Occasionally, I receive a comment to the effect that my acronyms are confusing, and my correspondent has been unable to divine their meaning. (which would be why I have a tab captioned “Abbreviations, Acronyms, Jargon and Terms of Art”). Perhaps it might be entertaining (well, I might be entertained!) should I review how that particular preamble arose.
Something on the order of 40 years ago, the magazine Soldier of Fortune had an article about “War Stories”. Near as I can recall, from the mists of time, there were three essential elements of any good war story.
First, the Obligatory Disclaimer: “This is no shit!”
Second Required Element, The Required Preamble: “There I was, fighting disease and saving lives….” (In the SOF formulation, it was more along the lines of “fighting communists and defending Freedom…”)
Third Required Element, The Compulsory Thematic Element, wherein The Narrator is a HERO, of Olympian proportions, overcoming impossible adversity.
So, there I was, seated on the bench (yes, reminiscent of “The Group ‘W’ Bench” of Arlo Guthrie/Alice’s Restaurant fame) outside the Department Doctor’s office. The preceding evening, while carrying some soul out of their house on West Boulevard, the gusts had lofted some speck of debris into my eye, and I had reported same to my supervisor, who had sent me to ED and those worthies had sent me home for the evening. In order to return to duty, I had to be cleared by the Department Doctor.
I was seated among a batch of firefighters, and we all were swapping stories of how we had come to receive orders to report here. This fellow slipped on wet pavement and had wrenched his back, another had injured his knee, and was only awaiting clearance from the department to return to duty, since his orthopedic surgeon had released him post operatively.
The next guy to tell his tale clearly had been schooled in The Grand Tradition of Firehouse Stories, and rolled right into his story. “Yeah, we caught an alarm, and the first floor was pretty well involved. We knocked it down with the deck gun, and started an interior attack. So, there I was, fighting fires and saving lives, and the floor fell in! Dumped my ass into the basement! Everybody was pretty excited, until they dragged me out, and found I was only banged and bruised up. The chief sent me to the hospital, they sent me home, and now, here I am!”
My turn. “I was on a run on The Boulevard, and some dust got blown into my eye…” (“….and they all moved away from me on The Group ‘W’ bench…”) “…and the lieutenant ordered me to go to ER, and they put me off for the night. I thought that it was overkill, but, what are you gonna do?”
They all moved back, and one offered, helpfully, “Kill a morning outside the department doctor?”
Yep, pretty much.
2 thoughts on ““This is no shit….””
Further elaboration on the SOF theme, and their comments.
As every good fairy tale (magical, not the other) tale starts with ‘once upon a time…’, every good war story is, ‘hey, there I was…’.
Elements of truth for both may be just the same.
The really good war stories start, ‘hey, this is no shit…there I was…’.
Again, alignment with reality is optional.
But what’s the point if that will ruin a good story?
Very nice, and superior, restatement of things.