Are You A Turtle?

Japanese Flying Carp Kites

Japanese Flying Carp Kites

“You bet your sweet ass I am”, is the correct response to this question. The origin of this Q&A dates back to WW II where some unnamed American pilots formed a drinking club called the Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles, self-described as “an honorable drinking fraternity composed of ladies and gentlemen of the highest morals and good character, who are never vulgar.” Members could depose each other with this question and upon not receiving the correct response expect a drink. If however, the correct answer was given then the questioner becomes the buyer. Entry into this club is gained by successfully answering four qualifying questions from a standard list. Here are four samples:

  • What does a woman do sitting down that a dog does on three legs and a man does standing up?
  • What does a cow have four of and woman only two?
  • What is a four letter word ending in K that means to have intercourse?
  • What is it on a man that is round and hard, and sticks so far out his pajamas that you can hang a hat on it?

Now each of these questions have a possible vulgar answer, but remember that the Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles is an honorable fraternity and members are never vulgar. So, get your dirty minds out of the gutter. The correct answers are shake, legs, talk and head. During the Mercury spaceflights was when the most famous posing of the question, “Are you a turtle?” occurred. Wally Schirra was seated in Mercury 8, when fellow astronaut Deke Slayton came over the air and posed THE question. Not wanting to be vulgar while broadcasting to the world, Schirra switched his mic from broadcast to record and made the correct response. Switching back all the world heard was, “That’s a rog.” After landing the recording vindicated him and Slayton ended up buying.

All of this is by way of preamble and explanation to what we have been doing the last two days, namely trying and failing to get our diabetic donkeys out of bed early enough. It is hot here in Saint Louis this holiday weekend and if you want to do anything outside, you best get it done before the day heats up. On Saturday, we were too slow in rousing our donkeys of a sweet and kindly disposition and the best that we could do was a couple of turns around Forest Park, before we headed home and hunkered-down in the air-conditioning for the rest of the day. Today, we were a little more successful in getting out early.

Today, we got up and out earlier. We also stayed out in the heat longer. We started riding Trailnet’s Tour of the Hill ride, picking up the pink dots that mark the course just west of Forest Park. Our plan was to follow the course back to the start/finish and then pay the fee. We rode through the park, CWE and were on Tower Grove, when we decided to become pirate riders and not pay. If we had chosen the short route, we could have made it back to registration before it closed, but instead we chose the medium route. We did fine through Lafayette Square and Soulard, but somewhere around the brewery we lost the trail of pink. Not really being lost, we head back towards the Hill, through Benton Park and Tower Grove Park. We ended up stopping at the garden and doing the Japanese Festival, but the heat had arrived and without our bicycle’s breeze it soon became too much. By way of refreshment, we got a little bit of sushi and a lot of lemonade, which gave us just enough go to get home.

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