Saturday, September 4, 2010

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

I took our Blazer to a carwash fundraiser today in Virginia Beach that was held by some local Navy Chief Selects. It was a nice day out and I was sitting enjoying the weather. The Chief Selects all had books they were getting signed by other "genuine" Chiefs, Senior Chiefs and Master Chiefs. A female genuine Chief walked past me and a couple of the guys started talking to her. She had been in the Navy reserves for almost 20 years.

These genuine Chiefs had been telling the Selects to not bother with titles, to call them by their first names. One of the guys asked her what her first name was. She answered, "Chief." Ummmm, okay, not to belittle your rank, but you're a Chief in the reserves. Do that job every day, full time, and then you can get arrogant.

The guys say alright and they ask her to sign their books. She sits down to do so and ended up behind me in a lawn chair. Their conversation was fairly boring. After the first guy leaves, female Chief talks to the second guy. This is their conversation.

Female Chief: (Looking in his book, where he has a photo) Oh my God, look at this photo. (She laughs.) You look so young! Is that a picture of you and your mom?
Select: (Laughs at her) No, that's me and my wife.
Female Chief: (Uncomfortable laughing) No, really, how old were you in this photo? It's a really nice one.
Select: (Serious now, not laughing) I was 21 and that's my wife.
Female Chief: (She drops her voice) Oh God, I'm sorry. Don't tell her I said that.
Select: (He drops his voice to match her's) She's sitting right behind you.
Female Chief: (She drops her voice even more) Oh God. If she didn't already hear me, don't tell her I said that.

Yeah, I think it was a safe bet the Select's wife heard that comment, because she didn't look very happy later on, and Chief made a fairly quick get away.

I thought that was a clear cut case of karma.I'm not trying to downplay the role of the reservist in the military, Navy or otherwise, but she came across as a weekend warrior that thought she was better than these guys because she was already a genuine Chief and they weren't quite there yet. She couldn't be called by her first name, and there were everyday genuine Chiefs trying to train these Selects to call them by their first names. Instead, she ends up putting her foot in her mouth. That whole conversation left me giggly the rest of the day.

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