Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

The Quartermaster Controversy


25 Sep

quartermaster

The Quar­ter­mas­ter

samplex

So my pal Joey Hig­gins invites me to stay at his house in Boyn­ton Beach, FL. We do a demo­li­tion-con­struc­tion job for this guy who has no per­mits. We get our first check before I’ve opened a bank account. So I sign it over to Joey.

He takes off for the weekend…goes shoot­ing on the oth­er coast. I watch the house. Feed the dogs. Feed the fish. Brush the pool. When he returns, he does­n’t give me my mon­ey from my check. Next week no mon­ey. Then he wants me out. I say okay, give me my mon­ey so I can pay for my grey­hound reser­va­tion back to DC. He says he paid the bills. All $262.12 of my mon­ey to run his house. My lap­top and two exter­nal hard dri­ves are not suck­ing that much elec­tric­i­ty. Plus there was no dis­cus­sion of expens­es. At least give me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to offer. Don’t just steal my mon­ey. Plus what about the food I bought that he ate… say­ing that does­n’t help out the house… so he does­n’t want to give me my mon­ey from my check. I start earn­ing mon­ey for 3d art done for Tom How­ell’s steam punk com­ic. So Joey lends me the car keys to go get beer. Then reports the car stolen. i spend a week­end in jail. Then have to walk the streets of Boyn­ton Beach till my reser­va­tion date with Grey­hound comes up. Mon­ey comes in from Tom How­ell and Ash­by and Sea­mus to answer my dis­tress call. I spend last week­end in Mia­mi. A $5.00 tri-rail to Mia­mi, $12.99 a night at the Mia­mi Beach hos­tel. a bed, jac­cuzzi, bar, and bath. Refreshed I get to the Grey­hound Sta­tion in Fort Laud­erdale and arrive in DC. Quite an adven­ture. All in all. But Joey Hig­gins in no ras­ta mustafa. All of those at Dupont [Cir­cle] back in the day who warned me of this wannabe were right. just anoth­er wannabe. Thanks all for your friend­ship.

You DO seem to have quar­ter­mas­ter issues, Roland…” I wrote three or four entries below this descrip­tion of one Roland Cur­rie, a six foot six giant of a man and vir­tu­al real­i­ty graph­ics expert with whom I have been acquaint­ed for about twen­ty years, although our rela­tion­ship was near­ly entire­ly acci­den­tal or sec­ond hand, a byprod­uct of a mutu­al friend, Tom How­ell, or How­ell­nymns as I like to refer to him in print.

How­ev­er, I also got an “F” in Deport­ment that quar­ter, and upon my wish was sent to the prin­ci­pal’s office on the last day on school that year since I thought it might be fun. It was, and a bit painful, also, but fun just the same. An expe­ri­ence, a gas, a gag, a goof. You see, I was a straight A stu­dent, and I learned to rebel ear­ly against feck­less author­i­ty…
Robin Slush­er, a pret­ty girl from the North Coun­try I pre­sumed, poked me gen­tly, “Gabriel Thy—what are quar­ter­mas­ter issues?”

In Roland’s case, room­mate and land­lord struggles…go fig­ure, I use a sin­gle world to replace sev­er­al, and then have to explain the stretched sin­gle-word metaphor to the pub­lic thus defeat­ing my orig­i­nal intent,” I obe­di­ent­ly sup­ply.

Haha­ha-go fig­ure! I retired from the Navy and we use that word often but nev­er in that par­tic­u­lar way—I was just curi­ous. Just googled it; you used it in an “Army” way. Navy uses it dif­fer­ent­ly. I was insti­tu­tion­al­ized; sor­ry.

No prob­lem, but as you well know, words are authen­ti­cal­ly extend­ed from their orig­i­nal usage quite fre­quent­ly…” I respond­ed, with a sigh of relief that this word­sling­ing tete a tete was over, adding one more round for good mea­sure, “Roland’s been on both sides of this enter­prise. He knows what I’m talk­ing about even if some of the rest of you do not. And that is not a slam on any of you. You may just not be aware of the entire sce­nario as I framed it. But I too, am sad­dened that Roland is hav­ing trou­bles. I was hop­ing good things for him in Flori­da.”

But no. Some­body else was pricked by the word I had used to describe a con­di­tion I knew Roland was now fac­ing again as some kind of karmic swarm.

