Shaking Off The Blahs

~ Clyde Collins ~

     The ringing alarm clock plowed through his Monday morning dreams.  Pvt. 2 Donald Duty reached out and smacked it.  The clock went airborne, crashed and broke.  "Oops," sleepily muttered Duty.

     While donning his military uniform, Duty wistfully thought about his favorite girl friend a thousand miles away, became so preoccupied thinking about her, that he put on baby blue socks instead of black ones.

     This week the private had latrine detail, so he filled a bucket full of disinfectant and went to it.  The smell of disease-destroying chemicals was so strong after Duty was done, that the most daring roach would not go near the latrine for a year.

     Later, after Duty had run off to the lab at TAMC, the barracks sergeant entered the spotless latrine to inspect it.  Due to the potent fumes, the sergeant passed out.

     At the lab that day, Duty unintentionally mixed classical lyrics with cartoon dialogue and ended up with gibberish.  This was a no-go in the Poetics Lab where Duty worked.

     "How's that going to inspire our patients to get well, private?" demanded the NCOIC.

     The day dragged on.  Everything Duty touched turned to sand.  He could not walk and chew gum at the same time without falling on his face.  And his morale buried itself in a hole six feet under.

     As the sun sank, the forlorn private was sitting in the mess hall with his head in his hands.  PFC Denise Daisy, with a tray full of good Army chow in her hands, sat down next to him.

     "What's wrong, Donald?" she inquired.

     And Donald replied, "I don't know.  Lately everything I do is wrong.  I can't even put my socks on right."  He tried to balance a single pea on his fork and the pea fell off.  "See!"

     "What you need to do, Donald," said Daisy with a deep furrow of sincerity upon her brow, "is get involved in some of the Morale Support Activities around here."

     So Duty did.

     He dropped by the library, found a fine little novel called, "Father Sky" by Devery Freeman.  Later that week it would lay a chuckle upon his lips and a tear in his eye.  And it was going to oil his mind with a contemplative thought... or two... or three.

     In the wight-lifting room, Duty introduced himself to the torture-chamber-like equipment.  He discovered a graceful art of circles and arcs as he pumped out a few.  When he walked out he felt a certain contentment when his skin seemed too small for his muscles.

     On a lunch break, he stood for a long moment on the edge of the pool and dove in.  The cool, cool water kissed a headache good-bye.  When he emerged after swimming six laps, his entire body was played-out and grateful.

     Duty sauntered into the sauna bath next.  Health stunting poisons trickled away in the simulated desert heat.  After 10 minutes of Mohave wonder, Duty wobbled out the door and returned to Hawaii.

     Friday afternoon at the lab, after sampling all those hearty Morale Support Activities throughout the week, Duty single-handedly fixed the broken-down word machine by injecting the perfect adjective.

     The NCOIC, aflow with comradery, threw his arm around Duty's shoulders and beamed, "You're an asset to the U.S. Army after all, private!"



photo above:

Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), Oahu, HI



Health Services Command, HI


secret agent photo:



Howdy Soldier!

Lucinda Williams

"Car wheels on a gravel road"