One of the more hysterical stories told on the TV show Frasier concerns a woman named Lupe Velez. The story is so insane that it just has to be true (apparently it is). Roz does a much better job than I could ever hope to do telling the story so I included a link to that piece here.

In a nutshell, Lupe was an early actress in Hollywood. Her career went into free fall. She’s going to be forgotten, so in a final bid for immortality, she stages this elaborate suicide. It goes south, and in the course of trying to get to the toilet to throw up, she instead falls, hits her head on the toilet, and dies with her head in the bowl.

As Roz puts it, all Lupe wanted was to be remembered, and now that you’ve heard the story, will you ever forget her.

A friend of mine had an experience somewhat like that.

He was Navy, went through basic and A school, and did so well that they gave him his choice of assignments. He made it clear that he wanted one thing, and one thing alone. He wanted the bridge of the Enterprise (he was a Trekkie, and if you can’t have the 23rd Century Enterprise, you settle for the one you got).

MY DISCLAIMER: I’ve never been on a naval vessel. I know very little of how they work, and for all I know he was pulling my leg. I’ve seen pictures of the Enterprise and I’ve read a little about naval tradition. But as for day to day and various customs on various ships, I don’t have a clue. I’m simply passing the story on as it was told to me.

Anyway, back to the story. It seems the lowest ranking sailor on the bridge of the Enterprise has the job of making the coffee in the morning. The other tradition is no one gets a cup of coffee till the Captain gets his.

So he wants to impress the Captain. He wants to make the best cup of coffee the man has ever had. He wants to make sure that the Captain will never, ever forget him (he had visions of promotions dancing in his head).

So he goes to the library and studies up on how to make the best cup of coffee known to man. He goes and talks to people who make coffee for a living and learns their trade secrets. He learns about beans, and how to roast them, and so on. In short, the only two entities in creation that know more about coffee than he does is God and the guy in the Folgers commercial.

The first day aboard the Enterprise and at his bridge post, he makes the coffee. He pays close attention to apply the best of the secrets he learned. In a few minutes the inviting aroma of an expertly brewed coffee wafts through the bridge. After about half an hour, the coffee is finished and the wonderful smell of it fills the room.

A few minutes later, the Captain comes in. There’s the usual “Captain on the Bridge,” and so forth. The man gets his coffee, sits back in his chair, and begins getting his morning reports. All the while, the coffee sits on his armrest, a wisp of mouth watering steam blows off it.

The Captain receives a clipboard and begins studying the report. He reaches over, picks up the coffee and takes a drink from it.

The reaction wasn’t what my friend expected. The captain spews the coffee all over a Master Chief who was standing nearby. The report he was reading is soaked with coffee and ruined. And the Captain drops the cup like he’d accidentally picked up a snake instead of a coffee cup. Coffee is everywhere.

The Captain jumps to his feet, his eyes tracking across the bridge crew, and settles on my friend. “What the hell is wrong with you!” the Captain bellows.

From what my friend said, there’s two kinds of water taps on a ship. Fresh water and salt water. One of course is for drinking, cooking, etc. The other is for things like cleaning and such.

Guess which one he used.

If there’s any truth to the story, then you have to admit it worked out.

All Lupe wanted was for the world to remember her.

My friend wanted the Captain to remember him.

It worked out both ways.