My life has finally come to this: I have to buy my cat elastic mice not for her sanity, but my own. I find that watching her play with a mouse made primarily of elastic bands is much more entertaining than what I have to deal with on a daily basis.
I am starting to buy them in bulk.
The other day my Soldier went in for surgery. No big deal, some knee problems he has had, oh, roughly since time began but coincidentally didn’t bother him enough until he realized he didn’t have to run if he got himself a profile from a willing doctor. He failed to realize that I don’t accept “Old Man Knees” as a diagnosis and kept sending him back until finally they determined he had a torn meniscus in both knees and a little minor surgery would get him back in action. The “back in action” part seems to bother him more than anything else, or so it appears from the grumpy and skeptical looks he gives me when I mention it to him.
There are simply people in this world who should have joined the Peace Corps or Americorps or Habitat for Humanity to contribute to society instead of the military. I, as I have mentioned, am a big fan of mandatory service requirements, but not everyone is made for the military just as not everyone is made for college. It is just as much a waste of time and money to have someone who only goes to college to drink and party and has no idea what to study as it is for me to have to babysit someone who joined the military when they don’t like to do physical training and clearly should have at least gone into a job field where they don’t have to, say, deal with people. If you join the military, why is it so hard for you to comprehend that I am going to want you to be physically fit? I am not a big person. I do not want to have to carry someone 30 pounds overweight to safety because he doesn’t like cardio. And if you join a job that implies contact with people, don’t expect me to believe you do your job just fine when two breaths earlier you told me you were an introvert who is scared of rank and, in general, groups of people.
It is in my job description, as well as the job description for the sister job of my official title, that we deal with people. Human is even in one of the titles. What introvert looks at that job title and goes, “Yeah! That one!” Because I know what the recruiter is saying, instead of convincing them to become, say, a pharmacy technician. They are saying, “Thank goodness this guy won’t be MY problem in a field like that…” while he snickers filling out the paperwork. And then the Army keeps sending them to me.
This comes up, and forces me to resort to elastic mice, because this week I had to give this person his quarterly counseling. Normally I have to provide three sustains and three improves in our little blocks of goodness. I had real trouble coming up with the sustains. I think I had three moderately not-as-mean sentences, so I counted those. The counseling took over three hours. There is a saying about excuses that I frequently use that is not for polite conversation. He gave me plenty and I believed maybe one. There is also a not so polite saying about sympathy my first sergeant has used from time to time. The Soldier failed to find mine during the counseling, despite me explaining where it could be found in the dictionary.
And that was more towards the beginning of the week. The remainder of my time these days is supposed to be spent juggling my regular work duties, of which there are many, with an online version of the first phase of my next non-commissioned officer academy. My warrant officer was kind enough to remove even the spoon from my coffee mug for fear I might try to jam myself in the eye with it while watching the online lessons. There are only so many classy videos about sexual assault you can watch in a day. I have finished, in three weeks, one fifth of the course, which puts me woefully behind schedule and my warrant and my first sergeant are threatening to tie me down and force it on me. I point out that it does have the benefit that it makes anything and everything else at work immensely more interesting.
And so, to keep what little of my sanity remains, I spend about three dollars every few weeks on elastic mice. The cat is only entertained for several minutes unless you jiggle the thing around, but that is still several minutes of my day I am not considering checking myself in for anger management classes.