The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Snippet of Life: A night in Olongapo

I was young and stupid and in a foreign land. The port was Subic Bay in the Philippines and the town outside the base is called Olongapo. Pretty much anything goes there. At least back then in the late 60's. It may be a nice quiet town now. I don't know.

It was my 3rd time in that port so that meant it was in the late summer or early fall of 1968. I had a little too much money in my pocket, apparently, because I decided to buy some "reds" (phenobarbital) after I had had more than a few beers. I wandered down the street and came across a young Filipino man who was offering items of an illicit nature in quiet whispers to sailors who passed by. I approached him and asked if he had any reds. He said he could get me some and told told me the price.... so I asked for 4. He disappeared for a few minutes and returned, quietly handing them to me in exchange for a 5 peso bill (about $1.25) as we stood in the shadows near a store window.

I put them in my shirt pocket and climbed the stairs to a nearby bar. It was called "Ocean's 11" and one of the favorites of the Brinkley Bass crew. The bars aren't all that different, they have a lot of tables, a dance floor (to dance with the bar girls on), and a stage for the band who plays Rock and Roll or Country/Western (depending on the bar). Ocean's catered to the Rock crowd. I found a couple of friends and sat with them. I washed down two of the reds with a bottle of San Miguel beer.

That wasn't smart. Two is one too many to mix with beer or any alcohol. One may be too many, for that matter. By my second beer, I was having difficulty dancing. I use the term "dancing" quite loosely. I never could dance as I have no sense of rhythm. But the drunker I get, the more I think I can actually dance. And do a great job of making a complete fool of myself. That is exactly what I was doing when I started falling into people and the occasional table. Even the bar girl I was dancing with thought I should sit down.

I did sit down and had difficulty remaining in the seat without sliding off onto the floor. As I was sipping my third beer, I decided I was too wasted and needed some coffee. Just before I got up, I realized I still had two more reds in my shirt pocket. Not wanting to get in trouble bringing them back onto the base, I started to think about what I should do with them. A smart person with a clear head would have wrapped them in a napkin and put them in the same pocket or in his pants pocket. They would have been safe there.

But, as I said, I was young and stupid and I also did not have a clear head. What I had was two pills and a beer. So I put the pills in my mouth and washed them down with the remainder of that beer. Got up and staggered out of the bar.

That exit was hazardous. The bar was on the second floor of the building, the way in(and, therefore, the way out) was by those stairs. I managed to get down the stairs by leaning heavily against the wall as I went down. Once at the street level, I wobbled toward the diner next door.

Brightly lit (a bit too brightly, I thought) with a counter and stools and a few cheap formica covered tables, the diner served food but all I wanted was coffee. I sat at the counter, took my hat off, and placed it on the stool next to me. As I sat down, I became aware of the two Shore Patrolmen who had followed me in. Perhaps they saw me drifting to and fro and bouncing off the windows of the diner as I made my way there.

I ordered coffee. Black. Ignored the sugar. Lifted the cup to my lips and took a sip. And promptly turned and filled my hat with the contents of my stomach.

It was doubtless not a pretty sight.

As I sat up straight (or so I thought anyway), I noticed the two SPs had moved closer. Much closer. Right next to me. I put out my hands, as if to be handcuffed, and said... "you got me."

They took my arms, one to a side, and helped me to the door.

As they walked me toward the base gate at the end of town, we came upon a couple of sailors. They told the SPs they knew me, that they would get me back to my ship. The SPs released me to them and the two sailors helped me get to the gate... where they turned me loose to find my own way and they headed back to the bars.

I managed to get through the gate and to the "bus stop" where what we called "cattle cars*" would pick up sailors and take them to the docks. I climbed into one of the cattle cars and found two of my shipmates on their way back to the Bass. A good thing, too, because one of them ended up carrying me piggyback (while I made disparaging remarks to the a couple of Coast Guard sailors we came across) up to the pier where we were the third ship out and then across the two other ships to the Bass and then to my bunk. I don't remember anything after that because I slept for 24 hours straight.

I think puking my guts out in that diner just might have saved my life. Or prevented some brain damage. One never knows.

I never did find out who those two guys who rescued me from the SPs were.

* A "cattle car" was a semi tractor and trailer with a few poles and rails inside the trailer for us to hang onto.


Tom Sightings said...

Whew! Close call. We all had a few when we were young and stupid (is that redundant ... young and stupid?) Anyway, glad you made it!

Steven Scott said...

Welcome to Fear and Loathing in Olongapo. I'm your host, Douglas S Thompson. Today, we have a harrowing adventure in store for you...

FTell001 said...


Douglas4517 said...

Tom, why, yes, yes it is.

Steven, I can see you were not overly impressed.

Ftell, I am amazed I have two brain cells to rub together.

Steven Scott said...

I was just trying to make a joke...I enjoyed this post a lot! Would love to see more like it :)

Steven Scott said...

I'm blowing my cover here (or am I blowing your cover that not all of your commenters are strangers?), but I've been waiting for stories like this ever since my dad and I were playing Connect Four on your dining room table and you started to tell a story... "I remember getting drunk and playing this..." and got cut off by an evil glare. The story was then finished: "...don't you ever do that, though!"

Douglas4517 said...

I wonder what that story was? Probably something tame... but it would have been in a bar in Chicago.