Repurposed parking meter

Just an anecdote. Names and locations changed around a bit. And just so we're clear; I am not nor have I ever been a member of the military.

Dinner at Subway on a Saturday night isn't ever really glamorous but it was it was one of the more economical ways of eating if you aren't inclined to prepare a meal yourself. I had just exited and was about to make my way home when a Native American approached me. Slightly slouched and unkempt as if suffering from a hang over, though he clothes were not overly dirty. I figured he might ask me for money and he didn't disappoint, although his method of asking surprised me.

"Hey I just got out of the military, just waiting for a friend to pick me up. Can you spare some change for a meal though?" I shook my head no. Even if I had change I probably wouldn't have given any. He muttered darkly about ungratefulness after he had served his country, and that that point something very odd struck me. More then his messy hair that seemed a bit too long to be permitted by military grooming standards, his teeth were badly decayed as well; not missing or broken, just decayed. The military, for all it's flaws, offered a decent enough dental plan, and servicemen that didn't take full advantage of it were either foolish or ignorant. Still though, maybe I was judging him too quickly.

"Which unit did you just come out of?" I asked him, turning to face this so called soldier. That made him pause for a second and I could see the wheels turning in his head almost like he didn't expect me to ask a question back.

"The [city] one." Well that was a conveniently vague answer! Our fair city is home to a few reserve units. The nagging doubt I had felt before was turning into outright suspicion. Still though, there was still a thin chance... I had some rudimentary knowledge of our military; if he managed to answer the next question right, his dinner tab was on me.

"Oh, the 99th Infantry right? How's Col. [Anon Nymous] doing?"

"Good! Good!" He answered with an enthusiastic smile. It disappeared a second later. I wouldn't go so far as to saying he looked frightened, but something must've tipped him off to the fact that he had stepped onto a land mine. I had lied and he had utterly failed to realize it.

He didn't say anything after that. Probably holding onto what was left of his dignity when I said, "There is no Col. [Nymous]," and left him there, in what I presume was indignant humiliation. There was no '99th' infantry unit (they went by another name), and the 'Col.' I had spoken of was in actuality an OCDT in the RCAF.

I can't say I was overly proud of that moment. Perhaps he was just some fool down on his luck. But I never really felt any shame for it either; I had known people that had earned the uniform that they wore, and hearing him sully it for petty change... perhaps it's not right of me but it did incense me that he would make a claim that he had no right to.

/r/pics Thread Parent Link -