A little over a week ago, I was fighting a cold by taking Zicam and watching college football. I also had the laptop fired up. I ran across a post I had missed from A Fistful of Fortnights. It reminded me of something.
When I was in the Army, my first duty station was Ft. Stewart. There I was, a 33-year-old enlisted man in the Army, pulling guard duty. How I got to be a 33-year-old enlisted man is another story for another day.
Since my hometown wasn't that far from Ft. Stewart, I didn't live on post. I lived at home. With the wife (now ex-wife) and kids. Not on post.
So it surprised me when I saw my name on guard duty on the barracks. I casually asked about it and was told that all the soldiers in the barracks had a responsibility to guard the barracks. "But I don't live on post," I said. And I was told that it was my choice to not live in the barracks and that they had a spot for me. My family didn't seem to enter into the equation.
So, finally my night to pull barracks duty came. And I showed up as scheduled for my four-hour slot. At midnight. On a weekend.
I got my instuctions and began guarding "everything within the limits of my post." So, I decided to take my job seriously. So, I walked the area all around the barracks and the parking lot.
The parking lot? The parking lot. THE PARKING LOT!
A plan formed in my evil little mind.
So, on my next round in the parking lot, I decided to check to ensure that all the doors were locked. All the car doors. On every car.
Now, you got to remember that the parking lot was full of cars bought by 19-year-old privates off from home for the first time, making more money than they had ever made before. Not that the Army paid a lot, but it sure out-pays McDonald's.
So, what's a kid with money and no responsibilities (other than being prepared to die for his country) going to do? I'll tell you what. He's going to buy a car. And put a car alarm on it.
Yes, a car alarm.
And almost all of them will do it.
So, when some 33-year-old smart-aleck has to pull guard duty on a weekend for barracks he doesn't live in, he's going to check every car door. Every last one of them.
So, for four hours, I walked around the barracks and parking lot, setting off every car alarm in the lot. After four hours of that, my shift ended.
For some reason, I never pulled barracks duty again at Ft. Stewart.