24 December 2010

An Essay For The United States Army

When I was a soldier, I was reprimanded for showing up to formation in BDUs ready to go to a medical appointment. I received the call as I was getting dressed for PT from the doctor's office asking if I could come in that morning instead of later in the day, otherwise they'd have to reschedule for the following week. I let them know I would, and then called my Platoon Sgt. He didn't answer his phone, so I called again and again and again, and finally left a voicemail and ran to formation. 

He said that because I didn't call him (which later turned into didn't speak to him when he realized I had called and his phone was on silent), I had to be punished and tried to make me give an embarrassing class/speech to the rest of our Company. This is pretty common practice, but most soldiers don't know that they do not have to do it. I wasn't most soldiers.

He then assigned me to write a 5k word essay about the importance of informing your chain of command. This too, is something I didn't have to do, but knew I could have fun with.

I wrote his essay, clocking in at 3,193 words. Took me about 45 minutes, and he never counted, or even read it. But I passed out copies to everyone else in the company and hung a few copies in his office.

This is that essay:

Before you begin this essay, it should be known that all grammatical errors are intentional and meant to frustrate and confuse its intended recipient. The rest of the content was intended to anger said recipient. Unfortunately, he refused to read it, so I have decided to share it with everyone else. Please enjoy responsibly.
 

When I think of the importance of informing my chain of command about appointments I am reminded of a story that my father told me, while I was growing up. It’s the story of a guy that didn’t inform anyone of the things that he had planned on a day to day basis. This is that story.

