What's A Gotcha??
drawing courtesy of Colin Burgess
Turtles are bright eyed, bushy tailed, fearless and unafraid folk with a fighter pilot attitude. They think clean, have fun a lot, and recognize the fact that you never get any place worthwhile in life unless you stick your neck out.
The "Turtles" are indeed an illustrious group and include in their membership ranks some of the country's foremost leaders in the fields of government, finance, entertainment, aerospace and all other areas where aggressiveness, a feeling for fair play, clean thoughts and a sense of humor are keys to success.
Started by a group of test pilots during
the 2nd World War, the club has progressed to its present position as one
whose membership is diligently sought after and highly
esteemed by those lucky enough to be initiated. Adherence to the
creed and always giving the password when asked are the only
responsibilities placed on our membership. You will find that life
is more fun and takes on new meaning when you are a "Turtle".
LEGEND OF THE TURTLE:Once upon a time, many years ago there was a man who was of good and noble character; without a trace of impurity in his thoughts. Unfortunately all about him he saw persons with vulgar minds unable to think of anything, except in sexual terms. He bemoaned his inability to find others with a similar highmindness, to his own. Like a turtle, he retreated into his shell. Then one day, while partaking of a pint of ale (for purely medicinal purposes of course), he realized that there must be others like him. Forced into bars, and saloons; imbibing alcohol as a balm for the ills inflicted by obscene and vulgar persons.
He resolved to locate all the other pure minded individuals that he could, even if this meant spending his every waking hour crawling from one bar to the next. This was the beginning of the Turtles. He embarked upon this quest with vigor and determination, but, since he was a man of limited means, quickly ran out of money.
Then one day, he got a tip on a horse running at long odds at the local track. The problem was that he had no money left with which to gamble. So, in desperation he wagered his last and most prized possession a donkey which he had raised from birth. Now this donkey was a particularly gentle and temperate animal, with a loving disposition. To lose his donkey would have been devastating, and yet what choice was there if the quest was to continue? Fortunately, he won the wager, and with the money was able to continue in his search for many more years, and begin the association of Turtles we know today.
And so, to commemorate this event, all members of this esteemed
organization when asked, "Are You a Turtle?", must
respond immediately without hesitation or fear of embarrassment, in
a voice as loud and clear as the voice of the questioner:
"You bet your sweet ass, I am" Failure to do so at anytime,
will be penalized by having to buy a beer for everyone close enough
to have heard the original question.
Part of the Turtle Initiation:
three minutes into my Mercury flight, when we were still in the
Atlas boost phase, Deke Slayton came on the radio with a question I
didn't quite expect. "Hey, Wally, are you a turtle?". Of
course I knew the answer, but we were on live radio, and I wasn't
ready for all the world to hear it. So I switched my mike to voice
record, uttered my reply, clicked back and said to Deke. "Rog".
After Gordon Cooper's flight in May 1963, we were all in the White House. This time, it was JFK's turn, and I was the one he nailed. "By the way, Wally, are you a turtle?" I had to think twice before saying, "You bet your sweet ass.." to the president of the United States.
had the Cosmosphere
help me with a Gotcha for Gene Cernan. At a 2004 meeting, Cernan was
greeted by his life-sized bronze statue done up with silver foil to
recreate my Mercury suit.
Wally Schirra - The Last Man On The Moon
Sigma 7 Gotcha
[They got ME this time around]
I flew on Sigma 7, Gordon Cooper and Jim Rathman, the Indy racer, arranged to put a
miniature, airplane catering sized, bottle of Cutty Sark Scotch and
one row of Tarryton cigarettes way in the back of a compartment in
the instrument panel. The attitude control handle had a "remove
before flight" tag on it as well. I drank the Scotch as soon
as I had a chance on board the recovery carrier. The medics all
wondered why I had a small alcohol level in my post flight blood
tests! I guess a nicotine level would have really thrown them! I
still have the row of cigarettes, and the tag.
A great gotcha! I enjoy being had, too!