Are You From Arkansas?

I have NO idea why this memory came back to me tonight, but for some strange reason this short memory has invaded my brain and made me laugh again.

If we go back about 46 years ago, I was probably just a few days into my Navy boot camp experience. Every day, the rag tag bunch of guys in my company would march to the chow hall for our meals 3 times a day. The line was long since there were about 60 guys in our company initially and every thing was done in an orderly way…kinda.

We’d grab our metal tray and some eating utensils and then slowly go down the chow line as they slopped the food into the partitions on our trays. The great thing was that in the chow hall we could talk without getting in trouble. Everybody was asking where everyone else was from and at some point someone in line asked me where did I come from. I told the guy I was Arkansas. About that time, a guy that was one of the servers (usually a recruit that was in the 4th or 5th week of boot camp) yelled out to me in a really excited way and said, “Hey man, did you say you’re from Arkansas?” I said yeah man, I’m from Arkansas, and again very excitedly he said, “No REALLY are you from Arkansas?” Admittedly he even get me excited and I said, “YEAH MAN, I REALLY AM FROM ARKANSAS, so what part of Arkansas are you from?” He gets very composed and quieter and says, “no man I’m not from Arkansas…I’m Cincinnati!” I was embarrassed and felt like a fool because it happened in this line with 60 guys in it…and I fell for it.

So this became my first lesson in Navy bullshit and my boot camp initiation. It was just another way the sailors would mess with you…unfortunately, it wasn’t the last time though.

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