Friday, April 11, 2014


Anybody who has worked with the scions of our gifted age will recognize the frustration that surely must have flowed in both directions at conversations like these: A major explaining to two of his junior officers at NORAD (North American Defense Command) in Colorado that, "yes, Colorado has legalized pot, but no, you cannot legally consume it in any way, shape, form, or fashion or you lose your job and go to jail."



"They passed a law sir that says we can legally buy it here so why can't we smoke it or eat it?"

"Look you little twit! It's against federal law and federal law supersedes state and local laws!"

"Well that's not what they taught us at legal school where we were told that we had to meet State air and water purity laws and regulations even on military installations using military hardware! They said State law trumped federal law on issues like that and isn't this an air purity issue?"

Then there is the equal frustration of the master sergeant explaining the same concept to two or maybe three of his young airmen that they cannot legally consume pot even though the great state of Colorado has made it legal within the state. I'm not sure if the young airmen could be more demonstrably obtuse then lieutenants but I'd have paid money to see those conversations because you just know they happened all over Colorado and not just in the military.

There is nothing that can brighten up a day like dealing with such clever people. I feel some pity for the teachers who never really know when the obtuseness is an act or simple innocent questioning, but out in the world, we can tell when our leg is getting pulled and when we're dealing with the real genuine authentic dimwit. And, even if we're wrong, they're still dimwits.

I think it was easier back when up was up and down was down and when the friction in war that Clausewitz referred to was purely man-made with none of the interesting friction that gets introduced by adding grit, sand paper, metal shavings, and drugs into the mix. 

I know that nobody of the current force really quite gets that aspect of old sailor stories. Everything back in the day was a hundred times easier before we got modernized. It was Admiral Arleigh Burke who said, "going to sea used to be fun and then they gave us radios." I had that and Curt's Corollary posted on my office door at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, "going to sea used to be fun and then they gave us computer networks." 

That was kind of untrue. I was definitely of the Arleigh Burke school during all my days afloat. My first ship was a flagship and didn't have a single computer on it when I reported aboard. My second ship was a destroyer with a tactical data system that couldn't network the fire control systems with the air search radar systems. My third ship was commissioned a week before Admiral Arleigh Burke became Chief of Naval Operations and the fourth ship was commissioned 2 weeks after he became CNO. The only computers they had were unique to a very specific type of navigation system. Unless you were in a mine field, you wouldn't know we had even one computer onboard.

It really took the introduction of INMARSAT and POT lines to make life afloat as unendurable as life in a hole in the ground in North Dakota in midwinter.

Still, nobody can reshape reality for us like the young.


Anne Bonney said...

"To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer."
attribution - various

Think about a week on the Maine coast without any connection to the internet . . .

HMS Defiant said...

OK, I'm thinking about it. Why should the next trip to Maine be any different I say... I didn't fly apart then and I may not next time.