Monday, April 24, 2006

Ready, Aim, FIRE!!!

Surely there have been many in my life, but there are two incidents in particular that qualify for “Most Embarrassing” status. One was the time during the opening face-off of the first game of my bantam league hockey season in which our starting center had to be called off the ice on account of the lace of his skate being undone. The coach signaled down the bench for me to get out there and get the game started. I immediately threw my leg over the board and when my skates met the newly surfaced ice, I fell directly on my ass in front of a bunch of my school friends, including girls, who had come to watch the game. To make matters worse, my stick sort of bounced around and slid past the visiting team’s bench and beyond the blue line into the offensive zone. I had to quickly right myself and skate down to retrieve it and then come back to the face-off circle to lineup directly across from my opponent who was having a good laugh at my expense. That blew.

The other, I was most recently reminded of by a group of hooligans commenting on Misanthrope’s blog. Yes, there was an incident during my childhood in which my butt got stuck in a cannon, more specifically, an eighteenth century howitzer originally from Fort Ticonderoga. As Dave was quick to point out, getting your butt stuck in a cannon is better than a cannon being stuck in your butt. In all actuality, I haven’t had one stuck in my ass, but having lived the former I couldn’t really tell you that one is more embarrassing than the other. Here’s what happened…

From 1969 to 1971, my dad was assigned to the Math Department at his alma mater West Point after returning from Vietnam and completing an advanced degree at RPI. He claims these as his salad days. He was young, newly promoted, living back at West Point with his family and many of his classmates/friends, doing a job that required little hard work on his behalf (teaching math). But the best thing about it, what he’ll tell you at least, was the sports. There is NO day during the school year when some sort of athletic competition isn’t going on at USMA whether it be an NCAA contest of some variety, or one of many intramural sports the cadets and staff participate in regularly. My dad’s love of sports, particularly Army sports is beyond obsessive, so being there at West Point at this age of his life was like being in heaven.

On this particular spring day in 1970, my brother and I (I was five, he was six), road down to my father’s office with him for reason’s I can’t recall. Afterwards on our way back home, we happened upon (you don't have to be Oliver Stone to read my dad's motives for having to pop into the office here) what was more than likely an intramural lacrosse game underway in one of many fields across the street from West Point’s famed Trophy Point. My dad took the opportunity to get absorbed in the game and since my brother and I had little interest in it, he sent us across the street to play on the rows upon rows of historical armaments on display there. Spring time begins the busy tourist season at West Point, so plenty of folks were milling around taking advantage of the beautiful vistas for photo opportunities as my brother and I climbed all over the cannons. At one point, I decided to take a rest and sat down in the bore hole of an upward positioned howitzer. The longer I sat relaxing in it, the deeper my folded body slid in. When my brother indicated that it was time to go back across the street to find my dad, I had slid so far down the bore that I was into it up to the middle of my rib cage.

ABSOLUTE PANIC ENSUED!!! I could not apply enough leverage with my arms to hoist myself out, and the more I panicked the further I slid in. When my brother finally stopped laughing hard enough to see that I was in peril, his attempts to pull me out only made matters worse. What was left for him to do, but to leave me there and go find my dad and that’s exactly what he did. Me, with my ass in a cannon, Japanese tourists walking by pretending not to notice me screaming like holy hell. Five minutes later, my brother returned with my dad in tow and after my dad had his turn having a laugh at my expense, he placed one hand on my back and the other under my knees, squished my back towards my legs and pulled me out. No chance that it would ever be a secret amongst us men, it became the family story for the ages.

When back in the area last year, I took the opportunity to photo Katie by the very same cannon which I've posted above. I’m sure she’ll enjoy telling here kids the story someday.

So, there you have it. I guess having this story is some consolation I guess. Enjoy.


At 11:47 AM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Jackson said...

72 - Fred - an arm - different cannon on Trophy Point.

Maybe this story explains your lack of posterior.

I have heard this story countless times - every time is enjoyable.

At 11:58 AM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Tony Alva said...

I never thought about the lasting effects that this incident might have had on my glutious-nonexistus as my wife refers to it. I see a rally at the gates of the academy in the making:-)

At 12:23 PM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Hue B. Mooksuki said...

That little is girl is an absolute DOLL!

At 12:33 PM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Tony Alva said...

Thank you sir.

Hey Hue, e-mail going to is bouncing back. Do you have a new one you can send me? I've got something for you.

At 1:33 PM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Hue B. Mooksuki said...

At 2:36 PM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Dave Cavalier said...

I was thinking of driving out to the Storm King sculpture garden this weekend, but now I am thinking I might just make a pilgrimage to the cannon to pay my respects.

At 4:00 PM, April 25, 2006, Blogger hazmat said...

Damn your daughter's adorable. I guess she gets it from your wife's side of the family. ;-)

At 5:06 PM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Tony Alva said...

The Storm King Arts Center is indeed awesome, but why choose? If the weather cooperates and gives you a good day, do both. The Point looks fantiastic this time of year. Take the WMD's with you! Maggie just might fit into one of them and I'm fairly certain they are still operational. Of course, you'd have to bring along your own flint lock, fuse, powder, and reamer.


Thanks. Indeed she does. You don't have to look futher than my wedding photo for validation.

At 5:30 PM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Jackson said...

It's been too long since I've strolled around the old stomping grounds - looks like it will be a while yet....

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