Kahula Jack was a rambunctious little fellow that loved to live life to the fullest. However he had a bad habit of doing everything sporadically and without warning. He would go off in the middle of the day to the zoo where he would climb the cage full of monkeys and tease them with bananas and ice cream cones. He would then head over to the polar bears and steal their food and replace it with the little rubber vomit gag toys that he would buy at his favorite gag shop “Big Bills Little Shop Of Nonsense” every Tuesday after he finished working at the miniature golf course as a golf ball, which was much better than the job he had before that as a spoon in New England. The polar bears didn’t like the rubber food replacements that he gave them and would become angered with him and the zoo keepers. They went on strike for a while, but caved in when they discovered the secret of life lay within the little pieces of fake carrots inside the rubber vomit. They spent the rest of their days trying to unlock that secret. Sadly, they all died of animeinhalation, which is very common in bears of their stature. They caught it from the moths inside the robes of the mother-in-laws of the zoo keeper’s best friend’s second cousins, which makes it difficult to catch but common none-the-less. When Kahula Jack wasn’t fooling around with the monkeys and polar bears in the zoo or working as a golf ball at the miniature golf course he would be jumping out of windows and eating as much candy as he possibly could. He like to stay in shape so they candy really didn’t effect him all that much. Occasionally he would become distraught with life and go into a daze of confusion and mayhem that would ultimately lead to his falling in love with the woman that designed the bottle labels for Pepsi that we all love to rip off and get mad at for not coming completely off in one tear because there is always that one little piece that has to rip and stay on and leave the part that came off partially translucent and tainted with imperfection! But she did not make the labels or put them on the bottle; she only designed them and made quite a bit of money doing so. Since she didn’t put the labels on herself Kahula Jack was able to love her. However he did try awfully hard to find out who the person that put the labels on was so that he could seriously injure them from her but she wouldn’t talk. But I’m drifting away from the story. They anarchic dazes that he went into caused him to lose his socks from time to time that would, in turn, cause him to lose his temper with himself and his dryer. He had to find a way to keep in eye on his dryer and socks to see if the dryer was eating and/or stealing his socks or if, just maybe, his socks and dryer were conspiring together against him. He tried getting in the dryer with them, but the dryer would get angry and beat him up until he became unconscious. He finally cut a whole in the door so that he could see, but that also angered the dryer and it stopped drying his socks. Finally, one day, he came across Ms. Cherry Wild (she’s the label designer that I spoke of earlier in the story if you remember correctly. If you don’t remember then you should start back at the top and read the entire thing over, maybe even take notes if you think it will help you remember, because if you’re not paying any attention to this story then maybe I’m just wasting my time. Anyway, she’s pretty and she likes legos.). Ms Cherry Wild was the woman of his dreams and held the answer to his dryer troubles! She simply had him fix the whole he had put in the door and apologize to the dryer for scarring it like he did. Then she had him tie strings to all of his socks before putting them in the dryer. He would the tie on the opposite end of the string a board that he hung out of the dryer with the socks and other end of the string inside. Now if the dryer tried to eat his socks he would know! However his chronic athletes foot still didn’t go away (I forgot to mention his athletes foot, but he has it and boy does he have it bad.), which led him to believe that the dryer and his socks WERE in cahoots with one another! After discovering this he confided in Ms. Wild hoping that she would have another solution to his problems. She did not. However, she did have a new hat for him to wear that made him smile more than he had ever smiled in his whole entire life! The hat had a little fish on it that was holding a bowl that was under a table that was on a cloud in the middle of Egypt. Underneath this wonderful picture was written “Egyptian Cereal may taste like fish but it will put you on cloud 9 if you eat it in the right place!” He loved that hat and totally forgot about the evil dryer that had turned all of his socks against him. Cherry believed that the dryer was under the control of Charles Manson, but had no real proof. Kahula stuck by his theory about the VP of S.C. Johnson & Son making a deal with a leprechaun so that he could have supreme pizza’s whenever he wanted without having to pay a delivery fee or having to tip the pizza guy. He always hated having to tip those guys, which is a shame because lots of people make their living that way and you don’t see anyone telling him that they only want to pay half price for his products. Sadly enough, Kahula could never prove his theory. So, the case of the evil dryer and sock henchmen remained unsolved. Aside from having good taste in hats, Ms. Cherry Wild was an excellent florist. She could put together an ensemble of flowers that would make your mother want to buy dance a merry little jig in front of the mall dressed like a keebler elf. Her arrangements were amazing and it was partially due to her experience as a hostess and the Little Debbie factory. One day after her and Kahula Jack had been seeing each other for more than a year; she decided to pop the big question to him. He gladly said yes and asked her what had taken her so long to ask. She said she was embarrassed and he laughed and replied with, “No need to be embarrassed, I love the wiggles too!! I was going to buy the tickets to their show myself but they were all sold out. How’d you get them?” She was so excited to know that they both loved the Wiggles that she did the happy dance of enthusiasm in the backyard of her grandmas neighbor Herbert Von Walrusteen. It was an amazing dance of love that led Herbert to his patio full of onions that weren’t quite ready to be eaten but were cooked up anyway for his wife Maude Von Walrusteen-Boogalike. When Kahula Jack saw Ms. Cherry Wild dancing in the back yard of Mr. Herbert Von Walrusteen and Mrs. Maude Von Walrusteen-Boogalike he smiled and ate some candy (because he loves candy, as I told you earlier). That was when he realized that he was truly in love with this woman that most called Ms. Cherry Wild, but that he had begun to call Grandma Coffee Cup Green. No one else is allowed to call her that so for safety purposes I will continue to call her Ms. Cherry Wild. After Kahula Jack finished eating his candy and watching his lady friend Ms. Cherry Wild dance in the backyard of her grandma’s neighbors Mr. Herbert Von Walrusteen and Mrs. Maude Von Walrusteen-Boogalike he went to the store to buy some cup cakes for dinner that night. The store that he usually went to was closed so he had to go to the dreaded “Lost and Found Food Mart” that no one really liked, but were sometimes forced to go to. He desperately needed those cup cakes so he went on in and started searching for them. He came across many cup cake shaped food items, but none of them were quite what he was looking for. A few looked like they had been made with shoe laces and random wires, bolts, and other parts from a broken radio. He didn’t trust those cup cakes at all. He also didn’t trust the cup cakes that smelled of old laundry and dirty diapers. He suffered through the foul smell of the store until he came across some cup cakes that did not smell like they had been in someone’s gym locker and they did not look like they had come from and auto parts store. He picked these cup cakes up and tried one. They were superb! He immediately bought them and rushed home to Ms. Cherry Wild so that she could taste the awesome goodness that was in these delicious baked goods that he had found in the most unlikely of places! When Kahula Jack arrived home with the cupcakes, that tasted of heaven and smelled of perfection, he put them in the fridge so that they wouldn’t go bad before Ms Cherry Wild got home. Kahula Jack forgot about the cupcakes of heavenly delight while he was eating dinner with Ms. Cherry Wild that night. The next evening when he arrived home from work he found the cup cakes ( acting not so heavenly ) in bathrooms, bedrooms, and every other room in the house. They had completely destroyed the place! They were acting like a dog that was left home alone and started getting lonely and wanted attention so they tore everything up that they could find and/or get their hands on. However, the focus of this story is not the tantrums thrown by these spoiled little baked goods, but the irresponsibility of Kahula Jack ( and, of course, his love of candy and Ms Cherry Wild ). Now that you have an idea of the background of our character, Kahula Jack, I’ll start with the real story. This is the story of why Kahula Jack was fired from his job as a spoon.

