Blog 1234 – 01.12.2019
A Little More About “The Phantom”
In yesterday’s blog I mention an older more experienced soldier that I was paired with in Vietnam that taught me a lot about how to get along in the military. He had learned quite a few tricks and was always looking to make the military system work in his favor.
He discovered that not only would he get a ten thousand dollar bonus for re-enlisting for another three years in the Army and another tour in Vietnam but that he would be allowed a thirty day paid vacation to anywhere in the world with travel time and pay for those days included as well. He search the travel brochures and found the ideal spot – The Seychelles Islands off the east coast of Africa. What made that destination most appealing to my Army Brother was that the only way to get from mainland Africa to the islands was by a steamer which only ran every thirty days and he timed his arrival and departure to miss the boat and ended up with a ninety plus day paid vacation all on the government dime. What a guy, he was my hero and I learned much about how to survive and thrive in the military from him.
I already shared with those who read yesterday’s blog his plan to make our two month wait for our security clearances the most fun time of our whole tour in Vietnam. I wrote home at the time to my Mom telling her that I was learning how to “skate” which was a term for slacking and avoiding work in the military. She mistook my meaning and wrote back that she was surprised that they even had a skating rink in Vietnam. They did not, that I ever saw at least, but the Phantom and I could have won gold medals in skating for our practiced skills of avoiding and getting out of work.
It is, I believe, a great lie we tell ourselves and others that one has to work hard to get ahead, become rich, and be happy. Lazy people make the best workers because they are always figuring out how to do a job faster and with the least amount of effort so they can have more skate time without losing their jobs. Now that is productivity and the higher one goes up the corporate ladder the less one usually does and the more they get paid. Even in the private sector, the greatest financial rewards go to those coming up with the greatest schemes and inventions for avoiding work, usually called labor saving devices.
I will forever be grateful to The Phantom wiseman I met in my youth that taught me how to skate through life, what a ride. Thank you, Phantom.
Your friend and fellow traveler,