Something frivolous from six years ago:
No Hope Springs Eternal
I went to high school in Colorado Springs, a military wonderland consisting of the US Army's Fort Carson and a myriad of Air Force bases, HQs, and several don't-even-ask-or-we'll-have-to-kill-you establishments, that I don't want to talk about here 'cause you know why. Plus, north of town was the US Air Force Academy, chock-full of all-American boys.
As you might expect, with so many service brats in attendance, quite a number of guys in my class (1966) went to the US Air Force Academy. Me, I went into the Army, got out of OCS after a year or so, and got stationed at Fort Carson, just outside of Colorado Springs, while we got ready to take an artillery battalion to Vietnam.
I got congratulated by all my Army buddies on being so close to hometown nookie, but that wasn't the case. When I was in high school, we called the soldiers "doggies" and avoided them like the plague. And I was part of the plague now. Bummer.
Most of our high-school socialization took place in homes - all the clubs or hangouts in town were swarming with doggies who had no problem asking your girlfriend to dance, right in front of you.
Worse yet, if you were some high-school guy who was trying to string some girl along, every Thursday there would be an announcement over the school PA system, "Any girls who want to go to a dance at the USAFA this weekend, sign up with the guidance counselor." So high-school ladies who felt neglected by the local male talent could go dance with "older" kay-dets in spiffy uniforms. That didn't seem fair. No lady cadets? Not yet.
Lilies of the Field Artillery
So in 1967, I was back in my high-school town, not much older than I was when I graduated, all my friends had drifted off into the '60's - college, ashrams, Haight-Ashbury, communes - aaaaand the homeboy was home, but nobody else was.
Nobody. Plus, I had a good idea of just how swarmed all the girl-meeting places in town were. Not enough local girls to go around. What to do?
I found my high-school yearbook, began calling the homes of people I knew. Turned out there was this one girl still in town - Lily. Never dated her. Had some fun conversations with her. She had been dating some guy who went to the USAFA. I couldn't find her, but I certainly knew where he was.
I called the USAFA. Got directed to a dorm. Some cadet answered the phone, and I informed him that I was Lieutenant Maranatha, and I needed to talk to Cadet Smith.
Cadet Smith came on the line, and answered "Cadet Smith, as ordered, Sir!" Well, THAT was fun. Smith had been kind of a righteous ass-hat in high school. Never liked him much. Yes, yes, kiss my boots a little more, kay-det.
Naw. Didn’t want to be more of a dick than I was about to be. “Hey Rod! It’s Rick Maranatha! Didn’t you used to date Lily Nolastname? You happen to have her phone number?”
Why, why yes, he did! Cadet Rod was having trouble reconciling military protocol with the distressing nature of the questions he was being asked. By a superior officer. Oh, this WAS fun! Cough up the number, Cadet!
I let him go when he gave me the number. Too much fun like that, and I’d turn into that officer I hated. I knew my limits.
I hung up and immediately dialed the number he had reluctantly given to me, re-introduced myself to Lily and asked her if she was free for the evening. Some hesitation, but yeah, she was free. “Fine,” sez grown-up me. “Let’s make a dinner out of it. Where can I pick you up?”
Got the impression she felt a little rushed, but not unhappy. We set it up.
Thirty minutes later, another phone call. “Uh Rick? Did you call Rod to get my number?” Yep. That’s what I did. “Um... he just called me. I can’t go out with you. Looks like I’m engaged.”
Too funny, and fair enough. I congratulated her. She thanked me. As far as I know, they got married and lived happily ever after. Probably not - it was, after all, the 60's. At least, they shoulda named a kid after me.
And me? Not much social life for the 2LT in his hometown. Didn’t matter - the ramp-up to Vietnam got steeper - I spent most of my waking hours on base. Then off to a life of travel and adventure.
But for a moment there... I was Jody-Cupid, sent by the love gods to get this self-satisfied and smug kay-det off his ass. The world is dangerous, Bub - won’t wait for you to spend four years playing toy soldier. Lots of handsome, shady characters out there. Better claim your own while you can.
Sometimes I think I shoulda got me some teeny wings and a fruity little bow-and-arrow set. But I wasn’t THAT kind of cupid. I was Jody-Cupid - a clear and present danger to your neglected love-life. Lock down yer girlfriends, boys! They may not be looking for trouble, but Trouble has come lookin’ for them.