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The army: An Opera

25 August 2012, 09:23

The SADF, now defunct had a personae better than anything William Shakespeare could ever come up with. We had everything from the mad to the army Einstein who could take anything apart then assemble it incorrectly. We had the sick, lame and lazy all rolled up into a single hot-dog. Usually these with those maladies could get the entire platoon into extra duties by the presence of a grandpa powder paper laying on the floor.     

On many an occasion we had the guy who just mentally flipped out and pursued his own agenda despite what corporal or staff had to say. These manne were usually sent for observation and returned to us again fit until the next attack. Take Tjert for example:  He would wake up in the morning with pains here or there and every morn it was elsewhere. So he would lie in bed riding out his pains and when we returned from breakfast not fit for Percy, he would demand that we fetch his grub which never materialised and what did materialise was a rather moerige corporal literally in his battle dress. and helped Tjert out of bed by use of size 12 military boots. Tjert did not have an appreciation to personal hygiene and subsequently he saved the military and Escom a packet in electricity and water. One day Tjert went to see a doctor in Pretoria and on return he presented us with a bottle of brandy minus 3 tots.  Tjert was not a bad ou after all.     

Then we had a corporal who said he was an onsetter in Germiston. We could never figure out what an onsetter was. This guy had worked out the perfect scheme to stay on awol which exceeded  the 7day leave period.      

My favourite corporal worked as a dog-catcher for a municipality. Very efficient was he. He could lure a dog out of any enclosed yard which he done with alacrity. Then he became a spietkop and terrorised the automobile fraternity to depths of despair.  The motor-bike brigade used to track him then when he is least suspecting it they would fly past at full throttle. Willie, we will call him, took up the challenge and gave chase. The brigade would assemble just beyond a bend in the road and when Willie saw them ahead he had a change of mind. And intentions. Willie joined the army as a PF and held the rank of a sergeant in the military police corps. He became the much hated dog-catcher-cum-spied cop-cum cop. His main ambition in life is to see troepies in DB (Detention Barracks) and as many as possible.     

And so my sojourn in the army approached finality and I was told to pack my bag and suitcase, collect pay and bugger off home and was reminded not to wear the uniform.  And that I did. Hell you miss your mates.    

I returned to work and a few weeks later there is a knock on the front door. This was during my lunch break. I open the front door and guess who is towering like goliath there? Yes sir, Willie and he looked like one of his muts got away. But no he passes me a note which proclaims the military institution has overpaid me on my exit by the princely sum of R6 - 00 and he in his capacity as military policeman has come to fetch it. I did not have R6 - 00 immediately and offered him a lift to the bank, draw the money, pay him and return him to his motorbike standing in the road.  He turned my offer down. I told him I will then go draw the money and pay it in at the military admin offices the next day. He thought that was a great idea and left. Last time I saw him, he was teaching military policemen to march. ALL NAMES ARE FICTITIOUS.      
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