Kahula Jack (the guy I’ve been telling you about for a while now. Maybe you should go back and take notes like I suggested earlier, you seem to be pretty forgetful. You got to pay attention, because this story is important and could save your life one day.) was a man of many faces and had many skills. One of his skills was the ability to be the best at what he did. What he did was not an easy job by any means. Oh no. He was a spoon at a prestigious five star restaurant in Upstate New England. Now being a spoon is no where near as easy as you might think. There is a lot of bending and conforming to do. Some people may find it to be degrading, but many a fine person make a good living doing this. Kahula Jack was the best spoon that that restaurant had ever seen. Did I mention the name of the restaurant, yet? I didn’t? Well then, I guess it’d help if I told you, huh? The name of this fancy five star restaurant was The Star Of Earendil Mist. It was such a lovely place, but I shouldn’t be talking so much about the restaurant. YOU want to here more about Kahula Jack. Aside from being the greatest spoon that The Star Of Earendil Mist had ever had the pleasure of employing, he was the also the most apathetic person anyone had ever come across (that is, before he met Ms. Cherry Wild ). He would come into work and be THE best at what he did, but then he would turn around and leave whenever he wanted to. He wasn’t trying to be rude by any means and lord knows he didn’t think he was too good to have to tell anyone where he was going. Bottom line is he just didn’t think before he acted. He would make assumptions in his head that everyone already knew and that he shouldn’t bother them all the time constantly reminding them of the other things that he had to do. But, this isn’t how the staff of The Star Of Earendil Mist saw things. They thought he was lazy, rude, and cocky, for not telling them when, where, and/or what he was doing. It made him look bad. So one day, after he had finished up his duties of being a spoon and had washed up to go home, one of his supervisors came to him. He wanted to know where he had been the day before. No one had seen him all day and no one had ever received a phone call from him. He told him that he was at the zoo ( and we all know what he does at the zoo! That crazy crazy man ) like he was every Wednesday. The supervisor became furious with Kahula Jack, accusing him of trying to “pull one over on him”. He began to yell and scream at Kahula Jack. But our hero ( because he is a hero my eyes and he should be in yours too ) wasn’t phased. He showed no emotion to what was being said. He heard it all but, being the apathetic guy that he was; he showed nothing to let his supervisor know he was paying attention. Once they yelling had ceased he asked if there was something wrong. THAT was not the thing to do. His supervisor became enraged with him. He told Kahula Jack to leave right then and there. So, Kahula Jack did as he was told and went to work on his dryer some more ( remember the evil dryer? It eventually took over most of Eastern Europe and is now on its way to take over Russia and Iceland ) before his favorite show in the world came on. It was a show on Fox about these two kids that were obsessed with internet drama and what people thought and said about them on certain message boards ( which will remain unnamed for now, you’ll have to watch the show to learn what and where it is ). Their obsession became so strong that they started investigating posts and screen names. They would trace ip addresses and whine about private messages and red Chiclets ( you’ll also have to watch the show to find out more about these reputation giving devices. The chicklet is what gives us life and defines who we are. They are controlled by the Chiclets Mafia and we…I mean they, have total power over everyone ) with little messages that would tell them how much they were hated. These messages to them were just to cause drama, and drama they sure caused. Without the drama of these Chiclets and these two characters ( who I will call Section Kate and Eumikeit for now, or at least until you watch the show and discover their real names ). The show is better than CSI and that, my friend, is why Kahula Jack watches it. Fox sure does have some great shows! Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I was talking about Kahula Jack being sent home from work ( which was odd because he was told to go home as he was leaving to go home anyway ). He made it home, worked on his dryer ( this was the time he cut the huge hole in the door to see inside and angered the dryer like I had told you before. Where are your notes? You should have known this.) and then turned on the tele to watch his favorite show ( that I told you about already ) The ICFEP Krew!!! This truly is the greatest show on Earth. Once the show was over her went for a walk down by the volcano that was located about 3 miles from his house and had just recently become active again. He took a basket of fruit with him to sacrifice to the volcano God Susan. Susan was a vegetarian so he had to sacrifice fruit and vegetables. Susan the Volcano God got picked on by the other Gods a lot but she had grown used to it and really didn’t care anymore. Things like that always happen when you’re different from everyone else. But back to Kahula Jack, he went down to the volcano and made the fruit sacrifices to Susan and cried from the sounds of the little fruit voices screaming for mercy. Then he did some jumping jacks for about 20 min. He loved doing jumping jacks because, in his head, they were named after him. Once he had finished he went back home and discovered and message on his answering machine telling him that he had been fired from The Star Of Earendil Mist ( located in up state New England ) and that he would never work in that town again. He went one town over and started working as a golf ball the very next day.

