August 04, 2013

Source: Marco Walker

At times such as this, the best retreat is into Russian literature, into the parlor games of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot or the society chapters of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, whereupon one finds that the game hasn”€™t changed.

Moving on: I”€™ve developed a taste for military tactics after befriending a school colleague who is possibly the best commander in the services today. So they say. He offered some tips for life, and it’s only right that I share them with you.

First is the Irish Guard’s selection of hangover cures. This includes the Saint Clemens, which consists of orange juice and lemonade. The Black Doctor is Coca-Cola red and is otherwise known as the Red Ambulance.

Best of all, however, is the regimental approach to the hangover, which takes into account that the only real cure for a hangover is sleep. This is what they do. On a morning when the Commander in Chief is suffering from a hangover and there is no access to booze in the barracks, the drill is as follows:

The Commander sends an SMS to the nearest in command with the single code word “€œHangover.”€ The next in command”€”Officer Z, we”€™ll call him”€”enters the Commander’s office and extracts his spare beret from the top of the Commander’s desk. He places this cap on the Commander’s desk as if to signify the Commander has recently arrived in his office and put down his cap. Officer Z will then proceed to the kitchen, where he will brew a steaming cup of coffee supposedly for the Commander, then place the cup and saucer on his desk.

This way, if the Big Boss walks in and asks, “€œWhere’s Commander Y?”€ Officer Z will say, “€œHe was here a moment ago,”€ pointing to the steaming cup of coffee next to the Commander’s cap on his desk. “€œHe’s probably in the armory or something,”€ a loyal Officer Z will vouchsafe. This ruse can be continued as long as necessary, sustained by fresh cups of steaming coffee brewed and positioned on a half-hourly basis, giving the impression that the Commander was here just moments ago.

The armed forces have much to teach us. As in Brazil, you never know when you might need to to extricate yourself from various traps. Always park your car with the nose facing forward from the parking space. That way you can truly make a speedy getaway if need be.

One more tip. You can tell the difference between a real soldier and a wannabe soldier by the way they navigate a map. A true soldier will indicate the route that is to be followed by using a pine needle or any similar precise and delicate pointer that may be at hand. He will never illustrate the route with his finger. He won”€™t smudge a map with a fat thumb, clumsily obscuring half of the routes. The whole business is more refined than you realize.

It’s bedtime. The Chianti puts one to sleep. The wild boars are grunting in the woods, the cicadas are on a lullaby repeat, and the night is warm.





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