Inspired by podcasts such as WTF with Marc Maron, You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes, and The Nerdist Podcast, Cutting It Close with Cliff Bailey is a conversational interview podcast in which he talks with folks from all walks of life. Filmmakers, military veterans, family, whomever, as Cliff believes everyone has a story to tell and everyone can benefit from hearing those stories.
THE SUPERSONIC MUSIC HOUR
Music is life. The Supersonic Music Hour is an hour (give or take) that is fun, awesome, compelling, and tells a story through the musical form.
So, having decided on the Navy, I started googling around, trying to find the nearest recruiting center. One morning on the way into work I decided to try and find it, just for my information.
The building was remarkably nondescript.
There was a sign, way up on the wall, near the roof that simply said, “ARMED SERVICES RECRUITING”. I parked, walked up to the door and there was a sign that read something to the effect of, “Sorry, sucker, we’ve moved.” And the address was listed below. I checked that out on my awesome Palm Pilot phone and saw it was just down the street. In fact, I had passed it many times during my commute.
So, I got back in my car and rolled back the way I had come and found the office. This one had a sign saying, “MILITARY RECRUITMENT” or something like that. I parked, got out, walked up – this sign simply detailed the hours of operation. There were also inspirational, G.I. Joe kinds of posters and cardboard cutouts of elite, awesomesauce, badass warriors of the modern age, like some amped dudes from a Michael Bay film.
I checked my watch; ten minutes to zip over the freeway and into a spot and to hopefully clock in not too late.
I looked at the hours of operation again.
I stepped inside.
The hallway had signs for all the services: Marines on the left, Air Force in the back, Army on the right in the back, and Navy on the right in the front.
I didn’t even think, I just walked in. Three or four gentlemen, about my age (certainly in better shape than I was), dressed in their service uniforms looked at me and whatever conversation had been going on suddenly stopped.
Today is kind of amazing. We all have amazing days every now and again, right? Well, when three apparently unrelated things converge in circumstance and timing I think that’s noteworthy; blogworthy, even.
So here we go:
On this day, in 1985, when I was just a “kindy-gahdnah”, the Nintendo Entertainment System was released. The Nintendo, or NES, changed everything for me. Up to that point I was well aware of cartoons, movies, TV shows, and sitting in front of the magic box was a passive, though still mostly enjoyable affair (except when mom made us watch old movies, though now I’ve come to appreciate most of them as an aspiring film buff).
The NES made it an active – an interactive – affair. The imagery was in some ways crude at first in comparison to what the Disney artists could produce, but it was effective. The animations of Super Mario, Kid Icarus, Samus Aran, and Mega Man were simple to follow and understand. With a few defining characteristics, the economy of design allows for more empathy and a deeper connection to the character as your avatar in the rich simplicity of the 8-bit worlds.
And though the aesthetic didn’t allow for intricate details, the environments, dungeons, locations were intricately designed – not too difficult in most cases (I’m glaring at you, Ninja Gaiden), but challenging and rewarding enough to keep you pressing start to continue, to write down the passwords, to even draw your own maps and have your parents plunk down some money for a subscription to Nintendo Power.
Those early games are foundational to the cultivation of my imagination as well as logical thinking. Games such as The Legend of Zelda are chock-full of puzzles and mazes, challenging you to guide Link through the dungeons of Hyrule in a quest to defeat the evil pig demon, Ganon, rescue Princess Zelda, and restore the mystical Triforce, returning peace to the land.
I credit NES games for the formation of my reasoning skills, hand-eye coordination, ability to navigate maps, and deepening of my imagination.
Today I sign and may just receive my DD214. That’s the official form releasing a brother (or sister) from his (or her) contractual commitment to active duty in the United States military.
Over in the Anchors Aweigh series I’m chronicling my journey into the Navy and all the adventures wrought by it, and it’s been nothing short of amazing with no deficit of significant challenges. Halloween marks my official last day as a sailor, though after this I’m effectively done anyway, and a whole host of new adventures and challenges await.
I’m a daddy now! Some days are awesome, some days are rough. I’m reentering civilian life and student life, taking classes in a digital filmmaking major at UH. Some assignments are great, some assignments are grating. I’m an entrepreneur! I have book cookin’ on slow burn!
And…oh my gosh…I’m so FREE!! It’s kind of a surreal feeling, going through this process. Anyway, moving on…
I finally got my final evaluation. Basically, in the Navy, you write your own eval and then your Naval superiors chop it and polish it. Mine took a little longer than usual, but I guess since it’s the last they’ll ever do for Petty Office Bailey they wanted to be sure it’d be good; and it was.
So I look it over and, huh, wow, they definitely sailorized it, and they definitely made me look pretty good, so that’s cool. I’m not into self-promotion that much, but what they did will probably be helpful in the future at some point.
And then I get to the final word – it ends a sentence talking about breeding success and what not and the word is: enviroment. Enviroment.
Now, I don’t point this out out of any motive of spite or ridicule – shoot, it was so long ago I submitted it, it may have been I who wrote it. Regardless, I only bring this up because of the poignant meaning this has in my life.
When I was in third grade I made it to the county-wide level spelling bee. I was nervous at first, but soon I was rocking it, watching with delight as my peers fell to such simple words. But, alas, how hard the high and mighty fall.
I misspelled environment. And that has stuck with me to this day, 28 years later.
I spelled it: e-n-v-i-r-o-m-e-n-t.
It’s as is those scurvy sons of gunner mates did some digging into my past to remind me of that bitter taste of failure as I embark on my new quest into civilianhood to help me keep it real.
And yet, the lesson I learned that fateful day in 1988 was to pay attention to detail. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what the chiefs want me to remember as I do indeed embark on this new quest: pay attention to detail.
That’s why I keep a Satanic pitchfork in my office: to remind me that the devil’s in the details.
Then again, excepting the rule of coincidence (there is no coincidence as far as I’m concerned), I’m 99.9999999999999% sure there’s no connection whatsoever.
P.S. Didn’t get the DD214 today. Final signer was in a meeting so I get it on HUMP DAY. BONUS!
This used to be about The Bailey Adventure and in the neverending quest to better myself and sharpen my skills, I’ve decided to stop hiding behind anything else and just put myself out there. So, no more Bailey Adventure (though I am still a Bailey and this is most assuredly still an adventure); it’s just me.