Memories of my New Year's Eve Chum from Libya
As events unfold in Tripoli tonight, my mind goes back to New Year's Eve, 1982-1983. I was living in Japan at the time, stationed onboard the USS Towers, a guided missile destroyer homeported in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo.
A shipmate of mine and I were at a disco in the Shinjuku section of Tokyo... Byblos was the name. It was a disco that catered to the gaijin... the foreigners living in Japan. It was late in the evening and I was already enjoying the effects of tasty Japanese beer and what the Japanese humorously refer to as "scotch."
There was a gentleman seated next to me, roughly my age at the time. Somewhat ragged looking, but in business attire. We introduced ourselves to each other. Turns out he was a businessman from Libya. I was an American military man. If you recall the political environment of the time, before George W. Bush decided that he and Muammar Gaddafi were BFFs, Reagan had bombed the piss out of Libya within the past year or so and things were somewhat tense between our nations.
This businessman and I became instant chums. We took turns buying drinks for each other. As it got closer to midnight, Tokyo time, he raised his glass and suggested that we drink to each others' leaders. I raised mine to return his salute.
"Ronald Reagan is ASShole," he said as he clinked my glass and belted down his drink. His eyes looked into mine to see what I was going to do. I shrugged and said, "I'll drink to that." I downed my drink.
"Now it's my turn," I said. I ordered two more glasses of the delightful Japanese "scotch." I raised my glass and fixed my eyes on his.Continued on the next page