Morale: Toilet Humor


June 22, 2010: Despite the American defense budget of over half a trillion dollars a year, the U.S. military is actually undergoing cutbacks. Troops in combat zones still get all they need, but budgets for maintaining bases, and other less critical functions, are being cut. One of the items being cut, is some of the cleaning staff for office type buildings. The troops who work there are now in charge of the cleaning, and that is having some interesting side effects. Most of the troops don't like the new chores. For the last two decades, the military has been hiring more and more civilians to do routine maintenance. This enabled the troops to spend more time on purely military things, like training. It had gotten to the point where the troops got lots of practice cleaning toilets and barracks in basic training, but after that, there was less and less of it. Often none at all.

The new policy is seen by most NCOs (who came up in the old days, when the troops did a lot more cleaning, all the time) as a good thing. That's because cleaning duties give the troops an opportunity to work together in a less tense environment than they encounter during training. Training was often for life-or-death situations. Cleaning is a much less stressful undertaking. The younger troops see this as more of that cruel NCO humor they have to endure. Then they notice that, while cleaning, you can laugh a bit and clown around. As long as you get the job done. It's dumb work, that doesn't require much mental activity. Sure beats being at the rifle range or doing combat drills.



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