Dangerous birthday candles

Too many birthday candles might produce unintended excitement…
Birthdays Can Be Memorable In More Ways Than You Think…

The calendar says it’s my birthday.


And, so soon after the last one.

Of course, I’m grateful to still be having them, the alternative lacking greatly in every respect.  However, they seem to be arriving sooner, and a lot of folks seem to want to wish me—us—“Happy Birthday” with chipper, “personal” birthday wishes.  People I don’t really know.

As I get more into the very Adult age group, I actually know far fewer people.  So many of my real friends from yesteryear are gone.  In other words, the pool of folks who can offer “personal” birthday wishes is drying up faster than my good intentions to clean the pool deck on a hot summer day.

For example, even my dermatologist sent birthday best wishes…

Happy Birthday from everyone at our office! We hope your birthday blows you away!

I’m sure they have good intentions, and meant well.  They didn’t have to send out gratuitous birthday wishes.  Whether I had a birthday that blew me away was no skin off their back, so to speak.  And sending the electronic “card” represented the time-consuming investment of a YouTube link to a cartoon cake playing a piano that concludes with “Hope your birthday blows you away!” [You can’t make this (particular) stuff up.]

Posts on the site reported that “my eye doctor sent me this,” “my dentist sent me this,” and “my gynecologist sent me this.”  As of now, I have not received this particular birthday greeting from my gynecologist.

I must admit I was moved, and somewhat emotional over the thoughtful gesture from those who when I last saw them had just carved out yet another chunk of my dermis to send to the lab.  Seems my days in Florida summer time “construction” and later, as a bronzed life god guard at the UF pool had caught up with me.  Fortunately, the xylocaine kept me from “blowing away” at the time.

I think Shakespeare said it best when he wrote that “…Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, Crepes in this petty pace from day to day…”  Or words to that effect.  Certainly, my neck has creped up with the rest of me.  And not at a petty pace, either.

Having their best interests at heart, as they clearly had mine, I knew I had to return the thoughtful gesture of birthday wishes.

As a gesture of good will and suggested prudence, I took the opportunity to point out the consequences of wishing a “blown away” birthday to someone my age…  I recounted the consequences of that happening during a birthday party?

Good morning to my colleagues at Crepe No More Associates

I appreciate the BDay BWishes

But I would be careful about using the “blown away” phrase, at least in the context of my birthday.

As a gesture in that direction, during my birthday party, some otherwise well-meaning person added a candle for each year of my age (notwithstanding that most of them were already burned at both ends). 

When complete, the cake had to be lighted with a food torch borrowed from a local restaurant where it was regularly used to prepare caramelized toppings for crème brûlée.

Once lit, and by the time “happy birthday” was sung (evermore rapidly once the candle flames reached the ceiling), I was unable to blow them away, even after I begged for help from the now rapidly caramelizing family members still left around the table.

Fortunately, just before the roof collapsed, the fire department arrived to wet down the “blown away” portion of what became a very memorable birthday. 

Thanks again for your best wishes.  By my next visit I am sure my eyebrows and the hair on my arms will have begun to grow out again.  I am hopeful there won’t be any scarring to look at during the exam…perhaps only the odd melanoma or two.  ;]]

Till then,

Tracy Connors

© Copyright 2019 BelleAire Press

Other works by Dr. Connors…

Baited Trap, the Ambush of Mission 1890

Now Available As E-Pub

Baited Trap, The Ambush of Mission 1890 is the story of helicopter rescue Mission 1890, one of the most heroic—and costly—air rescues of the Korean War. This harrowing Air Force-Navy mission is explained in compelling detail, creating a detailed personal account of what five incredibly brave and determined Air Force and Navy airmen achieved on June 25, 1952 in the infamous “Iron Triangle.”

The Korean War’s Greatest Love Story

Baited Trap is much more than a heroic war story from the “forgotten war.” It is also the Korean War’s greatest love story, following Wayne and Della Lear, Bobby Holloway, Ron Eaton and Dolly Sharp, and Frankie and Archie Connors as they tried to put their lives and families together even as the Korean War was reaching out to engulf them.

Truckbusters From Dogpatch: the Combat Diary of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing in the Korean War, 1950-1953

Truckbusters from Dogpatch is the most comprehensive Korean War unit history yet prepared–over 700 pages summarizing squadron histories and first person accounts—and includes over 1,000 never before published photographs and images, highlighted by the 8 ½ x 11-inch format.

Arguably, Truckbusters From Dogpatch is the most authoritative unit history ever prepared on the Korean War. In addition to consulting formerly classified squadron histories filed monthly throughout the conflict, the author was in touch with hundreds of veterans of the 18th—pilots and ground crew—whose personal recollections add vivid detail and emotion to the facts recounted in the official documents.

