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The Comely Behavior Manual for U.S. Army Generals

 By Janet Josselyn

Generals, thank you all for coming.  In light of recent revelations of a prurient nature, we are gathered here to review The Comely Behavior Manual that you all studied years ago before your uniforms were bedazzled with stars.  Please turn to the chapter entitled, “Don’t Stick Your Pen in the Company Inkwell.”

As you may recall, the last time we discussed this chapter we talked amid the giggling about what the pen and the inkwell represented.  With those concepts firmly in hand, we concluded that the “company inkwell” should be enlarged for those in the military to include “all extra-marital inkwells.”  We were making progress until the discussion descended into whether we should be discussing hotdogs and hoo-hoos instead of pens and inkwells, and as you may recall, I concluded that such terms were not in keeping with the decorum of the conversation.

After a spirited discussion about whether the pen and inkwell were analogies or metaphors, we concluded that they were metaphors that we could use for discussions in mixed company.  Someone suggested that Peter and Virginia could be metaphors as well, and might provide a more pleasing visual than the pens and inkwells.  But I think that we all became uncomfortable because the name Virginia reminded so many of us of the holiday tale, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” and let’s face it, no one wants to visualize Peter poking that sweet, little Virginia with his pen.

With a firm grasp of the metaphor, we broke off into small groups to talk about repercussions of dipping the pen in the extra-marital inkwell.  To facilitate the discussion, we tried to come up with other snappy titles for that chapter of The Manual.  After much arguing that nearly climaxed in fisticuffs, we chose “A Tsunami of Suck” to describe the consequences of an unsanctioned foray into the inkwell.

The happy ending of the morning part of our review session found us in a sensitivity training exercise where we shared our insights into what might cause a General to dip his pen into a slutty inkwell.  As you may remember, we discussed the psychological stress caused by having to wear the same outfit every damn day of every damn year, year after year after year, with almost no possibility of accessorizing beyond ribbons and stars.  Some of you believed that repeated incantations of “Yes, Sir!” was detrimental to the ability to express oneself openly and honestly, especially when you wanted to say, “How about NO, you bossy, little man” or my personal favorite, “Bite me.” 

As you may recall, after breaking for lunch, we reconvened for a heady discussion of the need to eliminate paper trails.  We spoke about how you shouldn’t write if you can speak, shouldn’t speak if you can nod, and shouldn’t EVER put anything in an email.  That goes for Twitter too.  So in the event that the pen wants to say something smutty to the inkwell, it is always preferable to deliver by hand that message.  Or better yet, just beat it out of there and keep your mouth shut and your pen in your pants. 

In conclusion, we want to avoid behavior unbecoming and we want to avoid writing about how much fun it was.  Paper trails have felled many big members of the military, as well as other public figures.  Bear in mind that the pen is mightier than the sword.  The real pen, not the metaphorical pen.

Janet Josselyn is the author of Thin Rich Bitches