Loser Chapter of USO Now Open

by Jennifer Hart

Remember this honorable mention entry from Week #250 ...?

"Wouldn't it be great if ... on any given week, the longest-distance entry was automatically awarded a T-shirt?"
(Lt. John Choi, McMurdo Station, Antarctica)

It struck me as TRAGIC -- this poor man, a loyal member of our armed forces, probably trim and muscular (and perhaps bearded ! ! ! ) -- freezing his butt off in the bleak Antarctic and only scoring a bumper sticker. However, I couldn't send a T-shirt because the Czar's Flunky wouldn't cough up the address, never mind that I twisted his wiry little arm almost to the snapping point.

But then, at the February Loser Happy Hour, Sandra Hull pointed out that McMurdo Station operates under the auspices of the National Science Foundation ... where she works. (You see where this is heading, don't you? Aren't you clever!)

Through a magnificent bit of detective work -- don't ask -- Sandra found John Choi's address. I learned that he had been transferred from McMurdo Station to California (and is about to be transferred again), but what the hell, I mailed the T-shirt anyway, with a copy of the "Weenies" article. He received both on Friday March 13. Not a moment too soon: as is painfully clear in this photo of Lt. Choi, the poor man had resorted to making his own hand-lettered Loser shirt. He was thrilled to receive the genuine article. And the shirt, too.

Now, before you start grousing about giving shirts to those who didn't actually win them, consider this: While at McMurdo, Lt. Choi was flight officer on a cargo plane, his job to airlift "solid human waste" off Antarctica. He should be made honorary grand pooh-bah of NRARS!

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