Having the Life You've Always Wanted (1 of 6) by M. Kenneth Lyon
This content is part of a series.Having the Life You've Always Wanted (1 of 6)
M. Kenneth Lyon
September 20, 1998
His sergeant noticed it first. Strange behavior for a buck private. He watched this buck private go across the grounds of this army post there and he would stop and pick up a piece of paper, look at it, look disappointed, mumble something to himself, and discard it. He followed him around a bit further, and he picked up another piece of paper. In fact, it didn't seem to be a particular kind of paper, any paper, any size, crumpled, flat, blowing in the wind, stuck up against the building. He would review it, look disappointed, mumble something and move on. Well, the sergeant got closer still because he wanted to know what was going on and he got very close and the next time the buck private picked up a piece of paper and look disappointed, he heard the buck private say, "That's not it." And he kept doing this repeated pattern over and over the entire camp. Well, the army sergeant, hard-nosed veteran that he was figured he needed to get to the bottom of this, so he positioned himself in front of the buck private and said, "'Ten'hut." Immediately the buck private sprang to with a snappy salute. And the sergeant want to know immediately why he was picking up pieces of paper, looking at them, and saying 'that's not it.' The buck private didn't say a word. Could not get a word out of him. That's insubordination, young man. Didn't seem to affect him. Finally, out of frustration, the sergeant dismissed him. "At ease, go about your business." Immediately the buck private started looking at pieces of paper everywhere, picking them up, looking at them. "That's not it" and discarding them. What's a sergeant to do but report to his superior officer? The Captain got involved, brought the young man in, had conversation with him--it was a one-way conversation--the young man would say absolutely nothing. But in the captain's office when he saw a piece of paper, he picked it up, ...
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