Alaska was not the greatest place in the world to be sent at the age of 16, especially when a guy had been raised most of his live in an orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida. But I guess the United States Army knew what it was doing.
I was rather surprised as I landed at the small airport in Fairbanks, that there were buildings in this remote area of the world. I knew very little about it, but thought from the books I had seen, that there was nothing up here except igloos and Eskimos.
I boarded the army bus and headed toward Fort Wainwright where I had been assigned to Bassett Army Hospital. When I arrived, I was assigned a room, told to unpack my gear and wait for further orders. After unpacking and then storing my clothing and equipment, I walked outside to look around at all the snow on the ground. I had ever seen this much snow before and was puzzled how all these vehicles could be driving on roads that appeared to be completely covered in about three or four inches of solid ice.
I walked back into the barracks, which was very warm and found that it gave me chills. I had to go to the bathroom awfully bad. I walked into the bathroom and stood at the urinal. When I finished, I zipped up my uniform pants and caught myself in the zipper, which almost brought me to my knees. The first sergeant named ‘Vaughn’ walked in the bathroom. I managed to straighten up and act as though I was still using the urinal.
"You the new fellow?" he said.
"Yes, sir," I said as best I could in a deep manly tone.
"When you are done there, you are to report to the hospital for your assignment duties and for an evaluation."
"As soon as I get done, I will report, sir," I said.
After he left the bathroom, I transferred myself to one of the private stalls where I could work on the problem with some privacy. Several men came and left the restroom without knowing what was happening in the stall. Thank God! I tried not to make any more noise than was absolutely necessary, but I just could not get the darn zipper to let go of me.
Then one of the soldiers came back in the bathroom. He asked me why I was in the stall so long and if everything was ok. I told him that I had a problem. He asked me what was wrong and I told him that I had hung myself. He immediately pushed open the stall and there I stood holding onto whatever manhood a 16-year-old has to hold on to.
"JESUS CHRIST!" he hollered. "You will just have to work that out by yourself young man. I damn sure ain't gonna do it for you. The best way to get it lose is to just snatch it loose as fast and as hard as you can."
"I can't jerk it loose like that," I said.
"Sure you can. You’re a soldier now," he said laughing.
"I'll work on it," I said softly looking down at my poor self.
After he left the restroom, I worked on the problem for almost half an hour and found that I was staring to bleed in several places. Then the first sergeant came back in the bathroom and told me to get a move on, that I was wanted immediately at the hospital for my evaluation. When he left the room, I decided that I had no choice but to jerk the zipper loose from me. I grabbed the zipper, closed my eyes and snatched it downward as fast and as hard as I could, but the pain got even worse. When I looked down, I saw that the zipper had come loose from the part of me that uses the bathroom and had now grabbed onto the bottom part of me, which doesn't use the bathroom. There was blood all over my finger and I thought I was going to start crying for a minute, not because of the pain of the zipper, but because of not getting to the hospital on time for my evaluation.
Finally, I just jerked the zipper again and was, once and for all, free from the grips of this monster zipper. I washed myself off as best I could and ran over to the hospital. I reported to the front desk and was told that I would be given a complete physical, but that I had to report to the psychologist’s office for an interview. When I arrived, he started asking me all types of unusual questions like:
"Have you ever thought about seeing your mother naked?" Weird things like that. Then he asked me if I had ever masturbated. I became rather embarrassed, looked him straight in the eye and said, "NO" as loud as I could.
The other doctor, who was thumping on my back, asked me to drop my pants so he could check for a hernia. When I dropped my pants, the psychologist saw all the blood on my underwear and asked me to drop my shorts. When the two of them saw the condition of my manhood, the psychologist said to the doctor, "We got a guy here who says he does not masturbate, but evidentially we have a marathon going on in these shorts."
I tried to explain to the both of them what had happened, but they were not interested in hearing the truth. It did not take long for word to spread around the entire hospital and it took months for this story to ever subside.
After the interview and evaluation with the doctors, I returned to the hospital for my normal duties. All I could do was to try to live with jokes and laughter from my fellow soldiers.