canal I had mentioned earlier. It was quiet and a guy could close his eyes or not and watch the stars move in the heavens.
I must have taken a wee nap, for next I knew there were several very helpful folk insisting that I come with them to a car, as it was time for me to go home. I tried to insist that I was perfectly fine just were I was but to no avail. I cannot say I was dragged by the heels, but I eventually became conscious of being in a moving vehicle. I must have spoken to the other occupants about my physical distress for I found my head and most of my upper body thrust out the window and a very foul taste in my mouth. Some one in the car was admonishing me not to mess up the upholstery, and one of the occupants seemed to be supporting me in this most precarious position. I wanted to thank him but each time I opened my mouth to speak, there would be this smell of rotting spaghetti and gin. I decided to try to keep my mouth closed.
After four or five hours of travel in this noxious automobile, and many more hours of feeling sick unto death while these kind people unloaded me, I found myself almost a my front door. I couldn't seem to stand well at all, and my companions were whispering something among themselves that I could not quite make out. I tried to ask what all the whispering about. At just that time, they lifted me up and draped me over the front gate. I tried to thank them but they had already driven away before I could do so.
While I could not move, and my tippy toes just barley touched the ground, I found that it was more comfortable than riding half in an automobile. Soon I took another wee nap... it being so peaceful... the neighborhood dogs stayed well back and the geckos weren't much of a problem.
"Huh, wassat?" Oh God, here comes Mom.
"I'm okay, Mom. Just resting."
"I don't know, Mom, the guys brought me home."
"No, I can't seem to move. Just leave me for a while...I'll come in soon. Just need to rest some more. Real tired."
"No, don't call Dad. Shit, she's calling him."
"What do you mean he's not feeling well, he's dead drunk. Christ, I can smell him way over here."
"Jezzus, Reet, grab his other arm and try to lift him will you?"
"Thass okay, I can just rest here for a while, Dad, no big deal."
"Arthur, we have to get him down. The ladies will be here in a couple of hours for bridge."
"Christ, bridge. Would you look at this, Reet. Do you see what heÕs turning into. Bridge."
"Put him in the back shower, Art. I'll clean up the mess in front and then get him fixed up. You just go ahead to work. I'll handle it."
"I ought to knock some sense into him. Won't do any good now, he's stinko."
The back shower was real comfortable as I lay there for the next hour or so, cold water cascading over me while the old man ranted and bespoke the heavens and then departed. Eventually, after another wee nappy interrupted by the onset of hypothermia, Mom came in and turned off the shower. She field stripped me in place and took the soiled clothing to the laundry room, leaving me shivering on the floor.
I remember the smell of lilacs, and then a blanket place around me as I once again had a wee nappy. Sometime later Mom demanded that I agree not to moan while the ladies were in the house, and again the smell of lilacs and another pleasant wee nap...
I did survive. Dad did come home. But then I don't have to tell you about that whole scene or speak of the two months restriction that didn't end until after I had taken a ride on the Blue Bus and asked a certain young lady if she wouldn't rather be going out with me, rather me than that other lug.

 Class of 1963