Ancient Order of Turtles


Ancient Order of Turtles

The Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles ("Ancient Order of Turtles," "Royal Order of Turtles," "International Turtles Association," "Turtle Club," or any other title that the local branch is affiliated with) is "an honorable drinking fraternity composed of ladies and gentlemen of the highest morals and good character, who are never vulgar" and who have successfully answered four from a list of about twenty-five qualifying questions. Each question suggests a vulgar, lewd, or salacious answer, but the actual correct answer is rather innocuous. It is assumed that all prospective turtles own a diabetic donkey, or one of a sweet and kindly disposition, which is the reason for the password. Once inducted, a member must reply to the question, "Are you a turtle?" with the answer, "You bet your sweet ass I am." If the member is unable or unwilling (perhaps because of the restriction on vulgarity) to provide the correct answer, he or she owes to each other turtle present a drink of the recipient's choice.

There are at least twenty different branches of Turtles in America, but all adhere to the same sign, passwords, grip and initiation format.

History of the Order

The origin of this group supposedly goes back to World War II pilots as a way to amuse themselves while relaxing with a cool drink between missions.

The late Captain Hugh P. McGowan, U.S. Army Air Corps/U.S. Air Force Reserve (Ret.), told his son why he and several pilots of the U.S. Army Air Corps 8th Air Force founded the Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles in an officers' club while stationed in England during the Second World War: "We were flying daytime bombing missions over Hitler's Third Reich. We just wanted a little fun. We had seen a sign showing that the 'Ancient Order of Foresters' and the 'Royal Antedeluvian Order of Buffalos' would meet in the local pub, so I devised the name 'Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles' for the fun of it. It was not meant to be serious, it had no constitution or by-laws, and was a relief from the horrors and dangers we saw every day on our missions. It spread after the War through the VFW and American Legion posts, and eventually, to colleges and even to the high schools of the U.S.A." [cite web
url = http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/turtles.htm
title = Turtle Club Information, Masonic
accessdate = 2008-09-27
author = Brother Denis P. McGowan - Supreme Imperial Turtle (Emeritus) - Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles
last = McGowan
first = Denis
coauthors = Copyrighted © 1999 - 2007 Phoenixmasonry, Inc.
]

Turtle Creed

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 anyplace in life worthwhile unless you stick your neck out. [cite web
url = http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/turtles.htm
title = Turtle Club Information, Masonic
accessdate = 2008-09-27
author = Brother Denis P. McGowan - Supreme Imperial Turtle (Emeritus) - Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles
last = McGowan
first = Denis
coauthors = Copyrighted © 1999 - 2007 Phoenixmasonry, Inc.
]

Turtle Rank

Various offshoots of the original club may vary but the founder established the following: [cite web
url = http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/turtles.htm
title = Turtle Club Information, Masonic
accessdate = 2008-09-27
author = Brother Denis P. McGowan - Supreme Imperial Turtle (Emeritus) - Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles
last = McGowan
first = Denis
coauthors = Copyrighted © 1999 - 2007 Phoenixmasonry, Inc.
]

* Candidate - Someone wishing to become a member of the Order.
* Turtle - Any Brother or Sister Turtle initiated into the Order through the initiation and interrogation ceremony.
* Snapping Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 25 new Turtles into the Order.
* Grand Snapping Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 50 new Turtles into the Order.
* Imperial Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 100 new Turtles into the Order.
* Past Imperial Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 150 new Turtles into the Order.
* Master Imperial Turtle - A Brother or Sister who has initiated at least 500 new Turtles into the Order.
* Supreme Imperial Turtle Emeritus - this title is held by the successor to the founder (currently held by Bro. Denis P. McGowan, son of founder Hugh P. McGowan.)

Popular qualifying questions

The answers to the following questions are neither vulgar, lewd, nor salacious.

# What does a woman do sitting down, that a dog does on three legs, and a man does standing up?
# What is a four letter word, ending with "k," that means intercourse?
# What is so long, and so hard, and sticks so far out of a man's pajamas in the morning, that he could hang a hat upon it??
# What does a cow have four of, that a woman only has two of?
# What is long, hard, and tubular and filled with "sea-men?"
# What is heard almost every day that rhymes with "duck" and begins with "F?"
# What does a dog do that a man steps into?
# What goes in hard and dry and comes out flaccid and moist?
# What is six inches long, has a head on it and is the object of many women's fantasies?

