Harmony County

2011 & 2009 Winner of "Best Humor Column" awarded by the SC Press Association

The Headquarters comedian

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   I got a note from my son, John, who is currently serving his second tour in Iraq. He is in a Civil Affairs outfit and spends most of his time behind a desk as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commandant. (In the old Army the HHC COs were referred to as the Headquarters Company Comedian.)

   The job is a thankless one since all of the troops assigned to the outfit work elsewhere under the direction of staff officers (staff weenies) and senior NCOs. There is no one to command.

   The job is a tug-of-war between the comedian and the weenies. The weenies want their soldiers exempt from all requirements such as guard duty or mandatory training since they are so important to their personal empires and the comedian has to fill in duty rosters and meet training requirements set out by higher headquarters.

   I know because I had the job back in the 1960s when stationed in Germany. I was really POed when I drew the assignment knowing that I would be the only guy on my end of the rope.

   In order to establish what the new regime was going to be like I thought a dramatic gesture was in order.

   Everybody and their brother had a parking slot with a sign indicating their position. I mean everybody. The 2nd Assistant Personnel Clerk, with the highly exalted rank of PFC had a slot. That was enough of that nonsense.

   With exception of the Battalion Commander and the Battalion Sergeant Major I had all of the other signs yanked out and repainted with the message, “If you want a good parking place come to work first. XXXOOO HHC Cmdt.” The war was on.

   According to John things haven’t changed in over 40 years. So he is stuck with the job while the rest of the outfit is out having affairs with civilians. I responded to his plaintive note by commiserating with him. I replied, “Tough buns,” or words to that effect. (I remember that the word ‘tough’ was in the response.)

   In our family if you are looking for ‘sympathy’ you can find it in the dictionary near ‘syphilis’.  By way of example, John’s note stated that in order to stay in shape and to blow off a little steam he has taken up boxing. This brought an immediate response from me and his brother.

   Independently the two of us started up with the “Rocky” insults. I allowed how he had better not go into the mess hall and start hitting the meat because he would need to know more than boxing once the mess sergeant got a hold of him.

   His brother Jim said that he thought he would be a good Rocky aspirant except that he wasn’t as smart.

   So John is getting tenderized by the weenies and holding his end. He’s OK and misses his family and is counting the days. 

     I wonder if there is anyplace in Iraq with stairs like the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. “Yo, Adrian”© 2009, Jim McGowan



Written by harmonycounty

April 17, 2009 at 4:42 p04

Posted in Americana

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