Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I was going to title this "Man me once..." but that just sounds dirty

Admiral Farragut is now my buddy for life.

I don't retain facts, even when I try. My emotional memory, or whatever you might call it, however, it spectacular.

Not useful. But very strong.

When something really gets me, I remember it forever. I can still recite 16th century French poetry from classes a lifetime ago. I remember clothing and smells and the look on a face and the tone of a voice from years and years past.

When I'm looking for a passage, I know the location of text on a page, although I might not get the name of the book right.

But give me facts and dates and I am all uh-huhzzzzzzzz. I’ll be left with some vague recollection, but more like how you sweat liquor the day after a long night of drinking.

It’s there, but it’s pretty far from its original form.

So Betty called last night while I was in the shower. She’d gotten lost in the dark on the way to our house. She pulled over somewhere on Connecticut.

Nick said, “What do you see?”

“A CVS.”

“Hm. What else do you see?”

“A dry cleaner.”

As Nick was telling me this (once Betty was safe and sound at our house) I said, “This is so much like when you overhear tourists on cell phones here, and they’re all, ‘I’m at a square. The one with the guy on the horse.’”

(If you don’t live in DC, let me tell you: They all have guys on horses. And tourists say this kind of thing all the time.)

Nick replied, “It wouldn’t be a square. It would be a circle.”

“There are squares. That one near the White House.”

“You’re right – Farragut! But he’s not on a horse.”

“He’s not? I've walked through there a million times. Of course he is."

"He's really not."

This makes me indignant on his behalf. "Isn’t he a big name? He should have a horse. It’s only fair!”

“Except that he was an admiral.”

Long pause for insane laughter. In other circumstances, I'd be embarrassed, but he knows who he married.

“Ahhhh. Not so much on the horses?”

“Not so much on the horses.”

“Admiral Farragut! That’s right! Man the torpedoes!”

“Close. You man them once, you’ll never do it again.”


  1. I think it might be arm the torpedoes? Which makes about as much sense, if you ask me. I'd totally be drawing a diagram of a torpedo with arms attached. Anyway.

    I'm glad Betty made it!

  2. LOL! First - poor Betty!
    And that line, not that I can recite it, but that Admiral Farrugut line of ...the torpedoes, full steam ahead is featured in one of my favorite old movies. It's set in D.C. during WWII and it's called The More the Merrier.
    Now you will be forever linked with Adm. F and that movie in my head.

  3. Not MAN the torpedoes, "DAMN the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

  4. Dagny - Apparently it's "Damn the torpedoes..." There's no manning of torpedoes, it turns out.

    Yes, phew!

    Lisa - I've never been interested in American history, so I've never really paid attention but it is one of those famous lines...

    Malnurtured Snay - Exactly. I was close. Nick got a good laugh out of all of it.

  5. Couldn't they have mounted the guy on a torpedo? Like he's surfing? Like he damned them, then jumped on one and was steering them back to the Confederates or something? The Torpedo Surfing Admiral.

  6. Yes! Like that guy at the end of Dr. Strangelove!!

  7. Hilarious! I love this story, and that Betty made it safe and sound. I hope I'm not a lost DC tourist next month! My sister gets lost driving to her own house alot, so she calls her friend who lives in another state who knows the area better. "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the war room." from Dr. SL is one of my favorite movie quotes

  8. If only I could find a girl like Nick!

  9. HKW - Even if you do, I'll only laugh at you a little! :) Can't wait to meet you in person!

    K dog - What a nice thing to say! I wish you luck - he's fun!

  10. Slim Pickins, on the nuke in Dr. SL--also one of my favorite movies. Col Batguano is one of my favorite names for a character.

  11. I have not seen the movie so "Man the torpedos" made more sense to me. LOL. I guess that's kind of sad.

  12. Interesting historical note: When Faragut uttered his famous words, torpedos were more of what we would call a mine today. He was actually sailing his fleet through a minefield. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

  13. That makes sense: I was trying to figure out how they'd propel them back then ... steam powered missiles in the water just didn't seem right.


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