His best friend DC “Max” Hugh­es rushed into the area where words only have sub­tle­ty it appears if they are per­ceived and expe­ri­enced that way by the “offi­cial” lex­i­cono­g­ra­phers. He copies and pastes the fol­low­ing:

Quar­ter­mas­ter

Quar­ter­mas­ter is one of two dif­fer­ent mil­i­tary occu­pa­tions.

In land armies, espe­cial­ly US units, a quar­ter­mas­ter is either an indi­vid­ual sol­dier or a unit who spe­cial­izes in dis­trib­ut­ing sup­plies and pro­vi­sions to troops. The senior unit, post or base sup­ply offi­cer is cus­tom­ar­i­ly referred to as “the quar­ter­mas­ter”. Often the quar­ter­mas­ter serves as the S‑4 in US Army, US Marine Corps units and NATO units.

The func­tion of the U.S. Army Quar­ter­mas­ter Corps is to pro­vide the fol­low­ing sup­port to the Army:
—gen­er­al sup­ply (except for ammu­ni­tion and med­ical sup­plies)
—Mor­tu­ary Affairs (for­mer­ly graves reg­is­tra­tion)
—sub­sis­tence (food ser­vice)
—petro­le­um & water
—field ser­vices
—aer­i­al deliv­ery (para­chute pack­ing, air item main­te­nance, heavy and light equip­ment para­chute drop, rig­ging and sling load­ing.)
—show­er, laun­dry, fabric/light tex­tile repair
—mate­r­i­al and dis­tri­b­u­tion man­age­ment

Well, thanks, that was very thor­ough. In the Navy, a quar­ter­mas­ter deals with navigation—that’s why it con­fused me,” offers Slush­er.

I have no choice but to respond to this jolt of author­i­tar­i­an­ism, “What’s your point, Hugh­es? Rock & Roll hard­ly trans­lates to fuck­ing, but there it is, fuck­ing you, fuck­ing me, fuck­ing Elvis…muster your thoughts if you have a point to make. I cer­tain­ly am capa­ble of defin­ing quar­ter­mas­ter as stat­ed in the mil­i­tary pro­to­cols (or Wiki), but I used the word as a metaphor for this mate­r­i­al fias­co that Roland seems to find him­self strug­gling against from the oppo­site side now, not so long after a fias­co involv­ing anoth­er in which he held the con­trols. Uh, the sim­ple notion of man­ag­ing one’s quar­ters, sup­plies, and pro­vi­sions is one of man’s most basic trans­ac­tions.

Got a stick? Poke me. I’m done.”

But true to his nature Max was­n’t done, “Quar­ter­mas­ters, coun­ter­in­tu­itive­ly, do not han­dle quar­ters; lodging/housing.”

