Two faces of lunacy

usaf

ON THE left, you see me, the tall, pretty one, and Adrian, a good friend in those distant days. The shot comes from 1963.

California.

We were both in the Air Force, and we were standing in my barracks room, which my roommate had painted black with gold glitter.

Adrian was not my roommate. He lived in another barracks in another outfit. He was an electronics technician. I had a job that was less useful in civilian life, a survival-equipment technician.

If you want survival gear stuffed into the ejection-seat pod of an F-106, I’m your man. Oddly, after I left the military I never encountered that job opening anywhere.

Or an F-106, for that matter.

A basic knowledge of electronics, however, was quite useful, but Adrian never worked in electronics after the Air Force. He became a movie-theater projectionist, and he did that for many years. Within a decade we had lost touch, but I found him online about five years ago. It was an obituary. He died in his early 60s. The obit didn’t say why.

A sharp eye will notice a motorcycle helmet on the shelf behind us. Adrian owned a Honda Hawk 305, which was the first motorcycle I ever drove. It started my lifelong love of bikes. I wish I had one right now, but I’ve decided against suicide. I’m enjoying life too much.

Adrian got a psychiatric discharge not long after this photo was taken. Many of my friends have been mentally unstable, which says something about me, I guess.

Adrian had that slick suit tailor-made while stationed in Okinawa. I wonder why he was wearing it on that day. We never had occasion to don suits. Anyway, we had a dress Air Force uniform. Perhaps it was a manifestation of his lunacy.

Adrian was Jewish. Jews have been in and out of my life for a long time. Maybe I was a Maccabee in a former life. I am a fan of Israel.

AMLOHere’s another photo. Its connection with the previous is that it too is a shot of lunacy. It’s — and I’m almost embarrassed to tell you this — the president of Mexico, a man I refer to as el Presidente Moonbat.

How about that headgear?

Moonbat is not Jewish. Would that he were. His IQ would be higher. He likely claims to be Catholic because that’s what most Mexicans are. I’m going to save this photo and use it in all future mentions of our head of state. It captures what passes for his soul.

The file man

I’VE MAINTAINED a file cabinet for decades. I find filing satisfying. When I left Houston, I culled wildly, keeping just the bare bones, which I packed over the Rio Bravo.

new-imageI bought a new file cabinet, resuming the habit.

I have insurance files (one for homes, one for cars), bank files (two banks), investment files, three house files (two here, one in Mexico City), receipt file, tourism file, health file, and many more.

But my favorite is the Miscellaneous File where I keep stuff that doesn’t belong elsewhere. Yesterday, killing time at home due to having a cold, I opened Miscellaneous.

It’s a trip down Memory Lane.

  1. Press passes with mug shots. One from my first job, New Orleans. I’m clean-shaven, 24 years old, in a dress shirt and tie. Another for the San Juan Star. I’m 30, My collar is open, and I have Fu Manchu mustache. The third, Houston Chronicle, age 39, shows me in a dress shirt and tie but with the full black beard of a Hells Angel.
  2. Expired passports. Two U.S. and one Mexican. The older U.S. passport shows me in eyeglasses. That’s a no-no now. Both Mexican and U.S. passports were renewed this year, likely for the last time. I’m not immortal.
  3. Air Force shoulder patch. It’s a large circle that says F-106 Dart. The Delta Dart was an interceptor aircraft, and I maintained survival-equipment pods in the ejection seats. Had I not screwed up so much of my youth, I would have been flying the F-106 instead.
  4. A bookmark. On textured blue paper and inscribed with a haiku of my father’s: cajun cabin/the aroma of hot gumbo/floats on the bayou. His name, dates, and the phrase American Haiku Master, which he was.
  5. Air Force discharge. Two versions. One suitable for framing, and the other with dates and mumbo-jumbo.
  6. new-imageA watercolor sketch. Of me, done by local artist Arturo Solis. He just walked over and handed it to me one day years ago while I was on the plaza enjoying a cafecito. We have a number of his works hanging on our walls.
  7. Drug formula. For committing suicide. You never know when it may come in handy. The Hemingway method is messy. Anyway, I don’t own a shotgun.
  8. Texas driver’s license. I arrived with it. It expired six years later, and I never renewed. My DL now is Mexican.
  9. Solo certificate. On the 28th day of June, 1976, I took off alone and returned to the New Orleans Lakefront Airport in a Cessna 152. Suitable for framing. I don’t fly anymore.
  10. A love note. From my wife on my birthday in 2003. We had been married almost 18 months.
  11. Final electric bill. Houston, dated Jan. 8-12, 2000. Amount: $86.02 for just four days 16 years ago. That’s approximately what I pay now in a year at the Hacienda.
  12. Certification card. International Bartending Institute. Dated May 7, 1982. I am a certified bartender. Whoopee!
  13. Flying license. I became a pilot of small planes on Oct. 26, 1976. The license never expires. You do have to renew your medical certificate, however. The last medical expired June 1, 1978. There’s also a radio permit in the envelope.
  14. Cremation certificate. My mother was cremated on Jan. 8, 2009, at Atlanta Crematory Inc. in Stone Mountain, Georgia. She had made it to age 90.
  15. Divorce papers. I had them in this file until fairly recently, but I tossed them into the trash. Two divorces. Two utterly miserable experiences that I’ll never repeat. I would prefer the Hemingway solution.

If you got all the way down here, you deserve a Gold Medal. I also have a Letters file.

Maybe I’ll spill that here some day. That’s where the love notes are stored. I love love letters.