by OPOVV, ©2018

(Nov. 29, 2018) — “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the place where learning is the product and entertainment is the byproduct. That’s right, you’ve tuned into ‘The Pulse of the Nation.’ Hello, my name is Roving and I’ll be conducting on-the-street interviews, right here under the awning across the street from the railroad station. Excuse me, sir, Roving here for ‘Pulse,’ the ever-exciting show that reveals what bugs our neighbors.”

“Hello, Roving; my name is Paul and we read the transcripts whenever they pop up in The P & E. There’s something I’ve always wondered: is this show on the up-and-up? I mean, is there any of this fake news business going on? What I mean is that some of the stuff seems a little farfetched, if you know what I mean.”

“I’m with you all the way, Paul. And to tell you the truth, I’ve often wondered the same thing myself. I’ll tell you this, though: it is educational. I mean, think of all the accepted clinical terms that psychiatrists use that we use in our everyday speech. Bet you never knew we were so smart, right?”

“Well, now, I must say you got me there. Why, just the other day I learned that if someone is ‘off-the-wall’ they’re really out there. I like that Vietnam Vet and his companion the best since I was in the military myself.”

“Oh, really? What branch?”

“I’m really not at liberty to say, since I signed a nondisclosure statement. I was in a special unit that was pretty much hush-hush.”

“Now you got my curiosity up, Paul. Were you in intelligence or secret spy stuff?”

“You could say.”

“Were there any special requirements for your job? Did you have to take an exam or pass any tests?”

“Well, yes, I suppose so, but I didn’t think of it as difficult. I mean, it was pretty fun, actually.”

“How long were you in for?”

“I was a 20-year man. Would’ve gone for 30 if Trump didn’t win; he would’ve shut the program down in a heartbeat.”

“Wow, you were in for 20 years? And you said it was all fun? Where were you stationed?”

“Oh, we were stationed all over, wherever we could get beer.”

“What does the availability of beer have to do with your time in the military?”

“Because that’s what we did: drink beer.”

“Hold on, I’m not sure I’m understanding this right. What do you say we throw in a commercial so I can regroup?”

Christmas Ain’t No Time for the Blues” (2:39)

“And we’re back on our corner interviewing Paul, a veteran who drank beer. Does that about sum it up?”

“You hit the ‘keg on the head,’ as we used to say.”

“So – and I know there’s certain things you can’t say – you drank beer as part of your job? Is that what you’re saying?”

“Easier said than done, Roving, believe you me. You see, I was in charge of the operation. Here’s how it started: I was a newly-commissioned JG and I was brought into a room where this guy said he was from the Department of War and offered me a special secret job.”

“You mean he was from the Department of Defense, don’t you?”

“You know what? I asked him about that and he said it’s exactly the same except for the name that they try and fool people with. And he said if I want to lie to myself, go ahead and play make-believe. So, as I was saying, he offered me a job that I honestly couldn’t refuse. When I joined up I had my sights on being the captain of a destroyer; I mean, if you want to drive the sports car of ships it’s hard to beat a destroyer, right? So this job was so over-the-top I couldn’t refuse, so I took it and had a lot of fun.”

“So you took a job under the auspicious expectations for what, to have fun?”

“Well, there’s that, but I believed it was a project worthwhile, so I took it and, I think, I served my country well: I got promoted to Commander and received a Good Conduct Discharge.”

“Go on with the story that you can’t tell.”

“I was ordered to pick twelve good men from the enlisted ranks, so I chose those who showed high academic potential and who were high school athletes in some capacity, preferably cross-country and track. So we were sent to different military bases around the world; I mean, we started at a Navy base in San Diego; next was an Air Force base in Mississippi; Army in Germany and so on. This lasted for 20 years with, I might add, some pride. The same men that I chose at the inception stayed with me for every one of those 20 years.”

“I never heard of such a thing. What was it that you guys did?”

Photo credit: Bru-nO at Pixabay

“It was our job to determine if beer tasted better if made cold from the refrigerator or from a tub of ice.”

“I’m speechless. You mean us taxpayers paid 13 men for 20 years to visit different military bases to determine the drinkable temperature of beer cooled by ice vs. a refrigerator?”

“Yes, that’s quite correct.”

“Well, don’t keep us in suspense: which method of cooling beer finally won the contest that lasted 20 years?”

“It was a draw.”

“Well, you heard it first. I’d have thought the ice would’ve won out. I remember a hot summer day and an ice-cold beer: best drink I ever had in my life. Anyway, our time is up and so, on behalf of the crew, I’ll be thanking you for watching or, if your cable company doesn’t carry us, for reading the transcript of the show: Goodnight.

“Interesting, wasn’t it? And the government wonders why we don’t like paying taxes. So the program was shut down because Trump would’ve shut it down if they didn’t, am I right? Of course I am. Kind-of emphasizes the difference between Socialism and being responsible, doesn’t it? Burger time: my treat.”

Jason Bourne Theme” (3:56)


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