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Archive for the ‘Flashback’ Category

Aptitude

Fifteen years ago, I almost became a sailor.  And then I saw the sailor uniform and changed my mind.

Every year, just before my birthday, the U.S. Navy sends me a postcard to commemorate the anniversary of my blatant rejection of their style sense.  They call it a birthday card, but I like to pretend that they’re still pining for my attention.

The Navy recruited me pretty heavily there for awhile, many years ago, because tests indicated that I showed an aptitude for Nuclear Physics and Mechanical Engineering.

They promised me an awful lot of things in exchange for joining their ranks, especially because I’m a woman and those particular fields are fairly well dominated by people with a whole different set of genitalia.  Just before I got ready to sign on the dotted line, however, they decided to try and impress me by having some Naval Officers come over and fill me in on how wonderful my life was going to be. 

That’s when they lost me.

I’m sure those Officers talked up the Navy like there was no tomorrow.  The travel!  The education!  The experience!  Plus, Nuclear Physics = fun stuff! 

All I can remember about that meeting, though, is how ugly and out of date their uniforms were.  I grew up Air Force, and spent time stationed at an Army base, so it’s not that I was unfamiliar with the concept of uniforms.  But I was used to dress blues and fatigues, not all of this white polyester with big dangly ties, bell bottoms and funky hats.  In a word, they looked like Sailors.  From the seventies.

I honestly can’t tell you why I expected them to look like anything else, being that they were in the Navy.  What can I say?

I quietly and humbly turned down the Navy’s incredibly generous offers, all because I didn’t want to look like a sailor.  From the seventies.  And for the record, if I had voiced my displeasure?  They would have informed me that I wouldn’t be dressing like a sailor at all. 

Too little, too late, Navy!  May I suggest a well-placed disclaimer on the sailor hats?

Every year when that postcard arrives, I spend a little time thinking about aptitude, and about how different my life would be if I had signed on that line.  Would I have enjoyed Nuclear Physics?  Mechanical Engineering?  My aptitude and ASVAB scores indicated that I would have. 

As long as I didn’t have to dress like a sailor, of course.

It is so far removed from what I chose to do with my life, that it’s almost impossible to imagine.

Where Did You Get Engaged?? Um…. Sizzler.

Let’s lighten things up around here, shall we? 

Everytime we pass the Sizzler in our hometown, Jeremy points to it and says, “Hey, there’s your favorite place!” and then he laughs for at least twenty minutes.  Ha. Ha. Ha.

The Back Story:

When I was a senior in high school and knew everything there was to know, I had a boyfriend.

He was a few years older than me, but was… how shall I say… inexperienced in the ways of women.  I mean, completely inexperienced.

I found his perceived innocence to be rather endearing.  A guy like that is kind of like a puppy, right?  You get to train him before he develops any bad habits.

We had been dating for about 5 months when he asked me if we could take his mom to dinner for Mother’s Day.  This guy, you know, he was a natty dresser and drove a cool car, had impeccable grammar and spelling, a nice smile, wonderful manners.  But none of that could be attributed to where he came from, capisce?

So I was loathe to take his rather loud mother, who had a knack for making inappropriate comments at the most inopportune times, to a nice restaurant.

I suggested Denny’s.  A place where she’d fit right in.

He said we needed to take her somewhere nicer than Denny’s.  He wanted to take her to my “favorite restaurant”, and all I had to do was name the place.  I had learned my lesson about taking his mom to nice restaurants a few months earlier – it just wasn’t going to happen.

So I said Sizzler.  That was as classy as I was going to go, and I wouldn’t budge.  No way in hell his mom was going to set foot in my favorite places, I liked those restaurants and didn’t want to be embarassed by her. 

I was 17, remember?  And I knew all there was to know.
 
Cut to the Sizzler parking lot.  We pull in, and I notice my good friend’s car.  Puppy says, no, it must just be a car that looks like hers.  Five months in and he hasn’t figured out I have a photographic memory, yet?  That’s her license plate, which means, duh, that’s her car.

He says, hmmmm, I don’t know, we’ll see if she’s inside.  She isn’t, which should have clued me in that something was going on, right?  But it didn’t.  So much for knowing all there is to know.

We were taking his uncouth mom to dinner at Sizzler, and that’s all there was to it.

Except.  During dinner, the server brought over a bowl with a box in it.  In the box was a ring.  Puppy proposed, one knee resting on the filthy floor of our local Sizzler’s.  In front of his mother.

The whole place applauded.  Which was deafening, given the cafeteria-style accoustics in the Sizzler dining rom.

Let’s just say, Puppies?  You don’t necessarily need to marry the first girl who teaches you a few things.

And girls?  Just cause a guy is a Puppy doesn’t mean he’s innocent or incapable of hurting you. 

Even puppies nip.  And pee on the rug in front of your friends. 

And pick up a few bad habits from their mothers.

**I’m guest posting  over at Let’s Talk Babies today!  Head on over!**