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Attack of the old guys

Jeff Ackerman, Guest Columnist

A couple of weeks ago I indicated that if I could, I’d enlist today and help my country track down those responsible for killing thousands of innocent people in New York City and Washington, D.C.

But I’m 50 now and the Armed Forces says I’m too old to track down terrorists. You can’t be older than 35 to join the Army.

They’ve got the whole thing backwards. Instead of sending 18-year-olds off to the fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn’t be able to join until you’re at least 35.

For starters:

— Researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex every 15 seconds, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

— Young guys haven’t lived long enough to be cranky and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. If we can’t kill the enemy we’ll complain them into submission. “My back hurts!” “I’m hungry!” “Where’s the remote control?”

— An 18-year-old hasn’t had a legal beer yet and you shouldn’t go to war until you’re at least old enough to legally drink. An average old guy, on the other hand, has consumed 126,000 gallons of beer by the time he’s 35 and a jaunt through the desert heat with a backpack and M-60 would do wonders for the beer belly.

— An 18-year-old doesn’t like to get up before 10 a.m. Old guys get up early just to show we can (and to steal the neighbor’s newspaper).

— If old guys were captured we couldn’t spill the beans because we’d probably forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank and serial number would be a real brain teaser.

If it wasn’t for the age barrier, I’d pretty much get into the Army without a hitch. According to the Army Internet site, I’d need to pass an entrance exam (officially called an ASVAB), but the sample questions I saw weren’t exactly headache material. For example:

A magnet will attract:

a) water

b) a flower

c) a cloth rag

d) a nail

I took a wild stab and guessed, “nail,” knowing they’d probably stick me in some desk job with Army Intelligence after Boot Camp.

If 12 workers are needed to run 4 machines, how many workers are needed to run 20 machines?

a) 16

b) 18

c) 3

d) 60

Let’s see…three workers per machine times 20 machines… errr… hmmm…uhhh …60?

Finally, they wanted to know if I had command of the English language, just in case I had to describe an enemy camp from memory.

Small most nearly means:

a) Sturdy

b) Round

c) Cheap

d) Little

I knew this cheap, little sturdy guy once, but I wrote down little.

Now you know where the first questions come from for the “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” game show.

Boot camp would actually be easier for old guys. We’re used to getting screamed and yelled at and we actually like soft food. We’ve also developed a deep appreciation for guns and rifles. We like them almost better than naps.

The Army could lighten up on the obstacle course, however. I’ve been to the desert and didn’t see a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side. I can hear the Drill Sergeant now. “Get down and give me…er…one!”

And the running part is kind of a waste of energy. I’ve never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

I’m reminded of the story of the young bull and the old bull standing on a hill looking down on the cows.

“Let’s run down there and make love to one of those cows,” says the young bull.

“How about we WALK down there and make love to ALL those cows,” replies the old bull.

Patience is something most 18-year-olds simply do not have. For good reason, too. An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He’s still learning to shave. To actually carry on a conversation. To wear pants without the top of his butt showing and the boxer shorts sticking out. To learn that a pierced tongue catches food particles. And that a 200-watt speaker in the back seat of a Honda Accord can rupture an eardrum.

All great reasons to keep our sons at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off to a possible death.

Let us old guys track down those dirty, rotten cowards who attacked our hearts three weeks ago.

The last thing they’d want to see right now is a couple of million old guys with attitude.

Jeff Ackerman is editor and publisher of our sister paper, the Nevada Appeal in Carson City.


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