I was sitting in a pre-pre-departure briefing (that’s the briefing I have to attend just before the pre-departure briefing which I have before I depart) a couple of days ago in preparation to dispatch out to the field (pull alert). My squadron commander was in the room giving us sound pieces of advice when his phone rang. He promptly answered it, and to pass the time, the rest of us began quiet chit-chat about what alert had in store for us and gave each other a hard time about anything that came to mind (one of a missileer’s primary duties is to find creative new ways to poke fun at fellow missileers).
My squadron commander was only on the phone a couple of minutes when, in closing, I overheard him say, “I’ll send him home now.” I didn’t think much of this comment until he turned to me and said, “Dan, go home.” Now, a squadron commander doesn’t just turn to a missileer going on alert that day and tell him or her to go home unless something dire has happened, such as noticing in passing that the person has developed a sudden case of profuse bleeding from all major arteries in the body and there aren’t enough tourniquets at hand to stem the flow at least until they can get back from alert. Since I felt altogether rather well that particular morning, I was a bit stunned by what my commander had just said, and responded, “ah…yes sir.” Was I in some kind of major trouble? Was I getting kicked out of the Air Force? Obviously this was connected to the phone call – had someone discovered my deepest darkest secret that was so well hidden I didn’t even know about it, and had just now tipped off the authorities?
By this time my squadron commander felt it appropriate to expound on his reasoning (and you thought dramatic pauses only happen in the movies). In a rather monotone voice, he said, “It’s something about your wife and breathing. If she isn’t at home, look for the ambulance.” Oh. Okay. So, no blood? That’s good I guess. Well, off I go then – good bye folks. I’m off to see whether or not my wife is dead. You all have a good day now.
To make a long story short, when I arrived at home and parked a safe distance from the police car, ambulance, and rescue fire truck (all with lights flashing); I learned that, although she had eaten it many times before, my wife had apparently developed a sudden and severe allergy to kiwi; which upon ingestion attempted to close her airway and finish her off as a parting gift for being so rudely peeled, sliced, and munched. After a few injections, some oxygen, and an ambulance ride to the ER, I was assured that she would be fine so long as she didn’t bother the little green fruit again.
Now I just have to deal with my coworkers who kid me about having their wives call 911 so they too can get out of alert.