Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

07 January 2006

Tales From My Side, Vol. I

We've all had moments in our past were we have been embarrassed, or done stupid things, or been in situations where we wished we were someplace else. We've all been there, and years after the fact many times they turn into great great stories, even if laughs are had at your own expense. My man B-Shan has posted a couple of blogs of this nature here http://billherb.blogspot.com/ . The rest of the material he posts is just plagiarized, so skip those stories. They suck anyway.

To start, I'll share two instances that overlap. December 14th, 1995 I entered the Air Force's Basic Military Training (BMT). Back then, email was still in its infancy and even so, its not like the Training Instructors are going to give us PC's to go with our bunks. Anyway, when time permitted, we all wrote letters. One of my letters went to Bill. Over the next 7 weeks, we exchanged a few letters and Bill was kind enough to send me not 1, not 2, but 3 mix tapes contained with some of the finest rap music of the time. Again, never mind the fact that all packages we received were opened by our T. I. (Training Instructor), and never mind the fact that we had no radios, were not permitted to have or listen to music that was sent to us and what not. Mail call was a big deal in Basic. It was the only outlet we had to the civilian world. To our friends, family, etc. At mail call, the entire Flight would gather in the Day Room. 55 guys or so piling into a room (and while that may not sound too pleasant for you, its what Bill calls Saturday Night), with our T.I. sitting at a table handing out the mail. Every time Bill who was using his Captain Canuck identity back then sent me a tape, I was called to the front of the room, in front of the Flight so my T.I. could open the package. There were two notable exchanges I had with my T.I. over tapes sent to me by Mr. Shannon. The 2nd tape is the big one, but let me discuss what happened with the third tape I received first. MSgt. Rodrigue called me to the front as I had a package. He opens it up and we have the following exchange...

MSgt. Rodrigue: "Airman Cialini, you have another tape. Doesn't this guy know you can't listen to these while you are in BMT?"
Airman Cialini: "Sir, my friend doesn't know a lot of stuff, so its quite possible he hasn't picked up in the letters I have sent him that I cannot listen to the tapes he sends me here in BMT. Nobody ever accused him of being the sharpest knife in the drawer."

MSgt. Rodrigue cracked a smile for approximately 1 millisecond then went back to the menacing growl he usually had, that we were all afraid of and proceeded to yell at me. He told me I might not ever get out of Basic and get a chance to listen to the tapes. I knew I was getting yelled at because of my comment, and I found that funny. I almost laughed, but I held me bearing.

The second tape however, was different. I still have a sore spot where I had my ass chewed. As I was standing in front of the Flight at parade rest, MSgt. Rodrigue opened the package Bill sent me and proceeded to give me the usual crap about receiving a tape, then it happened. MSgt. Rodrigue started to read the song titles and right there, Side A - Song 1, titled "Communism". Perfect, the Cold War might be over, but in the military, Communism will always be a tool to help instil Esprie De Corp. MSgt. Rodrigue started to fly off the handle. I snapped to attention as he accused me of a myriad of things including being a Communist, being someone who was out to destroy the country he had spent a lifetime serving and fighting for, being someone who was pissing on the memories of all those that served before me and several other things. At some point, I tuned him out as I daydreamed of dropping a payback beat down on my good buddy back in New York. When it was all over, I had trouble sitting down for quite sometime. I still get chill up my spine every time I see or hear Common's "Communism". Looking back on it now, its funny, and for anyone with Military experience, its one of those stories we LOVE to share, our tales from Basic, or time on TDY, or in the field. Once I graduated Basic, on the day we had a town pass, I went into San Antonio and bought a nice new walkman and enjoyed the tapes B-Shan hooked me up with. I still have those tapes now and listen to them regularly. For the cost my ass had to pay for those 3 tapes, trust me I will be enjoying them for years to come. Thanks B...I think!

Further tales of Mail Call. Its not like I didn't have enough problems with Bill sending me tapes, in the 4th week of training, an Airman was washed back into my Flight. His name was Airman Sweeney. When you say his name, and my name (pronounced Sa-lean-ie) they sound very similar. So much so that MSgt. Rodrigue used this to screw me Sweeney and myself. At mail call, he always did his best to make my last name sound like "Sweeney" so that when I didn't answer, he would jump all over me about not knowing my name. Whenever he would call Sweeney's name, sure enough it sounded like "Cialini". I would get blasted for answering when he wasn't "calling" my name. In all of this, somehow Sweeney never got the ass chewing I got. It could be one of those "things", but I'm convinced MSgt. Rodrigue just liked screwing with me. In hindsight, it's just one of those funny things now and it makes for good story telling...unless your boring or have no sense of humor...hey, not everyone's perfect.

Even those these events made the once great Mail Call a living hell for me, they have given me a lot of material for story telling and BSing. Oh, and 10 years later, I am still crafting a revenge plot against Bill for that "Communism" incident...but don't tell him!


  • At 9:52 AM, Blogger Mark said…

    Oooooh! The menacing Air Force drill instructor!

  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger 'Don' Cialini said…

    The Air Force doesn't have Drill Instructors. Perhaps when you have a job that emcompasses more than waking up at 3pm to post on the internet and drink beer at night you can talk to me.

  • At 5:39 PM, Blogger Bill said…

    Whoops! My bad, dawg.


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