To get to the point the cus­tomer ser­vice rep said, “The invoice says returns are SUBJECT to restock­ing fees. ‘Sub­ject to’ means you WILL get restock­ing fees”. I said no it means I “MAY” get restock­ing fees and that she didn’t get to decide the mean­ing of words; that the mean­ing of “sub­ject to” had already been defined. So….I didn’t have to pay.
Are you kid­ding me, I thought. So, true to my own nature, I con­tin­ued to beat the dead horse just to see how much snot would spray across this lan­guage cop boon­dog­gle he seemed gen­uine­ly cer­tain I need­ed in order to improve my writ­ing and not appear to be the fool, “Is Roland Cur­rie not com­plain­ing about lost pro­vi­sions? Show­er, laun­dry? Do puns not exist in your splen­did mind? As I wrote ear­li­er, in Roland’s case, his room­mate and land­lord strug­gles cov­er a lot of ground…go fig­ure, I use a sin­gle world to replace sev­er­al, and then have to explain the stretched sin­gle-word metaphor to the pub­lic thus defeat­ing my orig­i­nal intent. Last time I was a scout quar­ter­mas­ter, I was in con­trol of issu­ing Army issue cots and sleep­ing bags, cook­ing pots & uten­sils, et cetera to my fel­low scouts. Max, you just don’t get it, do you man? This dis­cus­sion reminds me of when I was in the eighth grade. Eng­lish class. We had to write a short sto­ry. I wrote a sports sto­ry, a base­ball sto­ry. I used the word car­om, as in the high fly ball car­omed off the left field wall. Teacher marked my usage wrong, say­ing it was not a word, a made up word. I told her it was most cer­tain­ly a word. I had heard it all my sports-con­scious life. In base­ball, in bas­ket­ball, even in golf. She want­ed proof. I pulled the dic­tio­nary, found the word, showed her, and the entire class, and she still denied me the word because the exam­ple the text gave was “as in the game of bil­liards.” She was very young, and a very pret­ty slen­der red-head who, as I learned lat­er from my moth­er who worked for the US Navy, dat­ed a lieu­tenant sta­tioned there at Glyn­co Naval Air Sta­tion. But she was stub­born, and so was I. Need­less to say, I rebelled, and soon owned one fifth of that class as a five or six of my friends and I sat in the back of the class and played a game I’d invent­ed in the 4th grade, the rest of the year, goof­ing off and mak­ing each our “A” in Eng­lish despite her best efforts to restrain or pun­ish us. How­ev­er, I also got an “F” in Deport­ment that quar­ter, and upon my wish was sent to the prin­ci­pal’s office on the last day on school that year since I thought it might be fun. It was, and a bit painful, also, but fun just the same. An expe­ri­ence, a gas, a gag, a goof. You see, I was a straight A stu­dent, and I learned to rebel ear­ly against feck­less author­i­ty, and you sir, seem to have com­plete­ly lost your good sense in argu­ing this point with me. Guess, I can add this exchange to my mem­o­ry banks. Oops, banks hold mon­ey, and an exchange is where Oba­ma plans to send me to pur­chase over­priced insur­ance. I fear this analy­sis in writ­ing from one’s own nos­trils will nev­er end.”

Robin was begin­ning to feel the weight of the argu­ment upon her own quar­ters, “I’m sor­ry I men­tioned it. It was a gen­uine question—not intend­ed to start a fuss. Hey&—Dave Howard got fired because peo­ple did­n’t under­stand the mean­ing of the word ‘niggardly’…that’s even worse than an “F” in Deport­ment!”

Robin, just because you might have refrained from men­tion­ing it does­n’t mean Max would have tak­en the same tact…”

Tom How­ell was always a deft and absolute genius con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist, but was nev­er much of a writer. Not that I did­n’t think he could­n’t write a fine sen­tence when the muse shed her grace. Quite the con­trary. He held his own on the page, but he seemed reluc­tant to go large, and he might have known that he did tend to write com­mon­ly at cer­tain times when the task required a more spec­tac­u­lar pre­sen­ta­tion. I always sense he must have had some his­to­ry to over­come before he could become a com­pe­tent and con­fi­dant writer.
Roland was not amused appar­ent­ly by the way his thread had dis­si­pat­ed into anoth­er top­ic, as he still con­tin­ued to argue with his old friend who have done him wrong. So he wrote a humor­ous line of clar­i­fi­ca­tion he think I need­ed. “Roland did not have a land­lord. Roland was invit­ed to crash at a “friend’s” house.”

And now you are going to start up anoth­er ruckus, Roland? Those words were used loose­ly to describe what is gen­er­al­ly speak­ing a hous­ing sit­u­a­tion. Okay, I am indeed done. This is stu­pid.” My words again.

Ok, since we’ve total­ly hijacked this post anyway.….your Wittgen­sein quote remind­ed me of when I had to return some wood floor­ing to Lum­ber Liq­uida­tors. I was unsure of the square footage of my house and the sales­per­son said just order a lot and return any extra. So, I did and they try to charge me $100s in restock­ing fees. To get to the point the cus­tomer ser­vice rep said, “The invoice says returns are SUBJECT to restock­ing fees. ‘Sub­ject to’ means you WILL get restock­ing fees”. I said no it means I “MAY” get restock­ing fees and that she did­n’t get to decide the mean­ing of words; that the mean­ing of “sub­ject to” had already been defined. So.…I did­n’t have to pay.” Slush­er was fin­ished.

But Tom was just knock­ing the dirt off his brown shoe act, and inject­ed, “I was invit­ed to crash at Gabriel Thy’s house and stayed on for what seemed like years. I gave him the ben­e­fit of my wis­dom dur­ing many a Black Label fest, prov­ing in a dou­ble-blind test that Black Label was NOT a pre­mi­um beer and “Life was NOT a sub­ma­rine.” Gabriel will be for­ev­er in my debt.”

