Are you proud of yourself ? Huh? It sounds an awful lot like what my Dad would say to me when I really screwed something up. But the phrase wasn’t used for mundane things like scratching the car or getting a bad grade. No, it was reserved for when my actions had damaged my relationships with family and friends. Perhaps someone had gone out on a limb to get me a job and I either blew it off or just slacked around and got fired. Then my Dad would say the words and that night I’d have to look myself in the mirror, and believe you me I sure didn’t like what I saw.
The person who looked back was unreliable, one who didn’t care about hurting others in his quest for self-satisfaction. This guy didn’t mind causing humiliation to those who had suggested giving him a break. This guy was only interested in this guy – and that’s the guy who stared back from the mirror. A guy with empty eyes and a hollow soul.
This went on until I went into the Air Force and eventually met a person just like me and he became my mentor, but not in the traditional sense. The more I heard this guy talk the more I realized how much I was like him, and I eventually came to hate him. Here are some of the choice apples that fell from his tree.
“I never shoot the tube on my jet. And yes I pencil whip most everything. Screw the pilots! They make the big bucks and hose us every chance they get. So if the jet goes down and they die, well that’s the breaks.”
“Listen, all I care about is me and getting ahead. None of these other m-fer’s are interested in me and they will climb over me to get to the top unless I stomp over them first. It’s survival of the fittest and smartest.”
“Yeah I gave the shaft to the airman. He wasn’t smart enough to see it coming and so he deserved it. Read about evolution and fittest of the species. It’s eat or be eaten.”
I watched this guy do nothing but promote himself to others who were in power and yet clueless slugs. He took credit for others work but did little of his own. And when he did work that was crap he wangled ways of blaming it on his underlings, many of which got frustrated and left the Air Force.
This guy was just a corn and peanut filled turd.
Then one day I looked in the mirror and saw him looking back and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I my heart I heard my Dad saying, “Are you proud of yourself?” The truth was raw and almost unbearable. I was ashamed of myself. That was the day I turned things around.
Am I the best NCO around? Not even close. But I put my own people’s needs above my own and I think that I have their best interests at heart. And I try to isolate them from the daily BS so that they can focus on their warfighting jobs.
But the Air Force still has too many corn and peanut turds floating around in the bowl of blue juice. Take a look at yourself in the mirror. Are you proud of yourself? Would your mother be proud of you? If the answer is no then start working to change because you can of that what you want.
Of course if you like who you are as a peanut and corn turd then please just do us all a favor and reach up and pull that flush handle will you? Nobody likes walking into a latrine and seeing someone else’s turd in the toilet.