Lee is a friend of mine, but in all fairness, he took advantage of the fact that he was a private to be lazy and to do something really stupid. He was on trash detail that day, so he tossed the three or four trash bags from our site into the back of his HMMWV (Humvee if you will). It was usually a routine mission, it entailed him driving to the trash pit (a smoldering hole in the ground that looked like the entrance to hell) and tossing a few bags into a hole. Today would prove to be anything but routine.
He arrived at the trash pit and discovered that it had been cordoned off with red tape. The hole had been filled in and the fire extinguished. As an intelligence analyst, he didn’t take long to deduce that the trash pit had been closed. However, as a private, his laziness kicked in and he felt obliged to avoid looking for the new trash point. He stood there for a minute deciding what to do. Inside his head a dialogue between all of the different “Lees” was playing out…
Lee: “Hmmm…it looks like the trash point is closed. However, I haven’t been told anything about this. Perhaps I should go back to the site and ask where the new trash point is.”
Lazy Lee: “But…it will take me 10 minutes to drive back there and ask where the new site is…then it will take 10 or 15 minutes to get to the new trash point, and then another 10 or 15 minutes back to the site. Do I really want to waste that much time? I have three bags of trash.”
Stupid Lee: “Hey, look, there is a pile of trash outside of the red tape…maybe that’s the new trash point?”
Smart Lee: “But, it’s not in a hole…and it isn’t on fire.”
Observant Lee: “True, but wasn’t that the mess hall trash truck that just pulled away after dropping off tons of food waste and other trash?”
Stupid Lazy Lee: “Yeah, I guess so…surely the mess hall wouldn’t drop trash in the wrong spot. Besides, even if they did, I only have three bags, no one will even notice them in that pile of waste.”
So, Lee had convinced himself to drop the trash bags among a mountain of trash that he suspected was a rouge trash heap. He rationalized his doubts straight out of his mind. He hopped out of the truck and tossed three bags of trash into the pile. He tossed his cigarette onto the ground and crushed it with his boot then looked up to see a red SUV rolling down the driver’s side window.
Oh Shit I’m Fucked Lee: “Oh Shit! I’m fucked!”
Lee immediately recognized the large Pacific Islander behind the wheel as the Brigade Command Sergeant Major. “Come here, soldier”, the sergeant major said. Lee walked over and said, “Yes, Sergeant Major?” “What company are you in?”, the sergeant major asked. As an aside, due to an event to be told later, my platoon did not have a good history with brigade sergeants major. Lee knew better than to mess around with this guy…lying just wasn’t an option. Lee immediately responded, ” Delta Company, 311th MI.” The sergeant major said, “Tell your first sergeant to come to my office immediately.” He rolled up the window and the red SUV drove away.