This Commanding Officer Really Nailed It

, , , , , | Working | May 18, 2021

One of the most annoying things in the army is the inspections. You have to shine your boots, cut your hair, iron your clothes, wash your clothes — you do NOT want to know how many soldiers don’t wash their uniforms — mop the floors, sweep the floors, brush your teeth — again, you do NOT want to know — clip your fingernails…

Long story short, there’s a whole laundry list (literally) of things to do, and because we’re guys, we never do anything until the last twenty-four hours or so before inspection.

My platoon made it out okay. But then, after we were done, our commanding officer came in.

Commanding Officer: “I have good news for everyone. Our order for new dividers finally came in. I need Section 11 to go outside and bring it in. Section 9 will remove the old dividers. Section 13 will assemble the new ones.”

You know that old joke where the military always goes for the cheapest bidder? It’s true. Our computers are secondhand 2002 models. Our chairs are falling apart, and instead of getting replacements, we’re forced to cannibalise broken chairs for parts to repair the dwindling number of less broken chairs and dig up cheap plastic ones from storage. And instead of actual cubicles, we have styrofoam dividers between our desks, held over the gap between them by ice cream sticks stuck through them. We’re even so cheap that once we ran out of ice cream sticks, we used old pens instead.

Finally, after an eternity of putting up with disintegrating styrofoam, we have new dividers.

The new dividers that we got are plexiglass, which means that they have an adhesive paper covering stuck onto them for protection. Which means…

Commanding Officer: “Section 13, what’s the holdup with the dividers?”

Me: “Ma’am, none of us have fingernails right now. Did you really have to schedule the inspection today?”

Commanding Officer: “Uh, oops. Right, in hindsight that was not a good idea.”

Me: *Sarcastically* “You think?”

Commanding Officer: “Sorry.” *Sighs* “Pass me that. I’ll peel the paper off.”

We eventually got a system working. The people with fingernails, pretty much only our superior officers, would peel off a corner before passing it to one of us, where we would peel off the rest.

Commanding Officer: “Good work, everyone. Again, I apologise for the inspection this morning. As was pointed out to me, it was a very foolish timing. As an apology, I will give you all one hour to smash up the styrofoam boards.”

Platoonmate #1: “Really? We’re not recycling them or something?”

Platoonmate #2: “Who would want them? They’re all falling apart.”

Officer: “And a lot of them have classified information written on them, so we will be destroying them anyway.”

Commanding Officer: “So go destroy them, boys!”

Everyone shrugs and starts smashing stuff. Section 9 carved up the most intact boards into weapons and tried to murder each other. Section 11 balled up the adhesive paper into a ball and used the boards for target practise. Section 13 embraced our inner Kung-Fu and made a game of smashing them apart with the most absurd martial arts moves. Even the officers joined in on the fun and acted as “judges” for our impromptu events.

Commanding Officer: “Did everyone have fun?”

Us: “Yes, ma’am.”

Commanding Officer: “Was that sufficient apology?”

Us: “Yes, ma’am.”

Commanding Officer: “Good.” *Pauses* “Because you now all have to clean up the mess.”

She then walked off with the rest of the officers, leaving us behind, smirking as we all protested and complained about betrayal.

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