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Following Orders… Literally

, , , , | Working | September 17, 2021

Back in the mid-1980s, I was a junior Non-Commissioned Officer that worked across from a Major in a cubicle farm. I didn’t actually work for him — he had several dozen junior enlisted and NCOs working for him — but my desk was just the closest to his.

I was the single person in charge of tracking all computers and peripherals for the unit, and I was writing software and creating databases and procedures for a couple hundred new computers that were to be installed in a different building, so my BS tolerance was fairly low. The fact that I also reported to a full Colonel granted me a bit of leeway in my ability to get away with things.

The major stepped into my cubicle.

Major: “Sergeant [My Name], I need a copy of this floppy disk right away.”

Me: “Sir, can you ask someone else to do it? I’m kind of busy.”

Major: “No, you’re closest, and I need you to do this now!

Me: “No problem, Major.”

I take the disk, walk over to the copy machine, slap the disk onto the glass, and make a paper copy of the disk. I hand him the disk and the paper.

Me: “Will there be anything else, sir?”

He looked like he was about to blow a fuse, but I just went back to my desk and continued my assigned duties. He didn’t say anything else to me, but I heard him go over to one of his NCOs and get the disk copied.

I did have to report to my Colonel to answer the Major’s complaint about me, but when I gave my side of the story, the Colonel laughed. The Major was also told that if he wished to task me with anything, it needed to go through the Colonel.

It pays to be a smarta** sometimes.