If you’re wondering how this story ties into the subject that I mentioned in the very beginning paragraph of this essay, it’s quite simple. If you do not tell your chain of command about your appointments immediately after they are made, then like this story that lead from one random thought into another into another until you forget where you started, things may happen that will keep you busy and/or preoccupied so that you do not remember to tell them until it is too late. This may cause problems that can get you and/or your supervisors into trouble. It can cause unneeded stress to be added to the other members of your team and it may possibly get you or someone else fired/chaptered out or at least and Article 15. Moral of the story is, always tell those over you what is going on before you get side tracked by something else. Don’t be like Kahula Jack going from one job to another not caring about anything but a girl that designs Pepsi labels.


Jason M. Caldwell
SPC USA,
SSS Supervisor

*Disclaimer* Despite what the introduction and essay may imply, I was not THAT soldier. I didn't cause trouble, complain, or go against authority. I did what I was told, when I was told, without asking questions. I did not, however, allow anyone to walk over or take advantage of me in any way. This particular NCO was known for doing this to everyone, and tried doing this to me right up until the last minute of my last day as an official soldier. Today is that anniversary. Six years since I became a civilian again.

5 comments:

  1. No, but I have one in my wallet that I write random sentences on. Example: "I'm a man, I need beer in my fridge, not vermouth!"

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  2. I'm not sure which I'd rather be. A spoon to always be in mouths or a Golf Ball always being hit by a stick into dark lonely holes?

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  3. It all boils down to two things:

    Do you like being wet and smelly, or dry and sore?

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  4. wet and smelly, definitely. *nods*

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