The Colonel

When you work for a large organization for many years, relocate often and frequently travel on business you interact with many people – all kinds of people.  My experience was almost entirely positive.  I found most people I dealt with in my and other Government agencies, private businesses and the public to be conscientious, competent, cooperative and hard working.  However, over such a long period I did come across some that were a bit strange.

I thought it would be fun to write about some of the most memorable ones now and then.

The first one I will call the Colonel.  I call him the Colonel because that’s what he was – a retired Air Force officer who was then working on special projects in our agency.  In his military career he had been involved with the logistics of the Berlin Air Lift.   I had frequent contact with him regarding accounting support for his projects while I was working at our headquarters in Washington.

Until he revealed himself as a wacko I was quite impressed with him.  He was an extremely organized, no-nonsense guy.  He had no sense of humor but was still a delight to work with because he stayed on the issue at hand – no small talk, no bullsh*t.

The fateful day he revealed himself began quite innocently.  We had a meeting in my office about accounting support for an operation, hammering out how the funding was going to be provided and accounted for – the basic boring accounting stuff.  At the end of our meeting I committed to provide a draft of instructions and accounting codes to be used.  I said: “I’ll have the draft ready for your review next Tuesday.  How about we meet in your office at 2:30?”

The Colonel responded: “Tuesday is fine but it will have to be at another time.  I have my bowel movement at 1430 hours.”

I must say that I did a classic  theatrical double take.   😯   I froze, wide-eyed, open mouthed – because I knew he was serious.  I think he noticed the reaction he got from his revelation, because he immediately proceeded to explain – which made it worse.

He told me that he took the waste elimination process quite seriously, and then told me his daily schedule for urination –  in military time!

Needless to say, I was still rather nonplussed. But I was able to gather my wits and ask him what time would be appropriate.

When he left I almost fell out of my chair.   🙄



Filed under People, Reminiscences

6 responses to “The Colonel

  1. naturgesetz

    I’m equally wide-eyed.

    It’s interesting that people can be that in control of the timing of their bowel movements. But I wonder if some other time, such as 0645 hours, might not have been more convenient. After all, what if the general summoned him to a meeting at 1430 hours?

    But since he was certifiable, such thoughts were probably not a concern for him.

    • Ed

      I wondered about the same thing. I imagined his commanding general ordering his fighter wing to commence their bombing run at 0600 and him asking that it be postponed until 0610 because he was scheduled to piss at 0600. I’m sure he would have been scheduled for a psychiatric evaluation.

      The very concept of training your body to eliminate wastes on schedule blew my mind, but I was even more amazed by the fact that he discussed it as casually as one might discuss scheduling oil changes. – as if it were a perfectly normal thing.

      I’m sure he was rational enough to recognize that there were times when he had to go off schedule. When I would think of that I would visualize him looking like a three year old trying to hold it in.

  2. Thats WACKY!!

    One time, I went for an interview at a restaurant, and the chef took a large table knife off of the (set) table we sat at, and used it to pick gunk out of the bottom treads of his shoes the whole time. Wacky!!


    • Ed

      It’s funny, as the interviewee you always want to make a good impression, and then you are exposed to that – – gross!. I’m sure your enthusiasm for the job disappeared quickly.

  3. As a small boy being walked to school each morning by my mother, I had a set time – ten past nine in the morning – to use the toilet. And I did!

    What I would never have done is tell anyone else about it!

    But then – I have a dollop of British reserve of course, just next to the Dundee marmalade on the middle shelf.

    • Ed

      Your secret is safe with me! 😉 However, I am curious. Whatever did you do when the Summer time changeovers occurred? ( I think that is what you call it. On this side of the Pond we call it Daylight Savings Time.) I imagine it was easy to adjust when clocks were moved ahead in the Spring, but goodness gracious it had to have been traumatic when the clocks were turned back!

      Because of the state of shock I was in at the time, it did not occur to me to ask the Colonel.

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