Feature image was taken by the author; USAF Rockwell International B-1 Lancer Long-Range Supersonic heavy bomber
Dedication of this article goes to NEWSREP Sister Mic-Mac; all the best in the coming weeks
Surely you remember 9/11… After all, it WAS in all the papers, you know. Many people like to remember where they were when certain events happened. My earliest such recollection was when I was a young kid and POTUS John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Oh, how miffed I was at the interruption of my cartoons with: “This is a special announcement. Your regularly scheduled program will be returned at the end of this special announcement.”
I watched and listened to the special announcement, bellyaching loudly for the duration.
“Hush now… the man just died!” lamented and warned my mother. I just didn’t get it… was too young.
I remember when Lady Dianna died and the special announcement came over my TV screen. I had been watching Saturday Night Live (SNL) at the time and as God is my witness I thought the announcement was part of the procession of prank skits that emanated from that program. I howled with laughter as the news preached of the death of Diana… up until the point that I realized the “skit” was not actually a skit at all, and Lady Di was truly deceased.
I recall vividly when Michael Jackson died. I was in a barber shop getting my ears lowered. I sat in a swivel-lift chair and tried to matrix the white noise of the electric clippers out of the vocals that were coming from the TV. As I recall (words to the effect) it went something like this:
“You heard it here first ladies and gentlemen, Michael Jackson has died of mysterious causes at the hands of his personal doctor who doesn’t know what CPR is and wears his stethoscope upside down. Jackson appears to have succumbed to a certain un-named substance on the premises, one that is unidentified and has absolutely nothing to do with any facet of this announcement.
So, folks, you can see that we have no story here or reason to have interrupted your regularly-scheduled programming… other than the Micky “the Jack-Attack” Jack-off Jackson dying thingy.”
As the news of the dearly departed “sank into the psyche” of us haircut getters, the comments were rendered in such fashion:
“Michael who?” (roaring of laughter)
“Jackson… I think he may have meant Jackson Pollock just died… they are are going to drizzle his coffin in multi-colored paint!” (roaring of laughter)
“Jackson-Schmackson; I’m more dejected about some of the zits on my ass right now,” (roaring of laughter)
“I don’t give a shit either, because (sings) ‘the kid is not my son’” (roaring of laughter and stomping of feet)
One of the barbers: “Well, I have something I’d like to say… Earl Pennington, seating is now open for Mr. Earl Pennington!” (roaring of laughter, especially from Earl P.)
Sing me a tune, Michael Jackson; your passing had less impact on me than the radioactive Potassium-40 in the banana I’m eating right now. (geo laughing)
I do poignantly recollect when Usama bin Laden died. It was a momentous occasion from the standpoint of joy and happiness, but confusing as hell for the media from the same perspective. Usama bin Laden himself came out and stood before a microphone at a podium in front of the oval office and declared: “Ladies and Gentleman, I am proud to announce tonight that… Barak Obama… is dead!” And the bells did ring and the cuckoo did sing, and nobody had a flaming-yellow phuq what had transpired.
The announcement did interrupt my Sunday evening viewing of 20/20. I blurted at that time: “Well shit me… this had better be good!” and it was; it was damned good! I have to tell you that it is a fact of the matter that in the following days more than one news anchor did truly mix the names and declared publicly that Barak Obama was dead. Me, sometimes I type “your” instead of “you’re”; my shame!
Now there I was on September 11, 2001 lifting off in a Delta Airlines jumbo jet just leaving the east coast in the morning hours. Clad as always clad in Polo shirt, performance shoes, and Royal Robin Tactical 5.11 slacks. I venture I might have looked a sukoshi Air Marshal-esque… but I accepted that as my druther; 5.11s on 9/11.
I popped a Sonata sleep aid in the hope that I would catch some zulus. My then wife had been in the throes of her first attempt to desecrate our marriage. She had been joy-riding on the back of her boyfriend’s motorcycle, and tried to negotiate the sudden stop to a 30 MPH trajectory with her face… a thing not high up on my personal list of hobbies.
