Punching Out

When you’re in the Air Force, there comes a time when you have to think about punching out. There are many meanings to “punching out,” but there are only two that matter.

The first is illustrated in this photo. In 2003, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds lost a jet at a Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho air show. The pilot ejected, or punched out, safely less than two-tenths of a second before the plane hit the ground. In fact, this photo is the first ever taken of a real-world ejection.

The second type of punching out is when you decide to leave the Air Force. The analogy is as if you were the pilot (you) abruptly leaving the plane (the Air Force) before its scheduled landing (retirement).

No doubt, my punching out is the second type.

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I am “Evil Edward Norton”

As advertised, I’ve finally made the full transition into Evil Edward Norton by shaving my lumberjack-like beard into a svelte goatee.

It took about a week’s growth of an itchy beard to get to this point, and I only used a razor to get this long growth into a goatee. It was quite painful to shave… physically, not emotionally.

So, the reason I call this the “Evil Edward Norton” is simple. You can tell if Edward Norton is playing a good guy or a bad guy based on whether or not he wears a goatee.

Think about it. In what roles does he wear the goatee versus the clean shave?

In “The Incredible Hulk,” he was good-guy Bruce Banner. No goatee.

In “The Italian Job,” he played a dishonorable thief named Steve. Yep… a goatee.

He played an FBI agent in “Red Dragon” standing face-to-face with Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector. No goatee.

Although a supporting player in “Rounders,” he sported no goatee in the poker flick with Matt Damon.

In “American History X,” he played a former Neo-Nazi skinhead. You guessed it… a goatee.

So, now that I’ve grown my goatee out, I expect that people will treat me with a bit of suspicion. After all, everyone who attends the Edward Norton School of Facial Hair Choices knows that people with goatees cannot be trusted.

I’ll be keeping this during my month-long vacation, but I’ll have to shave it off if I wear my uniform on my cruise. It’s really sad, though. I think a goatee in an Air Force service dress uniform would look terrific.