Black Hawk Rising

, , , , , | Right | February 26, 2021

In 2006, while deployed to Iraq, a Black Hawk helicopter went down and the people on board were killed in the crash. Every year since then, my dad and some of the people who were deployed with them have had dinner at the same restaurant in honor of them.

It’s 2020. The waitress has been working there for years and has served this group before. As she’s setting up a table, a man at the bar stops her and makes conversation.

Customer: “Hey, what’s going on?”

Waitress: “We have a large party coming. They’re regulars and come every year.”

Customer: “Oh, what’s the occasion?”

Waitress: “They all are or were a part of the army. They have this dinner to remember friends they lost in a deployment in a Black Hawk crash.”

Customer: “Oh, wow. Here. Take this and put it towards their tab.”

He handed her $100. The waitress told the group about what happened when they showed up and everyone pretty much had drinks for free!


This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for February 2021!

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Excuse Me Whilst I Delete My Twitter

, , , | Working | February 17, 2021

I’m a new member of the special forces in the military. Which unit and which country, I won’t say.

We’ve just passed the gruelling training course and this is our first day on the job. Our commanding officer, a one-star general, calls us to a conference room and begins giving a speech to us. The first part is the usual “I’m proud that you passed, welcome to the team, and I have high standards, but I expect everyone to be capable of meeting them” speech. 

General: “And now, for the important part. As Sun Tzu said, ‘Know your enemy and know yourself, and you will prevail.’ Now that everyone here is a certified [Special Force Unit] member, I will brief you on our true enemy.”

Everyone leans forward in anticipation.

General: “This is an enemy that is invincible. Omniscient. Unbeatable. At best, we may scrape out a draw. I want each and every one of you to take this to heart. The only way to win is to avoid fighting it. Keep your heads down and pray that it does not notice you.”

A ripple of shock and fear goes through the room. The general is speaking with such conviction. He believes that this enemy is invincible; that is rather surprising. We start trying to anticipate which country it is.

General: “Yes, you all know which enemy I am referring to. It is our nemesis. The bane of our existence. It is…”

He takes a deep breath. The room is utterly silent. Everyone is frozen, rapt with attention.

General: “Social media!”

Silence reigns for ten seconds.

Me: “What?”

General: “I am serious. This is the one enemy we cannot shoot dead — the one we can’t beat.”

He started up a slide show showing all sorts of fellow soldiers in compromising positions, beginning a lecture on the importance of good PR, behaving well, not doing anything, even when off duty, that could compromise the image of the corps. He reminded everyone that the walls not only have ears, but they have eyes, cameras, and microphones and proved that one civilian with a smartphone is enough to cause major budget cuts and extra regulations.

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You Must Shoes To Use Your Brain

, , , | Working | February 12, 2021

It’s day one of the mandatory military training that every male in Singapore has to go through. We’ve been issued our new kit, but clearly, they used the measurements from our pre-enlistment checkup. At least two years ago. Needless to say, a lot of stuff doesn’t fit.

Sergeant: “Boys, let’s save some time. Try to trade with each other first before we go down to return the gear that doesn’t fit.”

My shoes are too small, so I try to find someone with bigger shoes to trade with. Alas, the problem everyone has is that their stuff is too small, not too big, so the trading is failing.

Me: “Hey, [Sectionmate #1]. Your shoes are too small, right?”

Sectionmate #1: “Yeah. Wanna trade?”

Me: “Something like that. See, mine are too small for me, as well, but yours are about my size. So, how about you give me yours and trade mine in?”

Sectionmate #1: “Huh. Good idea. Deal.”

I take his shoes and he takes mine. Later, when the sergeant calls everyone to line up with the stuff they want to resend:

Sergeant: “Hey, [Sectionmate #1], how come you’re here? I saw you and [My Name] trade shoes just now.”

Sectionmate #1: “Both of us have shoes that are too small. But mine fit him just fine, so I gave him mine.”

Sergeant: “So, does that mean that his fit you?”

Sectionmate #1: “No. His feet are smaller than mine, so his shoes definitely don’t fit me. I’m taking his down to exchange.”

Sergeant: “Uh-huh. So then why did you swap if they don’t fit?”

Me: “His shoes are too small for him, but they’re pretty much my size, so I took them off his hands. He’s taking my shoes down because they definitely don’t fit him. We traded to save me the trouble of going down myself.”

Sergeant: “So do you need to go down or not?”

We went back and forth for quite a while until we finally managed to get the idea into his head. Meanwhile, the rest of the boys were muttering things like, “Why didn’t we think of that?” Is trading such a hard concept to wrap their heads around?

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Hellfire Is What You’ll Get

, , , , , , , | Working | February 5, 2021

Several members of the IT staff are ex-military, but I’m not. This has led to a lot of pranks and jokes between the IT techs.

I notice a technician passing through a hallway one day when our printer isn’t working.

Me: “Hey, [Tech], printer two is down again.”

Tech: “Ugh. We need to get that repaired for real.”

Me: “I’m putting in an order for parts for a few new monitors. Want me to add anything?”

Tech: “Yeah, add in, um… a new AGM-114.”

He leaves without explaining what that part is. I dutifully submit the order with “Part: AGM-114” and “Purpose: printer repair.” Ten minutes later, an IT higher-up comes storming into our office waving my order.

IT Supervisor: “What smarta** ordered a Hellfire missile for the printers?!”

We are no longer allowed to order parts from IT by serial number only.


This story is part of our Best Of February 2021 roundup!

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Yeo, Man, That Joke Was Too Easy

, , , , , , | Working | January 18, 2021

A Yeoman in the navy is a person that performs office duties, whether a man or a woman. During the 1980s, most offices used IBM Selectric type typewriters; they use a font ball to type letters, and if you want to change font, you change the font ball.

I am sitting in the ship’s office one day with a couple of others waiting to go over our annual evaluations with my division officer. There are two yeomen working in the office typing reports. One is male and the other female.

Male Yeoman: *To the other yeoman* “Do you have an OCR font ball?”

Female Yeoman: “No, I think we have just the two balls between us.”

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