Friday, September 5, 2014


I never saw myself retiring from the Air Force, and I damned sure never imagined Perry doing it either. The guy currently drawing a retirement paycheck from the U.S. Government is the same guy that stood up in Arnold Hall circa 1994 and asked if it was O.K. to have both his nipples pierced.

Arnold Hall is a 3,000 seat venue used for many things including world class concerts, shows and events for cadets and the public at large.  For the general public it's a terrific place to see an intimate show.  For cadets it's a place to A.) get yelled at  B.) fall asleep or C.) both.

As basic cadets we flooded the theater in a giant horde at the end of each day to be told we sucked ass that day or we were doing great.  Inevitably it turned into a pep rally with us waving our caps and shouting "Keep The Pride '95".  This scenario was great for getting things off your chest in a passive aggressive way by shouting subversive things like "you're a douche" or "lick my b*lls" at the cadre.  They couldn't hear us, we looked enthusiastic, so it didn't matter.  We felt better, though.  In the end we didn't care what they said, we looked at it as a way to try and nod off for a few blissful moments.

As upperclassmen, Arnold Hall represented hours and hours of torture in the form of briefings.  The speakers might range from a 4 star general to the Cadet Wing Commander covering any array of topics pertinent to the Air Force.  It was during one of these cadet briefings that Perry had his shining moment.

Out in front of the Irish Bank

In 1994 tattoos and piercings were much less common than they are today and the regulations were somewhat unclear on what was allowed.  Perry came back to the dorms one weekend with both nipples pierced and was unclear on whether he had violated regulations.  Like any good rule follower, Perry stood up in Arnold Hall in front of the entire class of 1995 and asked "theoretically" if it was OK to have dual nipple piercings.   In perfect cadet fashion the Wing Commander responded, "Maybe you shouldn't be here".  This response is the reason we liked to shout "You're a douche" as basic cadets.  Hilarious, douchey cadet, but you didn't answer the question.  Perry had the last laugh, however.

P-Mac telling his story at Vesuvio cafe a haven for beat poets back in the day including Jack Kerouac

Fast forward about 20 years to present day San Francisco and I get a message from Perry telling me he's attending the San Francisco Academy Of Art on the G.I. Bill.   I'm pretty sure he's kidding so we agree to meet up in SF and hang out.  We sit down and go over the details over a few beers and it turns out he's not lying about the G.I. Bill.  In an effort to recruit and maintain personnel after 9/11, the government beefed up the G.I. Bill as an incentive.  As a result,  Perry's tuition is fully paid and he is getting a substantial living expense (in addition to his retirement pay).  I think it might be the greatest legal scam I've ever heard of.   He got over, and I love it.   It helps me with the chip on my shoulder that was put there 25 years ago by a senatorial panel that said I wasn't "Academy material".   In honor of Perry's achievement I sit here at my desk, gold trucker hat in hand, gently swaying, and chant "You're a douche" to all those who told us we wouldn't make it or shouldn't have been there.

Our waiter at Original Joe's.  I highly recommend the burgers at this place.

Earl Thomas at Biscuits and Blues. I've never seen a bad show here.  World class musicians at a small venue.

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