Thursday, March 30, 2006

On This Day

in 1981 I was celebrating my twentieth birthday on the island of Okinawa, Japan. The Far East Radio network was wall to wall with the news of the attempted assassination of President Reagan. One of the reporters we heard a lot from was Sam Donaldson. I have always found his delivery annoying.

This morning when the numbers on my bedside clock radio kicked (no, they don't do that anymore - it's all digital these days) over to five a.m. the first words out of the speaker were those I had heard spoken by Mr. Donaldson all those years ago.

I heard that voice reporting "there has been an attack on the president" and my eyes snapped wide open. I felt a moment of confusion; the ceiling above me was not the institutional light puke green of a concrete squadbay (Marine speak for "barracks") but instead textured drywall, and holy Moses I was big as a house... and who was this woman next to me???...

Time passes.

I have been stopping at the same convenience store on my way out of West Valley City every morning since December. I know the employees and manager by first name, and only have to pay for my coffee every third or fourth time.

This morning the manager of the store overheard one of my fellow surveyors wishing me happy birthday, and we started talking about how fast the years go by. She just turned forty five herself a week ago. I mentioned the gestalt I got from the morning radio broadcast and she did a Lon Chaney werewolf in the moonlight thing on me:

"I sure wish that somebody would shoot that (*&^^%!!( #$^ sonofa(*&@ we've got now!"

From affable acquaintance to full blown BDS in two seconds. Eyes bulging, lips white, and a great red rush that ran up her neck and exploded across her cheeks.

"You mean that, don't you? You really do."

"Hey, I'm SORRY if your a REPUBLICAN but somebody should... "

I put my morning muffin back on the rack. The coffee cup was already filled, and I didn't feel like dumping it in the sink with her in such a state. So I went to the counter and paid (had to insist) and walked out.

I guess I have to start carrying a thermos again. Oh, and I won't be buying thirty gallons of fuel there every third day, either.

Folks like her hated Uncle Ronnie, too. The same hate, and for all sorts of reasons, but in the end they hated him for being right where it counted. And winning. I reckon that's how Bush will end up, too, when the serious books are finally written.

Trying day at work; in my experience working on your birthday always boils down to either a cake walk or a shit sandwich. Today I got the double hoagie special. Arrived home with the sunset to a Happy Birthday Chorus from my family in the driveway, and went out to Sizzler for a great dinner. We were too full to eat any birthday cake but it will still be there tomorrow.

I'm a lucky guy. It was a beaut of a day and now I'm off to bed.

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