Normally, by “people” I mean women… because I usually find men boring and because I am not interested in making out with men. In this case, though, I actually enjoy it because of the gender-neutral sense of the word.
Dudes at this club tend to be more relaxed. They aren’t grinding on everything that moves. They apologize when they step on my shoes. They wait in line like civilized individuals.
I won’t go so far as to say that I actually talk to very many of them, but (unlike so many other places) I find them tolerable in general.
General. That word leads me to a remarkable exception and the topic of this blog.
A general, as we all know, is a high-ranking commissioned officer in a military branch. Here in the US of A, generals are only in the army, but in other countries all bets are off and there are generals of the marines and generals of the air force and, presumably generals of trash collection.
I’m not an expert on military matters. It’s true that I was in Civil Air Patrol in middle school, and I learned valuable lessons like how to march and how to wear silly-looking military hats… but I (unlike so many men in previous generations in my family) didn’t sign up for military duty. I’m lucky enough to have had that choice, and while I seriously considered it for a time, it didn’t work out and I’m pleased with how things are.
While I’m not an expert on military matters, I have what I believe is a healthy regard for those in the military. My grandfather served. My father served. My uncle served.
Of course, that explanation might sound like the immortal words of The Office’s Chris Finch: “How can I hate women? My mum’s one.”
What I’m trying to say is that I respect the military. I respect the choice that people make when they decide to serve. But I don’t worship the military. I know that there are lots of assholes in the military, the same way there are lots of assholes who work in digital marketing and write blog entries every six months. I also don’t find the decision inherently more noble than most other professions.
This lukewarm (or maybe lukewarm-plus… it’s not pure apathy) feeling is consistent with most of my beliefs (I tend to argue with, or at least internally disagree with, everyone I’ve discussed politics with… ever) and I would be surprised if it were one that would be warmly received by people from the military. Especially intoxicated guys who are short and chunky and see me sitting at a club with two attractive women.
That’s right, folks—the preamble is over. It’s time for the story.
So… I was at the club. There’s an open air area and I had a chance to have a seat around a table with Tuscadero and Charmin. I’d been there a couple of hours and they wanted to have a smoke, so while I don’t smoke myself, I was more than happy to sit between two hot chicks and talk to them as they had cigarettes.
We were just starting to talk about something (I’m not quite sure what, although I was quite sure that my rum-enhanced brain was thinking I was going to be hilarious) when we were joined by a fourth person.
Which was fine. Not in the “Damn, you so fine, girl!”-fine, way, but it was OK. Tuscadero, in particular, knows a lot of people and when a dude with a funny hat sat at our table and acted like he belonged… hey, it’s a free country.
But it’s only free for people like me to let him sit at my table because of people like him.
(Everything past this point is not entirely verbatim, but I’ll try to keep it real.)
The dude sits down. I expect him to say hello to one of the ladies because I didn’t know him. He says something nondescript and …
Me: Hello, sir!At this point, I was a bit dazed. I didn’t understand how things had gone so off the rails so fast. I tried to respectfully maintain eye contact with the dude, but I could see out of the corner of my eye that both ladies had shifted their seats and their bodies, giving him just about the worst possible body language. Unperturbed, he continued his diatribe…
Sergeant Slaughter: What?
Me: I said, “Hello, sir!” [I might have snapped off a salute there.]
SS: I’m no officer, I … [I joined in at this point because I could somehow sense it was coming]
Me: … work for a living.
Me: Yeah. You’re not a CO. I get it.
SS: Are you sassing me, boy? [Note: he did NOT say that, although it would have been amazing if he did; he said something less colorful but just as angry]
Me: I was just saying hi. And I like your hat. [It was a Federal Civil War-style soft cap.]
SS: [His stare intensified. Shit was getting real.] I spent four tours in Afghanistan …
SS: I had a bullet miss my head by this much… [He indicated the distance by speading his hand and the distance was about five inches from his pinky tip to his thumb tip… it seemed like an efficient, if convenient, distance.]He then placed both of his hands on the table in front of him and took a deep, cathartic sigh and uttered, “I can’t do this right now. I need to use the bathroom. I’ll be back.”
Me: I am glad you’re here. Well… not literally here. [I don’t think I said that last part.]
Me: … ?
He stood up and went over to the restroom and closed the door. Charmin, Tuscadero and I looked at each other in shocked silence for a moment. And then I asked for confirmation that the man was acting crazy. And they confirmed it.
Maybe it would have made sense to get up and leave the table, but before we knew it, he was back. Back in his seat and back to chastising me for, as far as I could tell, not appreciating how much he had done for me, personally.
In the spirit of human companionship—and in the interests of ending the conversation from Hell—I let him know that I didn’t come to the club to get hassled and I didn’t intend to offend him.
We all stood up. The ladies (understandably) fled and I got his name and shook his hand. I thought we were cool, but he had one more gem:
SS: You want to really make it up to me?Carry on, soldier.
Me: Uh… make what up to you?
SS: You want to make this right?
Me: Uh… I guess. How?
SS: You can do me one thing.
SS: Get me some pussy.