No One’s Hero

Is there something in the air right now that’s causing politicians to embellish their military service?  I hope it’s not contagious.  If it were, here’s what I could say in my stump speech:

“I was wounded while in the military during Vietnam.  Furthermore, my actions were so noteworthy that they prompted a special gathering during which I received personal recognition from my unit for my actions and my injuries (you can still see the scars).  It was a day I will never forget!”

It’s true.  Everything I just said.  And if I were campaigning, I could trumpet it just as I’ve described above.  And it would all be completely accurate.

But here’s what really happened.  I was an Air Force reservist during the Vietnam War on a training weekend at a base in Colorado.  I was a clerk-typist and my assignment one day was to help paint an office.  But my co-reservists and I got bored and decided to have what we called an “office Olympics.”  The first event was to jump on to a desktop from a standing position.  A couple of guys successfully did it, then it was my turn.

But when I jumped, the front of my shoes hit the edge of the desk and my momentum caused my shins to scrape against the edge before I fell backwards onto the floor.  The horseplay left  my shins bloody.  I couldn’t find any band-aids to help stop the bleeding, but then I looked out the window.  There was the base infirmary.

So I went to the infirmary where they cleaned the cuts and gave me some band-aids.  But my visit to the infirmary triggered something else:  an official accident report!  And unbeknownst to me, our unit had a long-standing record of no accidents–my stupidity wrecked the streak.  So the next training weekend, there was a special assembly to go over basic safety principles because of what I’d done.  Apparently our commander was pretty steamed.  Oops.

I received no official reprimand for my boneheadedness, but I did get a story I can trot out if I ever run for office.  It could come right after the account of my time at Oxford…

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  • Oh I missed the HIV Testing Day. It was yesterday. Didn’t read this news. Poor issue is my company didn’t help me to diagnosis.