Over time, I have shared multiple stories about how mother handled me in the past…most instances involved some sort of nakedness and me getting laughed at…this episode remains true to form and does not deviate at all except for the addition of M.C. Hammer. In 2000, I joined the world’s finest Navy out of Montgomery, AL. It was a proud day for my family and I, made even more profound (to me) since it was my father’s birthday. Now I can’t speak on other branches of the military but for processing into the Navy, you had to go through a facility called MEPS. While at MEPS, they put your through vigorous tests…both mental and physical. This story is involving a portion of the physical aspect. The night before going to MEPS, all of the new recruits were put up in a hotel and were not allowed to leave the premises. We played cards, talked and ended the evening playing basketball on a warm, humid Alabama summer night. Earlier in the day I was running around super busy and asked my mother to pack a bag for my stay. I just needed a few items…socks, t-shirt, underwear and deodorant. My first mistake was to assume that she loved me and had my best interest in mind…I was wrong on both assumptions and she habitually reinforced that. Why didn’t I check the bag? How could it go wrong? BRIEF NOTE: Hammer Time – Now my mother was a huge M.C. Hammer fan, especially after the “Pumps and a Bump” video. She made my dad wear the same type of leopard and lion print speedos he donned in the video for years and I was RELENTLESS with my abuse about it. Every time I washed his cloths, I would fold them up and tuck them away in my mother’s underwear drawer. He would ask, “has anyone seen my underwear?”….and like clock work, I would respond “Oh, I thought they were moms” (straight faced)…infuriating him EVERY TIME.
Back to MEPS: I get up the next morning bright and early for a shave and shower before they usher all of the recruits to MEPS. I reach in my bag and pull out and unopened pack of underwear, completely oblivious to what lies ahead of me. After ripping the plastic open and pulling out a pair…………….I drop everything in my hands, slow motion, cinematic style. NO. THE. #$%&. SHE. DID’NT. I am now looking down on the floor at a zebra, lion, cheetah and leopard print bikini briefs. I run over to check the condition of the draws I had on last night but they were still soaking wet with perspiration. I literally sat on the bed contemplating for about 30 minutes, not joining the military…just so I wouldn’t have to wear these draws. I talk myself into it, put on the lion print and was able to convenience myself no one will ever know. WRONG.
Back to the basketball game the night before: Any and everyone who knows me will tell you, I am a competitor and will trash talk with the best of them. I got into a brief skirmish with another recruit, Jason Weaver. We went back and forth talking bad about each other during the game, after the game and even later into the evening. Fast forward to MEPS. We are called into a room, about 15 of us and told to line up. They give us simple tasks like standing straight up and holding your arms out in front of you. Then the instructor says, “now everyone, please strip down to your underwear”. The look of shock and disbelief on my face was evident as I had to be told twice. I slowly stripped down to what some might refer to as “panties”. There was a faint growl, then a monkey sound from somewhere, followed by someone quietly singing the “Lion King” theme.
I was referred to as Mufasa for the rest of the week and in boot camp and Jason Weaver still emails me from time to time to remind me about it.
No “LOL” attached.