Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Pineapple Express

For a couple of Cold War years in the early 1980’s, I was an inspector on an Air Force team stationed at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, right next to Pearl Harbor. We would drop in unannounced on a base in Japan, Korea, and The Philippines and basically say, World War III just started, show us how well you do your job.

One of the inspectors was a black Major. I’ll call him Robert. That was his name, so why not. I can't remember his last name. If he ever reads this, he'll bless my poor memory for names. He and I were about the same age, size, temperament – I was smarter and better looking, of course. Although I was only a Captain, I was older because of my six years enlisted service before commissioning.

On our trips, my buddy always brought along a box of ripe Hawaiian pineapples. My curiosity soon got the better of me, and I asked why the pineapples? “Asian women love them,” he said, “They’ll do anything for one.”


“Anything. Just bring the book, point at the picture, and they’ll do it.”

Like I said, he and I were a lot alike, and my head was filled with a hot rush of images that could be blamed on the power of a ripe pineapple.

It dawned on me why some of the guys called the round-robin resupply flight from Hickam to Korea and Japan the Pineapple Express.

Pineapples were wasted on The Philippines. Kleenex and toilet paper from the Commissary were like gold. Most of the guys in The Philippines had a “ninety-pound rice cooker.”

I, of course, did not do these things, although, like Jimmy Carter and traditional Catholics, I committed most grievous sins against my marriage vows in my head.

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