You know what really grinds my gears…?
know… The people that, regardless of what story you have just told is
going to be nothing in comparison to what they or their best friend’s
brother’s sister’s roommate once did at Brown University that now makes
your story seem insignificant.
I joined the Army, my father prepared me for this inevitability, as he
had spent over 20 years in the service himself. He had endured the
ridiculous nature of this ritual.
I figured he was embellishing a little.
Nope. Not one bit.
was 22 years old when I enlisted, which in a pre-9/11 Army made me an
“old man” in basic training. Most everyone in my platoon was 18 or 19
years old. For some reason, however, everybody in my platoon had given
up lucrative scholarships to play football for Big Ten schools or had
gotten the maximum $40,000 cash bonus that the recruiting commercials
always talk about. They also dated the homecoming queen and drove
ridiculous cars that, if I’m not mistaken, are now being used in the
“Fast and Furious” movie franchise.
That’s how ridiculous these “one-upper” stories would get.
years ago I had jaw surgery to correct a birth defect and a severe
under-bite. When I went to my boss to take some time off from work for
the operation, she proceeded to tell me all about how much worse her
surgery was going to be and how she was going to be back to work in just
three days, but she was going to give me the two weeks I was asking
for, just to be nice. Her surgery was to have her wisdom teeth taken
out. I still have the 14 screws in my jaw. On the coldest winter days
here in Maine, I swear on my father’s grave that I can feel the metal in
See what I just did there?
“one-upped” the wisdom tooth removal by making my post-surgical
experience seem horrible and traumatic. (Seriously, though… The second
my wife gives me the okay that we can move to Texas, I’m putting our
house on the market.)
all honesty, most everybody has done this at one point or another in
his or her lives. I’ve caught myself once or twice and put myself on
notice. I’ve found that since then, I’m nowhere near as interesting as
the people that I meet on the street that were in the Marine Corps Recon
then transferred to the Army Special Forces and rounded their careers
out in the Navy SEALs. I simply can’t compete with that.
But this one time, at band camp…..