One Stressful Morning

~ Clyde Collins ~

     SSgt. Rocky Ride got all over the back of PFC Donald Duty when the PFC showed up at the Poetics Lab one morning without his rank insignia and had to go back to the barracks to get them.

     Back at the barracks the first sergeant spied Duty stepping by in the hall, called the PFC into his office and told him to get a haircut.

     Passing through the lobby on his way out of the barracks, Duty was apprehended by yet another sergeant and was asked when he was going to buy an iron to press the wrinkles out of his permanent-press shirt.

     When Duty made it back to the lab with his insignia on and no money in his pocket for a haircut (let alone an iron), the lab's Historical Incidentals Incubator blew up, sure enough.  The ghosts of Patton, MacArthur, and Sherman emerged from the wreckage of the incubator and started baying like a pack of wolves at Duty.  The ghost of Sherman had a small mountain howitzer with him, leveled at the young inspiration specialist's abdomen.

     A construction worker started up his jackhammer outside the window, added a bit of noise to the situation.

     Ride, Duty's NCO, heartily encouraged Sherman's ghost to fire his cannon.  And the ghost did.  Acrid smoke and a shrill ca-boom filled the room as a gooey ball of work-orders plopped out of the cannon's snout, rolled across the floor and stuck to Duty's foot.

     Needless to say, Duty's heart rate grew sporadic.  His adrenalin level reached a peak high and other bodily changes within him occurred.  And all this adds up to STRESS.

     Ah yes, stress ~ the sum of all nonspecific biological phenomena elicited by adverse external influences (Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary) that are mentally and emotionally disruptive (American Heritage Dictionary).

     Duty was aware of the conventional wisdom about stress ~ adhered to by many doctors and laymen ~ which was simply:  "Avoid stress, take it easy, don't work too hard ~ you'll live longer this way."

     But the soldier who was presently surrounded by smoke and noise and demanding leadership, was also aware of the fact that this advice could be rejected and replaced by another formula: "Freedom from stress is death!  Don't try to avoid stress ~ it's the very salt and spice of life ~ but do learn to master and use it."

     Hmmm, quite a challenge.


a world of no return

and the last secret agent drop-kick:



Howdy Soldier!