LOL. Based only on the unas­sail­able notion that life is a bowl of cher­ries. But what about iLife?” ask I, feel­ing the pull of nos­tal­gia, as Tom was the only per­son in this dis­cus­sion with whom I had actu­al­ly spent any amount of sweat, sanc­ti­mo­ny, and sat­is­fac­tion. Or put anoth­er way, spent time shack­led to the same ditch with half a notion of what it meant to be chas­ing and still defin­ing that spec­tac­u­lar pur­suit of hap­pi­ness we learned about as kids and young scouts, he in most­ly rur­al SW Vir­ginia, and I, in most­ly rur­al SE Geor­gia…”

But Tom and I had only recent­ly become recon­nect­ed after a fif­teen year exile dur­ing which we only heard from each oth­er once or twice. I had turned my back on that ear­ly DC crowd for the most part, turn­ing inside, to a near­ly ago­ra­pho­bic state, as my social life went from zero to noth­ing.
“Gabriel has a pen­chant for coin­ing his own words, some­day I hope he’ll be able to bank on it,” remarks Tom.

There has been so such coin­ing here today. iLife is a Mac term,” I respond, think­ing he may have imag­ined I just did it again.

Life is a sand­wich, the more bread…no, no, wait Sub­ma­rine is a sand­wich! I pre­fer 2nd Life any­way,” he pre­tends he’s extend­ing the game. But I’ve had enough. Tom came late to the par­ty, again. Wait a minute, he’s usu­al­ly ear­ly. An entire day ear­ly…

How are you old man? Doing great things I pre­sume…”

I’m in a Writ­ers Group here and learn­ing to make eBooks with InDe­sign 6. Future plans are for enhanced eBooks,” he replies, end­ing the mys­tery as to why he recent­ly want­ed to bury the polit­i­cal hatch­et he and I had been swing­ing the past few months on rare occa­sions. Scorned for my pol­i­tics by near­ly all the old crowd of woe­ful left­ists from the old days, most had just ignored me alto­geth­er. But Tom and I had only recent­ly become recon­nect­ed after a fif­teen year exile dur­ing which we only heard from each oth­er once or twice. I had turned my back on that ear­ly DC crowd for the most part, turn­ing inside, to a near­ly ago­ra­pho­bic state, as my social life went from zero to noth­ing.

The Inter­net, and lat­er, my splash into the not so fine art paint­ing mud pit changed things for the bet­ter. I began to ven­ture out again, but that social sea­son only last­ed for anoth­er three years until the 2008 finan­cial col­lapse and sub­se­quent elec­tion of Barack Oba­ma to the US pres­i­den­cy changed my path again. Only recent­ly had Tom final­ly come aboard this net­work. And after a few bat­tles with each our unmov­able argu­ments, aren’t they all, he was tired of stul­ti­fy­ing pol­i­tics and want­ed to talk writ­ing which I thought was a strange move for him, not the polit­i­cal rot, but his inter­est in dis­cussing this craft you are now read­ing. Makes sense now. Tom How­ell was always a deft and near genius con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist, but was nev­er much of a writer. Not that I did­n’t think he could­n’t write a fine sen­tence when the muse shed her grace. Quite the con­trary. He held his own on the page, but he seemed reluc­tant to go large, and he might have known that he did tend to write com­mon­ly at cer­tain times when the task required a more spec­tac­u­lar pre­sen­ta­tion. I always sense he must have had some his­to­ry to over­come before he could become a com­pe­tent and con­fi­dant writer. I under­stand that Tom, too, has rene­go­ti­at­ed his sur­vival strate­gies, mov­ing his psy­chic inves­ti­ga­tion and motion pic­ture exper­i­ments back to the Smokey Moun­tain rail­road town of his begin­nings, Roanoke, VA. We salute you, Thomas Jef­fer­son How­ell, as you pace along the hardy roads of old pic­turesque Vir­ginia in becom­ing a man of let­ters in some small grat­i­tude to your name­sake, per­haps of note only to a few tar & feath­ered friends, but in the end, as you once echoed the trope from a Doll­house easy chair—Gabriel, when we die we die alone.

My nephew Dylan and his wife Jen­nifer named their first­born son Jef­fer­son, who is a pre­co­cious sun­ny blonde lad now about four, and to this day he answers to Jef­fer­son, when he answers at all.

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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