Jun 3, 2016

Arabic and Class Rings: Cruising at West Point

Rock Island, September 1976

It's the beginning of my junior year in high school, time to register for the SATs, the college entrance exams.  My parents are vehemently opposed to the idea of college, but finally Dad gives in:  "Ok, you can go to college, as long as it's West Point."

"The Military Academy!" I exclaim, shocked.  "What for?"

"I'll tell you what for: full tuition, room and board, plus a stipend.  All you have to do is sign up for five years of active duty afterwards."

"Five years in the Army!  That sounds awful!"

Dad's eyes narrow.  "I was in the Navy for four years.  It was the best time of my life.  A real man's world.  You don't know what real friends are until you've fought side by side."

"Um...a man's world?  Real friends?"  I imagine sitting in class surrounded by hunky collegiate athletes, the cream of the crop, the most muscular in America, stripping down next to them in the locker room, sleeping beside them in the dorms...  "But...um..Vietnam?  500,000 Americans sent overseas?  50,000 casualties?  Khi Sanh?  My Lai?"

"Oh, Vietnam is over with," Dad says dismissively.  "We stabilized the region."

"There will be another war.  And another.  And another. Anyway, I'm not big on military science.  I want to major in Arabic."

"They have Arabic," Dad says, leafing through the catalog.  "And Chinese.  You can major in both, if you're that into languages.  Plus, it's only an hour from Manhattan.  You like all that Broadway musical stuff, right?"

Arabic, Broadway musicals, and army hunks?  It wouldn't hurt to apply....

The rest of the story, with nude photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.