The Way It Was ...
by Joe Morgan


The Pink Belt ...

Everytime I see one of those oriental-type movies with the hero flailing the air and heads with his stiffened hands ... all the while kicking the h--- out of about twenty villains around him, the blood courses to my head and my very latent killer instincts are aroused. I never missed a week of Kung-Fu when it was one.

Next to screeching bagpipes these flicks turn those instincts on the most.

Can't help but remember though when I was first personally introduced to the martial arts. The only blood that coursed then was from my nose.

The locale was St. Mary's Pre-Flight School back in '42. Part of their program to hone our soft bodies into razor-sharp warriors was to introduce and instruct us in hand-to-hand combat. The word Karate was then unknown and a few hardy souls who could spell sometimes used the term "jujitsu."

We were assured by a 280-pound Neanderthal, our instructor, that all that fancy stuff was for the birds. He told us that when they finished with us we could defend ourselves against the foe, kill him with a single blow ... and our relative size was of no consequence. It was all a matter of leverage. Heady stuff.

Well, apparently I missed something in the translation. Try as I might, the "foe" always flipped me on my head. It became pretty nip and tuck which would come first ... the end of the week or my demise. Black and blue, red-nosed, I had to face the fact that the best I could ever opt for was a "pink" belt.

Needless to say, I never tried to use any of these tricks and if I'd ever met a foe, face to face, I had decided to try to talk him to death. This is something for which I am much more eminently qualified.

Watching my stepsons jumping around, striking a Karate stance and screaming "Arrrah" at the top of their lungs, I can't help but remember a favorite joke.

A meek type, like myself, was confronted by a ferocious gent, posturing, flailing the air and shouting "KARATE!" He quickly went to his car trunk, removed an object and returned. Striking a belligerent pose he shouted, "Tire Iron!"

I think I relate to that. If I fooled around with that jujitsu stuff I'd probably get killed with my own hand ... detached, of course.

The "Instant" Officer's Club
The Gourmet ...
Hair -- as worm by the old publisher
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