The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘hunter army airfield’

Weekly Wacko (64)

Ya’ll Ok, Sweety?

My family got in the car and left West Point, New York for Savannah, Georgia on January 1, 2000. The day all the computers were supposed to blow everything up.

When we arrived we made our home at the Hunter Army Airfield guest housing. Essentially, a hotel for Military families.

Sometime during that initial period in Georgia I had my first experience  with southern charm (that I could remember – I was born in North Carolina but don’t remember any of it).

Naturally, it occurred in a Waffle House.

To those of you who have never experienced a Waffle House, I’m sorry. They’re not the cleanest restaurants, or the most delicious, or the best-staffed but … you love them all the same.

The waitress came up to our booth and asked around the table to see what we wanted to eat.

One by one the orders were made.

Eventually, I believe I was last to order, she got to me.

“How bout you sweety?”

… Sweety … Really? … I … I mean my family’s here and you’re a lot older and clearly a heavy smoker but … I mean I guess I … Sure I try to be sweet but … I mean for you to realize that just by looking at me … All right, yeah we can go on a date sometime but … Well let’s not call it a date let’s just say we’re “hanging out” and we’ll see … Sweety? … Well, you’re sweet too and …

I was taken aback.

I had never been called a sweety before by a stranger. Possibly only my mom and some other friends of hers had called me a sweety.

But for this stranger to call me sweety! How nice!

There were a number of moments like this where I adjusted to the switch between New York and Georgia. It turns out, the North and South are different in a few ways.


At a diner near our home in New York the guy behind the counter would yell at you to see what you wanted. This my family loved – what’s not to love? Table-side manners are out, yelling is IN. But you know, I think I’m also ok with being called sweety.

Soapbox? Well, world, we’re all not so different, you know? Cultural differences and what-not, but what’s that? That’s something to appreciate! Take it in! Love it! It’s amazing how different we all are. If ever there was a reason to be impressed with mankind it is because of the amazing complexity of the human race. Between one person and the next. Seriously.

Weekly Wacko (27)


When I was in high school I often played with neighborhood kids (it was actually a neighbor mom’s mother who made me realize why – she was asking about my favorite neighborhood growing up and I said Alaska, because even though I was only K – 2nd grade when we lived there, even the ‘big kids’ (ie high school) played sports and stuff with my friends and I. She pointed out that I was now the big kid. Very perceptive and obvious, and it made me feel pretty good to carry on something I thought was so amazing).

One of the kids was a little girl in elementary school. She had apparently developed a crush on me – I would guess it’s because I was a senior in high school, a boy, played with the neighborhood kids, and tall (it was more fun that way when I picked up kids and spun them around or such).

One day she was running around the neighborhood and she decided to come around. She rang the doorbell and I answered. She had, watch out for the oozing amounts of adorable, brought over a juice box for herself and I.

We went outside and drank juice (substitute wine and add forty years and that’s the kind of scene). It was getting dark out so I told her I’d walk her home.

She wanted a piggy back ride so I obliged. Walking across the circular field in the middle of the neighborhood she admitted to me very plainly, “I wish I was a teenager so we could date.”

I mean, come on. I challenge you to out-cute that.

One day, her younger brother walked up to my house as I was sitting outside. It was my senior year of high school. The weather was perfect, and so I walked outside and laid down on the driveway, watching the clouds roll by. The young stud walked up, said “hi” (he was maybe four at the time?) and sat down beside me. He looked over, then laid down like me. Looked over again, so I had my arms behind my head – using them like a pillow, and mimicked that.

I felt like the coolest older brother ever. It’s no wonder I’m a huge fan of that family.

Weekly Wacko (6)

When I was in middle school some friends of the family paid my family a visit. I got a very nice pullover jacket with “Notre Dame” written on the front.
My mom attributed my desire to go to Notre Dame to this jacket.
Really, I don’t know why I wanted to go there but somehow it made its way to the top of my list.
If anything, though, it was probably the movie “Rudy” (I’m only human).

