The Good NPC Shepherd


Somewhere in Tennessee, powerful men behind locked doors are messing with our minds. The Naval Personnel Command will deny the existence of any such organization, but I’m sure it’s there. Its one-and-only job, sanctioned at the highest levels of government, is to crush your ego.

It was probably created years ago, about the time they were starting up the CIA after WWII, with an innocuous statement like, “Let’s not let the military guys get too full of themselves”, and before you know it, a super-secret team was created.

And I have proof! Well, not proof, per se, but evidence. And the evidence will lead you to the truth.

1. Short tours. Corporate jobs can last decades; military tours are so short they have to put a time stamp on the orders. Result: The service member can’t get too good, or too comfortable in a job before it’s time to move on. (Ego check)
2. Good job/Bad job. Any good job is followed by a crummy one. Shore duty in Hawaii is followed by sea duty on a forward-deployed oiler, that sort of thing. What do you suppose is the most common destination for a departing Commanding Officer? Yep, staff duty, complete with cubicle. Coincidence? I think not. Result: The ego bubble bursts into flames like the Hindenburg on propane. (Ego check)
3. Bad job/Good job. Just when you’re ready to throw in the towel, just when your dignity screams that you’ve had enough of a lousy job, they dangle another good one in front of you. Result: You swallow your pride, kowtow to your detailer and humbly accept the orders…and the cycle continues. (Ego check)
4. The more you know, the less you get to do. Remember those recruiting ads, where the troops are riding on rubber boats, climbing mountains, jumping out of helicopters? Who are those guys? They’re the young guys. Old guys don’t get to do that any more. Old guys have to WATCH the young guys have the hands-on, cool jobs. Result: Envy. Then guilt for being envious. (Ego check)

You see? It’s all by design.

I can picture them there in that windowless, smoke-filled room, perusing service records and speaking in hushed voices. One could argue they are a necessary evil, and that the results speak for themselves – heck, military veterans pretty much run the country nowadays – maybe it’s because they’re grounded, well-rounded, and don’t take themselves too seriously.

OK, there’s that, but I just wish they’d come clean and admit they’re doing it. My ego demands it.


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