Recent Log Entries by CAPT Connors…
Carrier Captain’s Night Orders: “Call Me…”

After reading these Night Orders you can better appreciate what training, attention to duty, and vigilance was required by underway watchstanders in those days. What has changed since then that has resulted in the recent tragic collisions between U.S. Navy ships and other vessels?

“We do it all!” (USS Saipan LHA-2 motto)

Saipan CO, CAPT Jack Renard, was not exaggerating when he noted that “without exception, SAIPAN is the most versatile instrument of peace or war on the seas today.” Like its motto pointed out, SAIPAN could do it all.

In Dire Straits of Gibraltar

I had never taken the ship (aircraft carrier F. D. ROOSEVELT) through the Straits before as the OOD.  Now I was expected to do so while the rest of the ship—including the Captain—was fast asleep.

U.S. Navy and back to the future Star Power

The reliance today by U.S. Navy afloat units on satellites and highly complex electronics, all of which are vulnerable to compromise or destruction by an enemy, can also leave us highly vulnerable, particularly if our ships and Surface Warfare Officers are not trained in more traditional methods of navigation and seamanship.

Losing satellites could badly compromise or eliminate satellite navigation.  Funny, I trusted the star fixes, but the GPS readings that came later, were suspect.  As this Log Entry points out, satellites are vulnerable.  They can be hacked or “taken out” in a variety of ways.

But with training, a sextant, the right tables and a handful of stars or a noon day sun, the cosmos will tell you where you are on planet Earth.

Soot, as a weapon? Recalling the Mediterranean Cold War in the Sixties

The watch team cheered, we even heard cheering from PriFly aft of our level.  The Captain was happy, the bridge watch team was ecstatic.  The Russians on our tail?  Not so much!   Main Control had “gotten into the War,” and I wrote in the ROOSEVELT’s deck log: “Blew tubes at 1430.”

The In-Port Watch on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Sixties

Any questions?”

“Not that I can think of,” I replied, then added the required legal response: “I relieve you Sir.”

The fateful words are spoken. From this point on, anything that happens on this watch will be my responsibility.

“Very well, I stand relieved. Quartermaster, LTJG Connors has the deck,” the now off-watch OOD announced to the Watch Team.

I, in turn, step back out onto the quarterdeck to take a look around to see if there are any boats headed towards the ship.

The air is very cold, but refreshing, in small doses.

The far off boats of Cannes, swing in the breeze.

At this distance, the beautiful city rolls itself like a white wave, far into the hills.  On the distant horizon, covers the mountains like a picture post card.

Memories of the Fru Dee Roo

When the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV A-42) was towed toward the oblivion of the scrap yard in 1978, she consisted of some 65,000 tons of obsolete steel and equipment–but she left many more tons of memories with the tens of thousands of Navy men who had served aboard her during her 32 years of commissioned service.

The “Rosy” or “Fru Dee Roo” or “Rusty Bucket” to those of us who alternately cussed her amongst ourselves and who fought for her honor with outsiders, was more than just a ship. She was home for some 4,000 men–a floating “town” some 1,000 feet long with over 500 miles of wiring, 150 television receivers, 111 storerooms where some 81,000 items were kept in readiness, and with 12 oil-fired steam boilers that drove it at speeds up to 32 knots. A bit of a “gas hog,” the ship’s boilers burned some four million gallons of fuel per month on average. This “town” carried over 70 warplanes of many types and could launch them at a rate of two per minute.

We were “the stick” in case the “talk softly” part was not successful.

What The Hell Flag Signal

The day the ROOSEVELT got the What the Hell Flag Signal. As the OOD, you knew you had really screwed things up when an oiler gave you the “What the Hell” Flag Signal.

On this afternoon, as we were making our high speed approach on the oiler, the Captain suddenly announced that he had the conn (was maneuvering the ship himself), then announced that Commander “Neversail” had the conn.  I was amazed.  I assumed that he wanted the new Navigator to get some experience, but to actually let him maneuver the ship (with the Captain making “recommendations” while standing right beside him), was risky as we were barreling down on the unsuspecting oiler.  “Things” didn’t go well, as they say.



About Tracy Connors

Tracy D. Connors graduated from Jacksonville University (AA), University of Florida (BA), the University of Rhode Island (MA), and Capella University (Ph.D. with Distinction, human services management, 2013). Ph.D. (Honorary), Leadership Excellence, Jacksonville University, December, 2013. Designated a "Distinguished Dolphin" by Jacksonville University, Feb. 2, 2010.

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