The Cold War   







Dick the Missile Man

When I worked for Bank of New York -- BNY was/is a huge stock transfer agent; it's a very lucrative business -- anyway, it was the Bank's duty as agent to forward the various annual reports from hundreds of companies to shareholders. Every year, around March and April, the first-class mailroom would be extremely swamped with big envelopes of various weights; processing them was a major pain in the ass. As a "special" mail clerk, handling only registered, certified, express, and special-handling mail, I was not required to participate in the craziness involved in processing the first-class annual report mailings, but I pitched in nonetheless to help out.

So around 7pm each evening I would go to the 2nd floor at 110 Washington Street in Lower Manhattan, and pick up a huge dolly full of mail trays with the envelopes containing annual reports that had been stuffed all day by temps. While the work sucked, one of the side advantages was that I had access to all kinds of annual reports, including the annual reports of all the major defense companies.  


After helping out with the sealing and adding postage to the mail, I'd sneak back up to the 2nd floor and help myself to the defense company reports. As a certified "Missile Man," or more appropriately as "Dick the Missile Man," these reports were almost as appealing as raw pornography. Like drooling over x-rated actresses, I would salivate over the erotic pictures of fighters, bombers, tanks, aircraft carriers, artillery systems, bombs, bullets, rockets, helos, and of course, missiles. Eventually I cut out whole bunch of the photos and pasted them into a collage on a poster board, and slept soundly and securely for many years under a full wall of military hardware photos, as opposed to say, a Farah Fawcett-Majors poster. (I had her on the wall in my teens. What a terrible and profoundly tawdry influence SHE was.)

This was right at the dawn of and early stages of the Reagan defense build-up (oh those multi-hundred-billion dollar defense appropriations years!) and all the big defense contractors, since reduced to a mere handful, put out splashy and graphically thrilling reports. Many of the companies have been absorbed and combined, but back then there were several big defense contractors, all waiting to wage the finishing stages of the worthy Reagan-directed Cold War.

Bombs Away

Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas, Grumman, General Dynamics (Electric Boat), TRW, Rocketdyne, Rockwell, Northrop, Fairchild Aviation, FMC, Ingalls, Sikorsky, Boeing, Pratt & Whitney, Westinghouse, General Electric, Honeywell, and Newport News among others, all of these companies, their annual reports were Dick the Missile Man's equivalent of Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse, Blak Skwak, Pictorial, &ct magazines. And while the arousal from these glossy war machine depictions wasn't and still isn't sexual, there's nothing quite like a carefully staged and beautifully photographed shot of an SSBN surface-cruising on a sunlit sea, ready to wreak havoc and death half a world away. Nothing like an M-1 tank rolling off the page and into the twisted grandeur of your imagination.

-- Dick Acorn