Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Do Not Turn Around

You have to have a sense of humor on the road that to others may seem totally silly, and as I look back at the time in Iraq with Ollie North and Producer Andy Stenner. Perhaps nothing more summed up a day when we were scheduled to leave the final air base in TQ.

TQ is a massive airbase that handles logistics and just moves lots of stuff; it is like a parking lot for planes and other things. Like the remnants of Saddam Hussein’s Air Force, old relics from the sixties that may have last seen action in the Iran Iraq war in the early 1980’s.

These old planes had been virtually buried in the sand and after the US forces found them they dug them up and have put them on display. According to local legend a high level Iraqi Military Staffer with pips on his shoulders demanded to be shown the planes so as to assess whether they could be put back into service.

Well if the Iraqi Catering Battle Combat Forces ever need drainers and colanders for cooking. Then these relics will serve a purpose.

Andy in the role of being the team’s “turp” (Interpreter) tried to explain in flowing language to Ollie that these were in fact fine combat machines that would surely interest any Super Military Power.

This small story has no bearing to the title of this entry, because it was only we came back from inspecting these old relics of the sky.

Ollie was walking thru a narrow walkway to the car park next to his room. When I noticed that strung above us was a string of washing lines with pegs on them.

“Ollie Don’t turn around, but for a dollar how many clothes pegs are on the lines you just walked under? for a dollar”

Pause deep thought response “67, how many do you think there are?”

Without a blink I guessed 32.

Ollie counted them and believe it or not, there were exactly 32 and no I had not counted them. He paid the dollar on the spot, claiming that he was set up and I had previously counted them.

On a stack of bibles I swear I had not counted them, it was just a lucky guess.

These are some of the moments that make trips when we relax and just enjoy the time together as a team on location. And I was a dollar richer.


Anonymous said...

Did the Colonel buy it, Mal? Surely Andy did jest. Humm even a turp with a sense of humor. You know...when you make those lucky guesses people look at you like a god for awhile. Feels good doesn't it. Did he pay in good old dollar or in pongs? It proves you are good at making fast estimates and decisions. Must be all those camera adjustments you have to make in the field.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, definitely 32"...Thanks Rainman. You are funny Mr. James.
Good blog. I Enjoy your writing.