Monday, May 19, 2014

Don't Tell Me, I'm Keen to Guess...


Once upon a time I was at a place in my Air Force career where we had to march to all of our meals. No, it wasn't Basic Training, it was something else.

At lunch time they would pipe music over the base-wide PA system (it was a very small base, all things considered). These were the marches one normally hears in the US military. ( I do have a story involving a non-US march at a military ceremony but that is a tale for later.  It involves a "Chinese Hat." Maybe even later this week, I'll have to check with my staff to see if we can free up the resources for such a post. Yes, I am "putting on airs" as I do not have a staff. Unless you count Anya, one of my cats, who often sits in front of the monitor while I'm trying to type. Like right now.)

So there we are, all formed up and ready to march off to lunch. As luck would have it, it was my turn to lead the formation. (Something I am very good at. No brag, just fact. I would have told you a story of drill today, but things are bad enough, what with it being Monday and all.) As I am forming the troops and preparing to give my first command, this comes over the PA system...


That's right, what I knew back then as the theme music from Monty Python's Flying Circus. In fact, that's what I thought it was until moments ago, when I went searching for this...


So there we were, approximately 40 airmen (as near as I can recall) all formed up and ready to march off to lunch. And standing there, quivering with suppressed mirth, is their formation leader (Yours Truly) trying to absorb the absolute absurdity of marching a flight of airmen to lunch to the Monty Python Theme and attempting (oh, so desperately) to muster what's left of his military bearing before one of our "beloved" instructors notices the hold up.

I managed to recover, we made it to lunch and only much later did some in my flight 'fess up to recognizing the music.

And 'lo, these many years later, I use that story as my rather lame introduction to the ever popular "Cheese Shop" sketch. (After some totally gratuitous French, of course.)

Sur ce, je vous donne le fromage de la belle France. Et d'autres lieux. Bon appétit!



16 comments:

  1. So there we are, all formed up and ready to march off to lunch. As luck would have it, it was my turn to lead the formation.

    So... you were the Minister of Silly Walks, then?

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    1. Second Assistant Deputy to the Deputy Assistant Minister to be precise. That was back before the Great Re-Org of '88, of course.

      ICSFTH.

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  2. We did some marching at "A" school ...and even once or twice when the ship was in the yards ...but the only (that would be "onliest" if I were quoting my LPO) time there was music was in Boot Camp.

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    1. Odd, I don't remember much music from Basic. I know there was some at our "graduation" parade, but the rest of the time, I just don't remember.

      FWIW, the thought of sailors marching is almost as quaint as airmen marching. I'm sure the Army and the Marines get a chuckle from that particular spectacle!

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    2. The first command a Petty Officer learns to give is, "Route step, march!"
      It covers a multitude of sins.

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    3. Hahaha. Good one Skip. A very useful command!

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  3. Once upon a time, back at Vint Hill Farm Station, in Virginia, there was to be a retirement ceremony for a commanding officer.
    A specialist, who was on the First Sergeant's S-List, was detailed to set up and operate the PA system, to include finding the
    "proper" music. Well . . . on the day, the entire off-duty roster of people were all lined up, in formation, ready to march out onto
    the parade field. The signal was given to start the music and . . . out poured the opening song from the Beatles "Rubber Soul"
    album. The specialist in charge later explained that no one ever told him just what music to play . . . only to play some music.
    (I really thought that our SGM would blow a blood vessel on that day.)

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    1. That is hysterical. I can imagine that particular specialist wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.

      Or maybe he was. Kind of depends on what his motivation was!

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    2. Oh, he was sharp enough. He'd been on a "I'll do exactly as you tell me and not a thing more." pissing contest with the 1SG.
      This was just his way of demonstrating how much smarter he thought he was. He, eventually, received a General Discharge.

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    3. I kind of figured that. Seen a few just like that. Just desserts had by all, eventually.

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  4. Snerk... Shoulda marched them Monte Python style... :-)

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    1. That temptation was very strong. But the desire to someday retire from the Air Force and draw a pension was higher.

      I did have my flight in tech school goose stepping whilst returning from class one dark evening. But that's a story for another day.

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  5. The only time I marched to chow was Boot Camp and Airman Apprentice Training at RTC Sandy Eggo. When I attended AMH Class A School at NATTC Memphis, we went without a march. I did have the advantage of being a Fleet Airman so, I would have been exempt.

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    1. Again with the Navy marching...

      ;-)

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  6. Keen to guess and so many more. For those who know what you're talking about it's great fun but as Lex had on his homepage, something about those who were seen to be dancing were thought insane by those who could not hear the music. I remember using the words, 'I have a cunning plan' a few times and finally somebody asked me why I kept doing it. Alas, none were familiar with poor Baldrick and the Black Adder.

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    1. Ah yes, the "cunning plan" - I've used that once or twice myself.

      And there are a few who think me insane. It's an image I try to cultivate.

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