You must speak to a turtle to verify your solutions.

Historical references

During the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission (part of the United States space program), astronaut Wally Schirra was asked by a ground controller whether he was a turtle. Not wanting to use vulgar language while his communications were being broadcast worldwide, he temporarily stopped transmitting while he gave the required response. (from "Shirra's Space", p. 91):

Deke Slayton, a mere 3 minutes into Sigma 7's flight, came on the radio, which was open for everyone to hear, and asked, "Hey, Wally, are you a turtle?". Shirra switched his mike to from live to record and uttered the appropriate response. On the open line, he said, "Rog." [ http://www.astronautix.com/flights/merryma8.htm ]

Later, onboard the USS Kearsarge (CV-33), in front of Slayton, Walt Williams and the other astronauts, Walt Williams demanded to know how Schirra replied to Deke's question. Shirra played the recorder. "Hey, Wally, are you a turtle?" "You bet your sweet ass I am."

Wally Shirra's membership in the Ancient Order of Turtles came up again during Apollo 7, which was captured by the in-flight recorder).

CAPCOM radioed, "Just a minute, Wally. Let's see. Oh, it's a little message to Deke Slayton. A little bit closer Wally. Kind of looks like something about - 'Are you a, are you a --" Schirra acknowledged, "That's right." CAPCOM continued, "Looks like it says, 'Are you a turtle, Deke Slayton?"

Schirra confirmed, "That's right." Eisele added, "You get an A for reading today Jack." Swigert continued, "Here comes another one. Walt, oh, that-a-way, that's the way to turn it. It says, 'Paul Haney, are you a turtle?'" Cunningham radioed, "You'll get a gold star. Perfect score!" Swigert reported, "And there is no reply from Paul Haney there." Cunningham asked, "You mean he's speechless?"

A short while later, CAPCOM Cernan informed Schirra, "Wally, this is Gene. Deke just called in, and we've got your answer, and we've got it recorded for you return." Schirra acknowledged, "Roger. Real fine."

Shortly there after, Schirra asked CAPCOM Swigert, "Have you got Haney's answer yet?" Swigert replied, "No, Haney's isn't talking, Wally." Swigert then added, "Somebody tells me he isn't talking, but just buying." A pleased Schirra responded, "He is buying. Thank you very much. Very good."

This exchange about turtles was a reference to the notorious Turtle's Club drinking club of which Wally Schirra held the title of a Grand Potentate. During Schirra's Mercury flight Deke Slayton had radioed up to Schirra asking Schirra if he was a turtle. [ http://www.earthtothemoon.com/apollo_7.html ]

President Kennedy was allegedly asked if he was a Turtle at a press conference, to which he replied, "I'll buy you your drink later". [cite web
url = http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/turtles.htm
title = Turtle Club Information, Masonic
accessdate = 2008-09-27
author = Brother Denis P. McGowan - Supreme Imperial Turtle (Emeritus) - Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles
last = McGowan
first = Denis
coauthors = Copyrighted © 1999 - 2007 Phoenixmasonry, Inc.
]

References in Pop culture

*In the movie "Master of Disguise" starring Dana Carvey, he says in a scene, "Am I not turtley enough for the turtle club?" [cite web
url = http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0295427/quotes
title = IMDB "The Master of Disguise" Memorable Quotes
accessdate = 2008-09-27
]
*In 1969, Dial Records released the 45 single "Are You A Turtle" by a rock/soul group fronted by Ben Thayer named The Brotherhood, which became a regional hit in the southeast. (Dial label number 4092.) [ cite web
url = http://www.globaldogproductions.info/d/dial.html
title = Dial records label list 1959-1970 link
accessdate = 2008-09-27
]

References

External links

* [http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/turtles.htm Turtle Club information]
* [http://listserv.dom.edu/cgi-bin/wa.exe?A2=ind9902&L=stumpers-l&D=0&O=D&P=78529 More about the club]
* [http://community-2.webtv.net/turtleybysai/AreYouATurtle Turtle Club links]
* [http://ruaturtle.com Turtle Club page]
* [http://www.langston.com/Fun_People/1997/1997AQX.html Turtle Club Riddles]
* [http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=708527 Order of Turtles LinkedIn Group]


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