Friday, July 01, 2005

Hey Baby, It's The 4th of July

Wow, another July 4th is here already?! CRAZY. In this time of heightened patriotic fervor, I can't help but think back to the first Gulf War since it was the war to end all wars in Iraq.. Believe it or not, back in 1990-92 Umlaut was an employee of the U.S. Government. I was stationed (err, employed) at the NASA / AMES Research Center. My work there was classified... but since you're all friends I can tell YOU that I worked in the library. Now, remember that telling anyone else this information would be a breach of national security.. and I'd have to kill you, 'kay?

In 1990-91 this great nation was embroiled in the First Gulf War and since NASA / Ames was part of Moffett Field (which at the time was still an active military base) the site was treated just like any other sensitive government facility in wartime. Security was as tight as a (insert your favorite naughty analogy here). Security passes and I.D. badges were worn at all times. Marines armed with M-16's stood guard at the main entrance gate and scrutinized everyone entering the base. Wartime brings out the best and brightest paranoia, dontcha know.

One morning I realized that I had left my NASA I.D. badge at home... Fawk me. The procedure if you didn't have your I.D. was to stop at the Pass Office and obtain a temporary day pass. It was a pain in the ass AND I would then be late for work. To put it simply, working for The Government (aka The Man) is like working for THE most anal, micro-managing boss you can imagine... Being late for work was like spitting on Old Glory. However, I suppose this country was made great by that kind of management style, right?

Anyway, I had to make a snap decision... Detour to the Pass Office or risk having my Ford Fiesta riddled with bullets. I chose the latter. In a moment of inspiration I grabbed the nearest thing within reach: a cassette of Guns 'N Roses' Appetite For Destruction.. I quickly took out the insert card and as I passed the Marine guard I held it up. Without batting an eye he waved me through... and I made it to work on time.

"You're in The Jungle babee... You're gonna die."

We won that war, so no harm done, right?

As you can imagine there was plenty of wacky hijinx when "us" civilians from NASA encountered the jarhead military folks from Moffett Field. You haven't felt like an American until you've been talked down to in an incredibly condescending way by a man wearing the uniform of the U.S. Military. I'm sure my long Grunge-era hair made me look like a faggot in their eyes... or maybe my long faggot Asian Grunge hair reminded them of that Asian prostitute back on Okinawa.. Me love you long time, Joe!

"Her long hair reminds me of a warm safe place, where as a child I'd hide.."