Friday, June 20, 2008

Independence Day 1976

I have a client from the UK and we exchange emails back and forth revolving around business affairs. Time to time, we include little anecdotes of things going on, on both sides of the big pond.

Recently, he told me of a day he spent in London and how it had drained him and he would get with me the next day to discuss our business. I told him fine and responded with this little tale of a day I spent in London many years ago.


My first trip through London was back in the mid 70's as a young soldier on furlough from Germany. My buddy Jake and me were on a 30-day backpack jaunt across central Europe at the time. We found ourselves in a seedy little pub there and as is often the case with young soldiers, were a bit in our cups. It happened to be the 4th of July. Without thinking much about what I was saying (another common flaw in the character of young soldiers), I asked the barkeeper,

"So, what do you guys do around here to celebrate the 4th?"

Things got oddly quiet in the place as I awaited his reply.

The next thing I knew, I was reeling backwards as Jake dragged me to the door by my collar mumbling apologies to the crowd (some of whom who had taken to their feet and all of whom were rough looking customers) as we went. We hit the street and I followed his lead for a block or so in silence as we made our getaway. He snatched me by the arm and shoved me into a deserted doorway and spat out in a loud whisper,

"What the hell were you thinking back there? Asking about the 4th of July. It's a safe bet they don't celebrate that holiday much here in England, you idiot!"

Jake was a big red-headed farm boy from Minnesota who had about 3" on my 6' 3" frame and had me out weighed by 35-40 pounds. It just seemed my destiny to get a beating that day from somebody. Thinking fast I told him,

"Ahhhh, I see now why they were all out of sorts. That really just never occurred to me as I was asking it. Sorry, dude, I'll try to do better tomorrow."

I followed this with my best sheepish grin and a slurred wink.

It was good fortune for me I guess that Jake's nature was to cool off as quick as he angered and he broke out laughing at the whole thing. We started walking down the street again and I asked him,

"You got any money still? I saw another pub just up the street when we passed by earlier and it had lots more women in it than that other one anyway. Whatta ya, say? You up for it?"

And the rest is another story for another day. lol

(Disclaimer: No American soldiers or citizens of the Crown were injured during the events leading up to this tale.)

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