I went to meet a friend I haven’t seen since 1988 or thereabouts yesterday. We were stationed together in Germany. Ted Applegate was one of my best friends in the Army. This, despite the fact that he had to, unfortunately, arrest my dumb ass for drunk driving when the Polizei had pulled me over on the way home. It was kind of strange, since I had only drank six or seven (dark German) beers. Stupidly on my part, I had drank them like a true soldier…all of them were gone in about 15 minutes. Durr. So yeah, the Polizei pulled me over, gave me a breathalyzer and called the MP’s to come and get me. Lo and behold but who should show up? My next door neighbor Ted. THAT was fun. He and his partner drover around with me in the back of the MP van guzzling coffee and soda and smoking about a pack of cigarettes before taking me to the MP Station. Of course, being that we were in the same company (527th MP Company hoo-rah!), this was a bad thing. I was the company generator mechanic and armorer as well as the computer fix it guy. Luckily, not much came of it besides the loss of rank - which was given right back to me by the Air Base commander as I had a pregnant wife and the only way to get into government housing was to be at least an E-4, Specialist. So, I lost one rank for about a month and didn’t lose any money. My Company Commander even gave me my license back - a move so far against regulations I still don’t know how the hell he got away with it.
All that crap aside, Ted, who lives down in Arkansas, is now a long haul truck driver. I got a call from him yesterday saying that he was going to be near me here in Michigan and maybe we could get together. Sounded good to me! So, I found out where he was going to stay the night, a truck stop just south of Lansing, about an hour or so away, and we agreed on a time I would meet him there.
I got to the truck stop and no Ted. Gave him a call and he said that I was an hour early. This is when I realized that Ted had no idea that we were n the eastern time zone and was an hour behind me. Ha ha ha… I told him that I’d drive around and find a bar so we could hoist a few beers and talk and stuff. Found a nice little bar called the Eagle Inn and had a few rum and cokes while waiting for him to call and tell me he was here. He was reading from an older road atlas and of course, drove right past the exit. When I finally got ahold of him, he was about ten miles past me…heh…so I got him fixed up and talked him through the rather odd conjunction of off ramps and to the truck stop.
It was strange seeing him after all these years. I never really realize how much time has passed as I rarely look at my old photos so I don’t really see the changes in myself and therefore forget how much time has changed me, let alone someone I haven’t seen in 24 years. Like before, Ted was still bald as an egg (lost his hair before he was 25) but now had a beard and mustache. When we were in Germany, he never even had a mustache. That plus the fact that like me, what hair he did have was pretty damn white, made me actually realize all the years that have gone by.
In any case, we left his truck in the secure area at the truck stop and went to the bar. Since I had been drinking rum, I decided I better switch to something a bit less volatile, so of course, we started off with bottles of Guinness. Sigh. Then switched to some sort of wheat beer that he liked which I thought was okay. In HUGE ass mugs. Oh yeah, unbeknownst to me, it was REALLY potent. We ordered a pizza to help soak up the booze and continued talking and drinking for a few hours. When I realized I was getting a lot drunker than I’d been in years, I told him that unfortunately, I was gonna have to call it a night. So I took him back and dropped him off. Got a couple of real good pictures on my phone that I wanted to post, but I seem to be a retard when it comes to transferring them to my computer.
As I drove home, listening to the newest Frank Zappa compilation, Understanding America, it struck me that even though 24 years had passed, we picked up conversations about stuff that had happened while we were in Germany as if they had happened last week. Now granted, we do talk on the phone but we never seem to talk about those days, it’s mostly about our families and whose politics suck more, his or mine (for the record, his do) and whether or not our GRANDKIDS were ever going to have to go through the stuff that we had.
It seems strange to me that even though I’m 51, have had four knee surgeries and three spinal surgeries, all due to crap I did in the Army, I don’t actually FEEL like I’m just over a half a century old. Then this morning hit. It could be summed up in two words:
Haven’t had a hangover of these proportions in decades. Even my eyelids hurt. AND I had a doctors appointment at 8:30 a.m. It was fun trying to explain that the reason my blood pressure was so high was because I had spent the majority of the previous afternoon and evening boozing it up like I was still in my early 20’s. So yeah, I am no longer young enough to do the things that we used to do on a daily basis in Germany. Not sure exactly how much I drank but what I DO remember is that I had at LEAST a dozen shots of rum mixed with coke, a few Guinnesses and I don’t really know HOW many huge mugs of strong ass wheat beer. Also two, count ‘em, TWO slices of pizza.
When we were younger, and in MUCH better shape, we would do this sort of thing every weekday and do our real serious drinking on the weekend. Not joking in the least little bit. Back then, the Army culture almost insisted on you being able to drink immense quantities of booze on a daily basis. As long as you could make it to PT in the morning and do your job during the day, the command structure could care less if you were a raging alcoholic. I remember the last New Years Eve I was there, me and my roommate went through a gallon and a half of Jack Daniels and more than six CASES of German brewskis. Between the two of us. Didn’t have a hangover either. When I think back on those days, at least the ones I can remember, I find it hard to believe that any of us made it out of there with intact livers. Of course, I’m paying the price for all that hard ass drinking now. Major Peripheral Neuropathy that affects my feet and lower legs, high blood pressure, lowered resistance to illnesses that never bothered me before and a ridiculously strange tolerance for alcohol. Usually, I only drink beer, Busch to be exact, so I don’t have a hangover problem and haven’t had one in years. Mixing different types like I did last night though…damn. It’s almost 2:30 p.m., I’ve been awake since six a.m. and I STILL feel the effects. No pain or anything like that any more but I have that feeling like I’m still partially drunk and it sucks.
Have to admit though, I had a great time and if I had it to do over, I would have done the exact same thing…well, I probably would have eaten more food BEFORE the start of the boozing but everything else? Yeah. It was great catching up on old times with an old Army buddy and I’m hopeful that my wife and I will one day be able to drive down to Arkansas so I can see Ted and his whole family.
One more thing, just talked to Ted and headed to Laredo, Texas. Also, the bastard had NO hangover which I think is totally unfair.