Artie Weiss' Class of 1963 Page
Days: Looking Back
Philosophical Comment After A Thumbnail Retrospective On The Incredible Zone
What Do I Know?
Snickering At The Fools
Forward To The Past
We Introduce Ourselves By Our
We Are Us And We Revel
It Must Have Been A Dream
Geoff One Night
Does Anyone Feel As I Feel,
Am I Alone?
the Artie Archives: A Statement On Gifts And Winning No Matter The Score
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.
the Artie Archives: Aphorisms, Apothegms, And Other Things
|"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.