I was sitting in Fort Knox pharmacy today, waiting to have a prescription filled. I sat down by an old man and started reading a book, because the room was packed; I knew my order would take a while. It was a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte.
I’d barely gotten two paragraphs into my bookmarked spot when the old man tapped my knee and said, “Napoleon was a pussy and a fool, ya know that? But of course he was French, so you can’t expect much to begin with.”
I instantly liked the guy. I put my book down and started talking with him about random nonsense. Gas prices, politics, blah blah blah. It wasn’t for a good 30 minutes that we finally got around to introducing ourselves and talking about branches of service. Turns out this guy was none other than Charles Christensen. One of the 12 remaining survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack.
I was blown away. I asked him the questions I’m sure he’s been asked millions of times over by now, and he answered them like it was the first time he’d heard them. He was such an awesome guy, and the stories he told blew my mind. And the way he told them… it was amazing. We talked for a good two hours about everything. Not just the massacre at Pearl Harbor that he witnessed first hand, and fought in… but everything. Life, death, my own medical issues, weather…
By the time it came to part ways, I asked him for his autograph. He seemed shocked, and kind of stammered, “You… you want my autograph?” It’s easily the coolest thing I’ve gotten in a long time. I’m meeting him for lunch next week. I can’t wait to hear what else he has to say. He even wrote “Good luck”