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    Making A Bad Impression

    , | Japan | Crazy Requests, Military, Politics

    (I am the operations manager of an overseas military TV and radio station. In place of regular commercials, we run locally-made information spots. We get feedback through an email system, mostly complaints about stuff out of our control, such as TV shows and music selections. A few months ago, we got an email from an irate listener complaining about a radio spot advertising the base library, where one of the producers did an imitation of former President George W. Bush. He was livid about the disrespect to our former Commander-In-Chief. I responded professionally, explaining we often use humor in our spots to make the information memorable, and the impression was fairly innocuous. He kept emailing back more irate, insulting military broadcasters, questioning our patriotism, accusing us of communism, etc. Finally, he came to our station to personally confront me. The following exchange occurred in our lobby.)

    Irate Marine: “Your excuses are just that! The ‘humor’ of that imitation is offensive and disrespectful! How dare you demean the former president!”

    Me: “Well, he didn’t seem to think so.”

    Irate Marine: “… What?”

    Me: *points to framed picture on the wall* “See that?”

    (It’s George W. Bush in our production room laughing with a young Marine.)

    Irate Marine: “He came here?”

    Me: “Years ago, I’m told. See that Marine in the photo? He’s the one who voiced and produced that spot. That photo was taken while he was playing the commercial for The President. He apparently has a better sense of humor about himself than you do.”

    Irate Marine: *walks out the door, mumbling* “Well, it’s STILL disrespectful!”

    Yukon Not Believe This Juan, Part 2

    | Richmond, VA, USA | Canada, Military

    (Canadian Army Reservists go to Fort Pickett in Virginia to train with the National Guard. I am in the last flight out of the U.S. and back to Nova Scotia. I am in my uniform, waiting for to be processed through security when a fellow traveler approaches me.)

    Traveler: “Thank you so much for protecting us! We are so proud of the bravery of soldiers defending the United States!”

    Me: “Thank you ma’am, but I’m not an American. I’m from the Canadian Army.”

    (She looks confused, so I point to the small Canadian flag on my shoulder.)

    Me: “You know, your friendly neighbours to the north?”

    Traveler: “Oh! Mexico!”

    Yukon Not Believe This Juan

    Military In-Action

    | USA | Books & Reading

    (I work in the library at one of the Military Academies. As such, 90% of our students are military members, all in uniform. A student walks in immediately following me as I unlock the doors.)

    Me: “We don’t open until 7:30.”

    Student: “But I need to print something out.”

    Me: “The printers aren’t on yet, and have no paper in them. Come back at 7:30.”

    Student: “Not even for your country!?”

    Me: “No…”

    When Common Sense Goes Naval Gazing

    | New York, NY, USA |

    (I serve on a Canadian Naval vessel, and while on an exercise our ship comes alongside in New York and offers tours to any civilians who wish to see the ship. I am on duty when a group of Americans come on board for a tour. At the end of the tour, one gentleman comes up to me.)

    Tourist: “Excuse me, when does the ship leave?”

    Me: “We’re in port for another two days before we head back to sea, sir.”

    Tourist: “But we’re here today. Can’t we take the tour now?”

    Me: “I beg your pardon, sir? Didn’t you just take the tour?”

    Tourist: “We saw the ship, but when do we go to [town the ship is named after]?”

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry sir, but the tours are of the ship only.”

    Tourist: “But when do you sail to [town name]?”

    Me: “Well, we actually can’t, sir, because that town isn’t on the ocean.”

    Tourist: “Well, that’s stupid! How are we supposed to sail there? Never mind, where is the ship going next then, and when do we have to be here?”

    Me: “Well, if you’d like to watch us leave, we will be shoving off around 10 o’clock on Sunday, sir.”

    Tourist: “And where are we going then?”

    Me: “Well, I can’t disclose where the ship is sailing next due to operational security, sir.”

    Tourist: “Then how are we supposed to get back?”

    (Thankfully at this point the man’s wife jumps in.)

    Tourist’s Wife: “This isn’t a cruise you moron! We just came to see the ship!”

    Tourist: *to me* “Well why didn’t you say that? Are you Canadians all stupid or something? No wonder we beat the s*** out of you in the war! If you didn’t surrender to everyone that waved a gun at you, you probably wouldn’t be so stupid!”

    (The tourist storms off the ship.)

    Tourist’s Wife: “I…um…yeah. May I have one of those free hats, please?”

    When Judgment Is Clouded

    | Scotland, UK | Crazy Requests, Military

    (We give weather forecast information for Royal Air Force aircrew officers for fast jet flying.)

    Caller: “Hi this is flying officer [name] with [squadron]. I need the weather for 5 hours time on the west coast.”

    Me: “So that’s the forecast pressure, wind and cloud cover?”

    Caller: “No, I don’t want the forecast conditions. I want the actual weather for 5 hours ahead.”

    Me: “I can only do actuals for what’s happened, but I can give my best forecast.”

    Caller: “No, that’s not good enough. I don’t want forecasts. I want to know what’s going to actually happen!”

    (Someone else takes the call.)

    Caller 2: “Hi this is [squadron] navigator. Sorry about that. Can I get the forecast conditions for him, please?”

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