The boyfriend, being an identity crisis-afflicted Air Force staff toad, managed to T-bone a Ford and launch the both of them over the top of the car. Her jaw and nose were broken as well as her sinus’ collapsed. Years of her wearing a retainer in her mouth to coax her teething in line were flushed down the toilet. There would be plenty more years of retainer retention to come.
Boyfriend jacked it in and ran off to another state when he heard I was on the way out for an audience and heart-to-heart with the lad. She was left alone. I flew in and took care of her: got her to the hospital and stayed with her until her face was back together and she was ready for her next stab at desecrating our marriage. (I own the pen in this story, dear.)
The Sonata was efficacious and I was sawing logs in no time. Why, I didn’t even stir for the complimentary beverage service that the fight attendants doled out. My stomach would soon feel the gnawing pangs left by the void of that paltry pile of peanuts and those 13 mini-pretzels… a missing dose of nourishment that my physical being would never fully recover from.
The popping of my ears signaling our descent awoke me groggily from my lumberjack dreams. I rolled my head to my left to look out of the window, in whose seat I propped my ass.
“Ah, Las Vegas Nevada; home at last!” I thought with a grin of comfort and satisfaction.
I became suddenly half aware of the announcement from the pilot, and fully aware of the scene outside my window… this was not McCarran airport at all, and I gleaned lazily that the pilot was announcing our arrival at Dallas Fort Worth… Dallas Fort Worth… Fort Worth. We were, according to the wording of the airplane’s driver, being GROUNDED by the FAA.
This was “WHAT THE PHUQ?” exciting… in a conversation-at-the-Thanksgiving-dinner-table sort of way. Would I be telling this story there for years to come? I took no stock in the rumble of chatter that arose from the passengers around me. I was numb and groggy… doped as phuq by the Sonata… alarmed somewhat at the circumstances… nervous but not scared. All-in-all I tried to retain a savvy and worldly composure of a man in control; a go-to man in crisis.
The TV monitors onboard our aircraft flickered with the image of 50% of the Twin Towers in NYC burning wildly, and reruns of aircraft striking them both. I was a military man… a Delta man at that. I was a wild man of action but a lamb of truth when it came to warlike matters of the heart… I could look at two scenes of two airliners slamming into two separate skyscrapers and deduce: this is war; this is absolute and unquestionable war… this is hand-me-my-rifle war.
The comments around me popped off: “This is what our airline pilots get paid for?? This is what our Air Traffic Controllers are worth?” They were fools you know, fools who wouldn’t see the forest for the trees. They were neophytes, amateurs, dabblers, dumb-asses… they were just naive to what is of world-class significants, ripping the rest of us with their myopia. They were… blindidos.
I kept my poker face as I watched the first tower collapse, and then again I watched the second tower collapse as I moved through the terminal. I had quietly predicted the collapse shortly after the demise of the first tower… well, shit… I was fighting the effects of the Sonata for sure, and trying to make the best sense of the events unfolding to my front. We were at that moment at war. There was no question about it. There was no replacing the Discovery One’s AE-35 unit and waiting for it to fail to finally be sure that this was the McCoy.
From Author Clarke and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001; a Space Odyssey, the Explorer One spacecraft on top of who’s midway point sits the AE-25 communications antenna control unit
Ramrod your barrels, sharpen your steel, pack your limber chests, true your aim, fatten your bellies in prep to starve… this is it boys; this is war. The 99 red balloons have gone up in Germany. It’s time to stop mincing words, bowing to differences, gesturing obeisance to culture abeam us… by the Gods, it was time to rally and take a stand.
Well, phuq me running backward in the rain in Rio de Janiero!
We, the stranded passengers of the United States of America were put into hotel rooms until the nation could figure out whether to shit or wind its watch. It turns out the country was too fragile to commit to either one of those things and chose to sit with its watch-hand thumb up its ass so it could do neither.
By Almighty God and with honor,