Thursday, November 09, 2006

Lance saves the Intrepid

Driving into New York along the West Side Highway the other evening, I passed the old aircraft carrier, the Intrepid, which is still stuck in the mud.

I had some time so I pulled over to see if I could help.

I walked out onto the pier and up to the young jg and a couple of SPs who were guarding the gate. I told them how the ten year old and I had visited the Intrepid last year with the Cub Scouts and how much I enjoyed the scene in National Treasure where Nicolas Cage escapes from the FBI by jumping off the Intrepid's stern into the river, so I felt I knew the ship pretty well and had a personal stake in getting her down to dry dock in Bayonne where she's scheduled for overhaul. "I got an idea how to get her unstuck," I said.

The jg said that the Navy had tried everything and was pretty much resigned to leaving the ship there for the December tides to lift, but if I had any good suggestions he'd be glad to take it up with his CO.

"Have you tried giving it a push?" I said.

The officer and the SPs looked at each other and then at me. I thought their looks seemed skeptical.

"A really good push," I said. "You know, really put your shoulders into it...Well, yes, I know it's in the water. I don't mean you personally. You get a couple of frogmen in there...I suppose you're right, it would be hard for them to get traction. How about this? You know those deep sea diving suits? With the big round helmets and the weighted boots, like the little guys in fishtanks wear? The Navy still have some of those lying around? They do, huh? Good. Say you put three guys in the deep sea diving suits out there, and they stand on each other's shoulders, the biggest guy on the bottom. The top guy's pushing right up against the keel...You don't think that will do it. You say it's stuck really good. Huh...How about this? You try rocking it? Like when your car's stuck in the snow. What do you call the guy up in the bridge who handles the controls? The helmsman? See, if your helmsman guns the engine, and then quickly shifts into reverse, then...Oh. The engines don't run anymore. No fuel. You took the propellers off? How's she ever supposed to get up to battle speed then? Oh. The Intrepid's just a museum piece these days. Well, yes, I knew it was a museum. Like I said, I was here with the Cub Scouts, but I thought...What if New York's ever attacked by the Japanese? How...Yes, I do watch a lot of movies. No. No. I'm not on any medication. I just thought...Well, yes, as a matter of fact I do have somewhere I need to be. I'm live blogging the Democrats' Victory Party at the Sheraton tonight. What? Yes, I'm wearing my pajamas underneath. That's very funny, lieutenant. No, I hadn't heard that one before. Yeah. Yeah. My cat's in the car. Another good one. What's time do I...About eight o'clock. Yes, you're right, I guess I should get there a little early to set up. Thanks for reminding me. I'll get going. If you're sure you don't need...I'm sure the Navy does have its best engineeers on it. Ok, well, I just wanted to help. You're welcome. I try to be a good American, yes. Good night, lieutenant. Say, one more thing occurs to me. You got any two by fours? Really long ones. You could shove them down underneath and...."


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