Junior year of high school came and for spring break I was going to embark on the best, the coolest, the most exciting trip a seventeen year old boy can imagine for spring break!
A ROAD TRIP! With … My mom. Oh. And it was to visit colleges. Oh.
And we would be driving from Savannah, Georgia north to Ohio, then cut across to Indiana, then back down south stopping at 10 – 15 colleges.

We saw a lot of beautiful colleges, Notre Dame included, and it managed to solidify its place as number one on my list.

I had, and was, taking all the proper (though ridiculous) steps.
I was stretched thin with my extracurricular activities – involved in so many clubs that I contributed meaningfully to probably only one or two. I volunteered twice a week, tutoring elementary school kids. I got good grades. I played sports. I was in JROTC.
I even had the ‘look at how unique I am’ angle on my entrance essay – I was a Military Brat. I wrote a life lesson learned for each state.

I took the extra steps, too. The ones not mentioned by stupid magazines or other people.
When people said, “oh, you’ll get in.”
I said, “oh, I don’t know … I’ve got my fingers crossed though!”
Clearly God/fate/karma/whatever would reward me for this.
By saying I couldn’t do it, I would, naturally, be able to do it.

A teacher asked if I got in, would I definitely go?
“Because I can get you in, but I don’t want to call in this favor if you end up not going.”
If I got in, I would definitely go. But I want to do it on my own!
I made a bigger deal out of this “dilemma” than I should’ve. I knew I would not accept my teachers offer, but I wanted people to know I’d gotten it as I was pretty proud of it.
I even called my brother to ask his advice – and I never spoke to him.
I declined my teachers offer.
While I do regret some big decisions in my life, this was not one of them.

I came home from school one day in the spring of my senior year.
My dad was not home. My mom was not home.
I went and checked the mail – hoping for acceptance letters.
Walking back – there it was.
Notre Dame.
I didn’t tear it open but instead thought of this: me sitting at the end of the driveway, the letter open and resting on my chest, and me smiling because I’d just learned I’d gotten in to my top school.
I do this a fair amount, I visualize something and then I feel I have to do it or I’m convinced it will be bad luck. Being crazy is fun, right?
I put the rest of the mail down inside, then walked casually back to the end of the drive way. I walked slowly because I pictured anxiousness as being bad luck.
I sat and looked around – it was a beautiful day.
After a long minute of trying hard to enjoy how beautiful the day was, I picked up the letter.

I scanned until I found whatever word to tip me off that I didn’t get in. Probably it was the lack of the word “Congratulations!,” or maybe just the lack of an exclamation point at all.
Then I read the letter, I mean I actually read it.
It said some nice things about a “tough applicant pool …,” or some such meaningless sentiment.
Stupid Brad.
Why did you tease yourself all this time? You’re not good enough.
I felt embarrassed for having been sure I’d get in.
It made sense, though. I didn’t get in because I’m not good enough and that’s that.

Eventually I got up and went inside.
My sister had sent me an instant message online.
I typed in, “I didn’t get in to Notre Dame.”
I don’t remember if I sent this or not, but I do remember that I started to cry then. This was a big deal for me at that time (I tried very hard, starting probably around the  time I realized it was not a “boy” thing to do to cry – to never cry).
I was disappointed in not getting in, disappointed in myself.
I am extremely confident in myself – I honestly think I can do just about anything. Anything I “put my mind to.” This is perfect because you can always say, “well I just didn’t really want it.”
I really wanted to go to Notre Dame.
So why, then, if I’m so great, did I just fail?

Just so you don’t think I’m prone to depression let me end this on a high note.
I got into other schools and ended up picking Southern Methodist University.
Here’s the important part I learned enough, and did enough enjoyable things to make it impossible to say if I would’ve had a better experience at some other school.
On the downside, I’ve never been as big a fan of “Rudy.”

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