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Monday, June 22, 2015


Flags on Harrison in 6-15--Taylor



Chuck Olroski said...

I offer a true & comical story from my 2002 employment as an Environmental Project & Spill Response Manager for TEEM Environmental, Inc. One day, my fellow workers, officially called "Field Technicians" assembled around my office desk, based inside the company's noisy operations garage. My desk was a very popular hang-out!

My co-workers were complaining about having very little project and spill response work to do, and they were sick of being assigned to constantly clean the "shop," and frequently mow the company owner's lawn and wash his car. One terrific and humble Field Technician, the late-Warren Hill, was once assigned to go to the owner's father's cemetery grave, trim surrounding grass, pull weeds, and plant a geranium!

Well, as the guys hung around my desk, I started to indicate how bored I was, having little to do BUT calling potential "customers" who might endure an oil spill, a dead body, and have need for a specialized company to come in and help them. I'll keep it simple as possible, I proclaimed, "This job sucks," and the guys watched me passionately look in the Scranton telephone book, and immediately make a "hail mary" telephone call. The entire town was still angry about O.B.L. having attacked the Twin Towers, and after a few rings, a Sergeant representing the Scranton PA Army Reserve/National Guard answered my call, and asked, "How can I help you, sir?"

I placed the phone on "speaker" and loud enough for all my fellow workers to listen in. I professionally explained to the Sergeant that I was bored & patriotic at my job, and interested in "re-upping" into the Army and going hand-to-hand with the Taliban, for revenge. The soldier complimented me, and was set to put me on hold, and wait for a Recruiter to answer and "talk turkey" with me. However, naturally, first off, he asked how old I was. When I indicated 49 years old, the Sergeant halted and courteously said, "Look Sir, I regret to say you're unfortunately too old for military re-enlistment."

"You got to be kidding me, Sergeant? Hmmph... here our country is in existential danger, and the Army will not accept me and join the War Against Terror?"

By that time, my fellow workers were holding palms against mouths in order to silence belly laughter. To this date, I really believe a few of the good working men were convinced I wanted leave my job and family, and go to war in fucking Afghanistan. A week or so later, I read the Philadelphia Inquirer and found an article detailing how a 50-something ex-Army man was allowed to "re-up" because he had renowned experience as a psychiatrist. Afterward, I telephoned the PA National Guard office, informed the same exact Sergeant about how the Army let an the old shrink join the Army, and complained about how good I can talk with people who have problems, trauma. The Sergeant politely said he'd look into the matter and vowed to get back with me. For the record, he never did.

Must go to a doctor appointment and get a cortisone shot for my terrible allergy. Sorry to rush this goofy tale, my wife's calling me to come and eat supper.

Linh Dinh said...

Yo Chuck,

You should call the Navy Seals tomorrow. (Chuck is 63.) Their number: 888 USN SEALS.

On second thought, maybe you shouldn't, since the laws these days define just about everything as terrorism...


Chuck Olroski said...

Linh: Seems apparent the health of the terror market is improving; earlier today the D.O.H.S. announced that the US is now under the greatest threat ever! Subsequently, despite the fact that I'm an old crab, I think I'll apply for an upwardly mobile Seals position (as you astutely suggested below) and before the terror market goes totally to hell. One matter? If Obama's Joint Chiefs of Staff asks for character references, will you give me one?

CC said...

Well, if Rambo can return to action, why not you?;)


About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), six of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007), Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009) and A Mere Rica (2017), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.