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‘To Canada! Oh, Canada! I’d have crossed the border in a rush’

Did I tell you about the bomb on the ship? Yes, we had a bomb on the USS America. A big bomb on a big aircraft carrier. And we kept that bomb carefully hidden, we thought.

Although I didn’t play a part in hiding it, I inadvertently played a part in it being discovered. I don’t think anything bad came of it, though; it was just discovered by a high school kid. But I didn’t report him. I didn’t go to the captain or the exec or even the master at arms and tell on the kid.

“Hey, that kid over there found the big bomb.”

Here’s what happened:

The USS America, CVA-66 (CVA stands for attack carrier) was anchored off Beirut and because I was in the Public Affairs Office I got to sometimes lead tours of the ship, and one day I was leading around a group of teenagers from the American University of Beirut and eventually we made it to the flight deck and I was pointing out various airplanes about which I knew nothing except the names of some of them – like the F-4 Phantom – and one kid pointed to a plane in a roped off area and said:

“What’s that?”

And all-knowing I said, “That’s a Skyhawk.”

The kid said, “Yes, but what’s that attached to it?”

I said, “Where?”

He said, “Underneath.”

I said, “Nothing. Just something wrapped in brown paper.”

The kid said, “That’s the bomb, isn’t it.”

I said, “What bomb?”

He said, “THE bomb.”

I said, “You gotta be kidding. It’s wrapped in brown paper. Who raps THE bomb in brown paper?”

The kid said, “I think you people do.”

And which point I led the group to the other end of the ship all the time the kid chirping about THE bomb in the brown paper bag.

And it was the bomb. THE bomb. We might have had more but that was the one we kept on a Skyhawk on the flight deck in case we needed to drop it on someone, which we never did while I was aboard which is just as well, especially for the country upon which we would have dropped it without, I guess, brown paper bag.

Anyway, I mention this because of Trump’s people trying to hide the USS John McCain, a destroyer in port in Japan when Trump was in Japan lest he be offended that the late Sen. John McCain has a ship named after him – albeit only a destroyer, which is kind of small – and Trump only has some buildings carrying his name and they wouldn’t carry his name if he didn’t own them because, why would they?

It’s pretty hard to hide a destroyer, although compared to an aircraft carrier it’s small, so the New York Daily News came up with an idea in an editorial cartoon: Just change the ship’s name. Paint over USS John McCain with something emblematic of Trump. The News’ suggestion was:

USS Bonespurs.

Apropos, don’t you think? After all, our commander in chief, who gets to send Americans to fight and maybe die, got five deferments so he didn’t have to fight or actually do anything militarily, and one was for bone spurs after he’d already used four for college deferments.

But, really, how stupid is this whole thing? Very. How mature would it have been of Donald Trump had he spotted the USS John McCain in a Japanense port and, upon seeing it, spoken eloquently of the service given by McCain and used that opportunity to speak eloquently of the service given by so many Americans?

Well, perhaps he was embarrassed. Perhaps he has the decency to be embarrased about Bonspurgate and he’d rather just not compliment men or women who weren’t lucky enough to have a doctor well-versed in spurs of the bone.

“Oh, yes, very bad. No, no, you can’t serve. Go home, put those feet up, rest your spurs.”

I think it was Roy Rogers – maybe Gene Autry – who sang, “I’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle, as I go ridin’ merrily along.” But Donald Trump could sing:

“I got spurs that kept me out of service,

“So I didn’t have to go to ‘Nam.

“Man, the thought of that sure made me nervous.

“And I didn’t wanna take it on the lam.

“To Canada! Oh, Canada! I’d have crossed the border in a rush.

“But my doctor said my bones were wounded.

“And that really saved my rich boy’s tush.”

It’s a hit and you dig it. Anyway, next time an aircraft carrier comes into a port near you, go on a tour and when you get to the flight deck, see if you can spot anything wrapped in brown paper hanging under a plane. Just don’t tell ’em I told you about it.

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