Friday, February 6, 2009

What the Hell

Marilyn Monroe is famously quoted as saying, "Ever notice that 'what the hell' is always the right decision?"

I'd like to add that you often reach that decision state when you're tired. Frankly, a lot of the major directional decisions I've made in my life were made when I was tired. I'm tired right now, but I've got this thought in me and it has to come out.

When I interviewed with the company that I still work for, SMS, (now Siemens), I came right off an all-nighter at the computer
lab and right into the interview. I knew instantly that this was the company I wanted to work for and canceled all my other interviews as I walked out. Now that I think of it, I guess it's a good thing they hired me. The interview was in January, they hired me and I didn't start until I graduated in August. It did take the pressure off the last couple of semesters. What's more, this is what I looked like when I interviewed and they hired me anyway!

I also made the decision to join the Navy when I was tired. I was going to school full time and working full time so when my friend Bob Deeter suddenly suggested we should just join the Navy, I followed Marilyn Monroe's sage advice (as I always try to do) and said, 'What the hell' and we joined up.

We took the summer off before heading off to camp, I wrote about that in a previous blog entry. I also had the opportunity to drive my mother up to Minnesota to see her family. We went in my mauve Rambler American, the first new car I ever owned. Hey, don't laugh, it was a
good car, I gave it to my father when I went in the Navy and he drove it practically the rest of his life. One of the high points of that trip was loading Mom, Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Edwin in the car and having some clown run a stop sign and hit the car hard enough to spin it all around. Ha ha, what fun. No one was hurt and damage to the car was barely noticeable. Boy, they don't make cars like that anymore.

On the way back to Miami, we visited my cousin Audrey and her husband-to-be Andrew Houlihan. They were living in New Orleans and I distinctly remember deciding that as long as we were in the neighborhood, we would have to swing by and see them. Yeah, it's hard to reconcile how Minnesota and New Orleans were in the same 'neighborhood'. But I'm so glad we did because I got to meet Andrew and I thought immediately that he was so cool and had this dynamite southern accent. My instincts were right because even now, after all these years, he's still cool.

But the summer ended, I went to the beach a few last times to finish working on my tan preparing for the skin cancer that would come later. When we were visiting my Aunt Del and Uncle Mel (that's Uncle Mel to the right) up north with my mother, I happened to cross my legs and the skin on my leg showed. Well, Uncle Mel's eyes bugged out like you see sometimes in old cartoons. He asked, "Are you that dark all over??" He was stunned. This was a man born and raised in Minnesota in the heart of white-leg country. I think it had a profound impact on his whole belief system.

By now, my brother Dave had already moved to the Buffalo, New York area and was preparing for his marriage to the lovely Miss Donna Krueger.
So as I prepared to leave to go off to boot camp, it never occurred to me that I was leaving my parents with an empty nest. And while it's true that they were never what you might call 'demonstrative' it may have at least been nice if I had awakened long enough to recognize what was going on around me and acknowledge it somehow. 'It never occurred to me' - a phrase I often use even to this day. But I was excited because I was taking my first jet aircraft trip. Bob and I were off to Chicago and on to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center where I would be introduced to 'culture shock' before they had even invented the word.


Dave said...

How come I've never seen that picture of you before?

debbie said...

Scary, huh!!?? Juuuust teasing. You went with that look again when we did our tour of the west!! And enhanced the look with a new cowboy hat!!