May Day

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Posted by panch from ( on Sunday, July 07, 2002 at 4:46PM :

I was explaining to someone where we got "May Day" an emergency call, not the holiday. It's from the French, "mai aidee"...or some such barbarous spelling. It means "help me". From that we got the English May Day! Love language....that's why I hate this "terrism" bullshit.

Eschew Obfuscation ya damn Shrub of a nit!

I remember the last Island I took jubilent delinquents to...Angel island, of all places. 20 miles off of Anacortes above Seattle in the Straits of San Juan de Fuca (fooka...FOOKA!). It was inherited by a little old couple who'd never seen it and didn't know what to do with it. We received permission, sort of, and landed there in a storm in January...dumb move from the start...out there you might as well be a 1000 miles at sea.

I was given a two way radio and a moniker or calling code..a string of numbers and letters like you hear in movies when you're a kid and can't wait to grow up and find someone with a broken neck so you can call on a radio for help..."This is WRY5764-bonehead...come is mothership,,,over and out and Roger too".

I really wasn't hoping anyone got killed just so I could play out a childhood fantasy,,,Mildred Kramer was the last one. Little did I know that I'd be up to my eyeballs in emergencies and sea water, the first night.

It was raining hard all dark early, real early. The wind was howling ( that's what wind does in all these sorts of situations) was a small island, felt like being on a ship at sea only it didn't move. Waves were crashing against the mostly rocky cliffs. I'd set up camp away from my three little murderers who were out somewhere smoking weed...three big Black kids from the inner city the State was only too glad to send to a deserted island with this dumb cluck...get rid of all of us...pain in the ass do-gooder and his three dwarfs.

Somewhere through the wind screaming around the tree tops I heard a faint voice saying..."where the FUCK you at???" One of the kids was trying to avoid being eviscerated on tree branches as he crashed through the pitch black night to find me. I heard an "OW" every few steps. Anyway, don't ask how but I wound up half running half falling down a sheer cliff face I only noticed later had no way back up, to where another kid had fallen. I also noticed there was seaweed growing along the cliff as I shot past...not a good sign when I also discovered, too late, that we were hemmed in by rocks and mountain high waves...and the friggin tide was coming up, and fast too as the wind pushed the waves up closer to where we didn't want to be.

I pulled the kid back away from the surf...him screaming that his leg was broken (it wasn't). The two kids up topside finally heard me cal for the radio. Another hour seemed to go by as they made their way to my tent ,in the absolute dark ,and back again...they weren't high any more.

I have always admired my lack of cool as I heard the radio crackle to life and my long awaited childhood fantasy about to be realized...and I could actually give my call letters...then the May Day...I was ready!

Only I forgot my call letters forgot where we were, forgot my name...I just yelled, "Get Me The Fuck Off This Island!!!" It was inelegant...but it worked, which should be the last word in these sorts of siotuations. After a few more howls like that a startled voice from somewhere at the other end of Canada was easy for him, the bastard, sitting there in his home drinking tea, to give his letters and ask for mine. But i was past trifling with... I just yelled at him again to get me the fuck out of, "come In" thought to a "wilko and out"....couldn't even remember who Roger was....just get me outta here. I even forgot to say May Day...but I meant it every bit as much.

He called a number I gave him and two hours later, with our backs about as much to a wall as I ever hope to be...Captain Buzz, that was his name, showed up and we were pulled out of there...that's a whole other story.

-- panch
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