Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The joy of pre-deploying

After a week of leave, I'm back at work. Although after last week I think it may be more of a vacation.

I've learned what Torpedo Grass is. It is actually the plant of Satan. You see, imagine a weed in your flower garden. See it? Now what do you do? Oh, that's right, you pull it. Oh, but this is no ordinary weed, no, sir, this weed you pulled is connected to a main stem underground. As you pull the weed, the main stem comes up from the soil and, as it comes out, you realize it's tangled in the roots of your flowers.

You have to get the weed out, but you can't do it without destroying your flowers and bushes. When you think you got it all, you realize that, in the mound of dirt that you pulled up, there's the end of another stalk of torpedo grass. Seven days later, you'll realize your leave is over and you now have to go back to work, more exhausted than when you started your "vacation."

So, back at work, the real one, I've got a new class. Great folks, and they listen. I have to say I don't know if I could teach in a real school, you know, like a high school. When my students talk back to me, I can threaten them. OK, not really, but legally they are required to do what I say, so I can threaten them with that. One conversation went like this:
"Sergeant Allen, guess what we did this weekend?" a male student had said.
I looked up from my podium, setting my pen down. I looked over at the Airman, without saying a word, just staring for a moment longer than it took to make him uncomfortable. "What makes you think I care?" I asked without a hint of smile. And just then, you could see his soul break. It was as if I had kicked his puppy and then told him his mom was ugly. I couldn't help but add, "Just kidding. What?"

As the day went by, I had to go look at my pre-deployment checklist. I think there may actually be 1,000 hours of computer based training in there. Nothing like slide-show and videos to go through all day long. I did one today on using a substance called QuickClot. It's a powder used to stop bleeding. Important to know how to use, right? But how does it work? Well, it forms a gel type substance with any blood, or any other liquid, it comes into contact with. The gel then seals the wound.

Great stuff, but, on one of the slides it says something to the effect of "Do not inhale the dust." Hmmm, I thought, either A) someone is snorting this stuff, and that's bad, or B) something else bad happens. Apparently, if inhaled, it forms a gel with the mucus in your nose/mouth/airways. What a terrible way to go. ("I'll save you, buddy, just let me get this QuickClot on you." Rip open package and cough, cough, die.)

Oh well, I listened and learned. I will never inhale QuickClot. And kids, friends don't let friends snort it either.

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