The Curse of those Two Green Doo Wah Diddy Ribbons, II
Damn! But they could talk up a storm, those Bright Boys from the Southwest Conference, the Big Ten, the Awesome Eleven and the Dyn-o-mite Twelve. Or from the whoever.
Their lives were like this: whenever we'd be sitting outside the Marine Corps Recruit Depot quonset huts, using our upturned galvanized buckets for seats during that time of the southern California evening known as "Commanders' Time," the Bright Boys of the Summer of Sixty-six would be going at it hammer and tongs, while the rest of us minded our places in life and kept our mouths more or less shut.
In fact, as a rule, most of us kept our relationships with fellow Marine recruits within the bounds of our respective platoons. Not so the Bright Boys.
For example, the evening's stillness might be broken suddenly 'way down line by an exuberant grunt, followed in turn by an outpouring of sheer raw eloquence and passion.
"Hey, Brother! Yeah, YOU! 'Way up there in Ten Twenty Five! That's right, YOU! Correct me if I'm wrong! But Brother, were you not the Master of the Forty Aardvarks? You know what I mean!"
The brother in question stirs lazily and pretends to ponder, while glancing at his counterpart down line, with a slantwise questioning look, as though to say, "And....?"
But, naturally, this doesn't faze number one an iota, as he carries on.
"Brother! You surely know what I mean! We were both at the Third Annual Let's All Run Ape Doo-doo Through the Streets Peace, Love, Wine and Beer Bust! Right? The last big event during the Pan Hellenic Spring Festival! O.K.? A few months back at the Ann Arbor -- or was it the Lansing, or Detroit or who knows? -- U. of M. campus! Remember?"
After a breath-taking moment of suspense, the brother so recognized at last nods gravely. Now it is his turn. He rises to his feet, majestic in his shower shoes and green utility trousers, strikes the College Man's Stance in such a way as to provoke the bad case of the Green-eyed Monster in the rest of us seventy to eighty-percenters, and then with all the blustering pomp of a bellowing Cicero declaims:
"NO! I can't believe my eyes! Tell me, Brother! Is it not you, the legendary Joe Spumoni? The Number One Frat Brother from Dis Mo Sy? The Party People? Likewise from the Lansing -- or was it the Ann Arbor, or Detroit, or who knows -- U. of M. campus?"
Another suspenseful moment passes until Brother Joe Spumoni gets up from his overturned galvanized bucket and makes a solemn bow in confirmation. Only now it is his turn, once again.
"Brother so and so, Master of the Forty Aardvarks, do you recall what happened when the driver of the lead Roman chariot lost control in the last lap of the Big Pan Hellenic Race? And let his thirty Mexican burros from UT El Paso plow all through your forty Aardvarks, on loan from the Detroit Zoo? You do? Like, wow! Then dig this! It was I, Fraternity Brother Joe Spumoni, who was the Authentic Roman Legionary -- or whatever the ancient Romans may have called an inebriated chariot jockey of such proven Aardvark-plowing ability -- driving that very same chariot!"
After this would come another period of comparative silence. The silence of a warm, glowing, sharing-kind of mutual narcism, shared memories of the Halls of Higher Learning and the shared high points of recent academic and social achievement.
Then these latest two examples of the Bright Boys of the Summer of Sixty-six would sit down again and we would all carry on, although by now fairly green with envy, cleaning our M-14 rifles, shining our brass, or whatever.
END PART II