Uniforms by Kelly Crigger

Updated: December 7, 2009

btn-kelly-uniformsUniforms by Kelly Crigger

Gene Simmons is a narcissistic introvert who oozes old-guy-trying-to-be-young skeeziness with death hungrily watching over his aging frame. But when he donned his stud-riddled body leather, Pimptastic high heels, ghoulish makeup, and battle axe bass to front KISS, he was as close to being a God on earth as Rock and Roll has ever seen. He was a growling, intimidating, fire breathing, groupie-mongering man’s man who you simply didn’t fuck with for fear of him throwing you through the portal of hell and into the River Styx. But even Simmons freely admitted to being a completely different person once he removed his makeup and returned to reality.

So here’s the quandary: does the same thing happen to Soldiers? Do we act differently in uniform when we know we’re representing something bigger than ourselves? If so, does that also mean we lose those standards when we lose the uniform?

We’ve all seen the recently retired soldier sporting a fresh new soul patch and a gut that eclipses his or her view of their genitalia. They walk around rubbing their bulbous bedsores like Santa Claus and repeat the mantra, “I never used to be this way.” In reality they were fat mines waiting for something to trigger them. They secretly saw their military career as a race with the 20-year mark as the finish line where buttons popped and work ethic failed. Their uniform was the only thing positively influencing their behavior and once they lost it they turned into obese assclowns.

Here’s where it gets personal – I work in an anachronism of bureaucracy-a DoD agency that’s roughly 35% military and 65% civilian. But around half of those civilians are former military. They once had standards of military bearing and passed (I assume) a PT test every six months. Yet every day I see them committing some of the laziest acts that would make Kirstie Alley’s Nutrisystem commercials seem credible.

You see, our building has two sets of glass and steel front doors. One set is opened normally-by grabbing it and opening it (go figure). The second set has a special feature-a handicap button that opens the door when you press it. Genius, right? For the handicapped, yes. For the perfectly healthy with 100% of their physical faculties at their disposal, no.

Yet every day I see physically able people forego the normal doors, push the button like lab rats expecting a reward of cheese, and enter the building after they open automatically. Twice now I’ve even held the regular doors open for people who pass me by and push the handicapped button. How lazy do you have to be to bypass someone holding a door open for you and go in a handicapped door when you’re not handicapped?! Ironically, almost none of the handicapped people in my building use the special door anyway. They’re respectable citizens who’d rather not be pitied and use the regular door so no one feels sorry for them. Amazing.

I have a simple fix for this. I’ve hooked up one of those old TA-312 phones to the handicapped button and built a hunting blind thirty feet away. When an able bodied person touches that button, they’re going to get a dose of death row electric chair voltage…or at least the few volts that I can create by feverishly turning a hand crank.

This isn’t the only atrociously lazy trend. I work on the third floor and have to go down to the basement to eat lunch and almost always use the stairs (if you know anything about me, you know about my…extracurricular activities in stairwells). Once in a while I take the elevator when my bunions haven’t been massaged or I need to hear the sweet sounds of Norah Jones. Invariably someone with two perfectly good legs will get on the elevator on floor 2 and ride it down to floor 1. Seriously?! You have to be galactically lazy to ride the elevator down ONE FLOOR!

I have a present for these folks as well. It’s called silent but deadly. I’ve vowed to let the air in my colon build up to the rupture point and then ride the elevator down three flights solely for the purpose of floating an air biscuit the second someone gets on and presses a button one floor below where they embarked. In fact, I’m not even going to hide my cheek ruffling and may push out a cloth ripper, just so they are very clear about my disdain.

Gene Simmons would be proud.




  1. corinne

    December 8, 2009 at 8:45 am

    I receive the RU emails. Anyway, again, I just rolled in to work, do not have breakfast today, but am surfing and reading my personal emails. The Gene Simmons thing cracked me up because its spot on and also I agree with the point of your article in general, not just for military vs ex military, but for the population in general. I see alot of people my age (52) and younger who seem to give up and act old, become incapacitated with ailments, become overweight and unhealthy, because they do not stay active, or take the elevator instead of walking down one flight of stairs as you pointed out, etc. Anyway I need a coffee so perhaps all my synapses aren’t firing yet, but …that’s my two cents.

  2. Dale

    December 8, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Kelly…you are a dead spot on! When I see people press those buttons, it annoys the piss out of me. It is the equivalent to parking in the handicapped space. I thought I was only one who noticed this, as an ex-military man working for as a federal agency contractor..the amount of douschery I see on a daily basis is mind boggling.

  3. Curt

    December 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Kelly, you have inspired me- I’m on the hunt for a TA-312 of my own. I just have to figure out how to hook it up to shock shit out of the ass clowns that park right next to the sign that says “no parking in this area”…

  4. Kelly

    December 9, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Awesome. They’re old and hard to find, but deliver a helluva jolt.

  5. Elias D

    December 9, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Curt: Recommend garage door AIR tripwires for parking spots, rigged to a feeler lead that will drag the underbody of the car, then a charged puddle underneath the driver’s door/ When they step out they complete the circuit. Especially if they’re wearing open-toed shoes 🙂

    Kelly: I think the corresponding lack of positive peer pressure, i.e “Hey, Fatty McTubberson, you were looking slow at PT this morning but you sure got to the Donuts in the Chow hall fast.” plays a factor too.

  6. Matthew P.

    December 10, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Guilty as charged!

  7. Doug Fetters

    December 10, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Major Kuffel would do serious bodily damage (even at 75) to those that rode the elevator or parked near the building. It truly was a thing of beauty to watch.

  8. corinne

    December 14, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Oh shoot. I apologize for my post earlier. I just read your bio.

  9. Susanna

    December 15, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Totally loved the Gene Simmons “narcissistic introvert” – you gotta give it to him – he says what’s on his mind…
    In regards to a change when the uniform comes off ie. retirement..I fully agree with you. Something happens not sure what.
    Situation: A couple years ago, I was really embarrassed when I was waiting for a connecting flight in Tokyo when 5 US Army contractors (visibly recognizable as retirees on their “Retired Army”caps,belts or shirts) were sitting in front of me in the waiting area. Loud, obnoxious and fat. (a total shock seeing the tiny Asian travelers next to them)ALL of them.
    I moved as far away as I could. Not saying that every one is like that but this is how I picture all retired-now-contractors types.

    So, do your plan: let it rip 😉 if that gets them walking.

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