What is worse than a drunk soldier with too much skill and too much time on his hands? How about three very drunk soldiers with too much imagination and time on their hands.
So there we were. In paradise. No literally, paradise. Honolulu, Hawaii for an 18 day training exercise. It was three days before we flew back home and EndEx was at noon. So I and some buddies decided to celebrate a successful exercise with enough beer to drown an elephant. And some rum. And some vodka. And some whiskey. And some more rum… well you get the idea. At sometime between 1700 hours and two days later we were getting bored with just drinking.
So we started betting each other to do funny, and stupid, things. You know, bets like, “I’ll bet you $5 you can’t jump that ten foot long picnic table without touching it”. Well I and a friend, we’ll call him “James”, are both climbers. He for his job, and me for fun. We bet James he couldn’t climb to the second story balcony of our hotel in less than a minute. Boy was that a mistake, after placing stakes and putting our money where our mouths were, the climbed to the second story balcony, in 35 seconds.
Not to be beaten I bet them I could climb to the top of the building, some thirteen stories tall, and I could do it in no more than ten minutes. We’ll I played them up, and there was a sizable sum of money sitting there. As there was also a sizable sum of alcohol in my system (I drank all the rum) I was just drunk, and stupid, enough to attempt the climb.
Now when I say attempt, I mean I set a dangerous pace and did some very stupid things to climb the building. Had I been sober I would have probably killed myself. But as I was drunk I succeeded in climbing the building, inside the time allotted, and as soon as I got to the roof loud cheering erupted below. It seems everyone heard us making the bets and had come out to watch me either succeed or kill myself trying.
When I said hotel, it was really a military building, with the first ten floors run as billeting and the top three floors were set aside as dorms. Which also meant there was a belligerent E-9 in charge of it all. Well, as I accepted my approbations I heard the unmistakable bellow of a pissed off E-9, directly behind me. You know the one, it has a Southern drawl and starts with “What in the sam heeeeeeeeeeell did ya think yer was doin’!” And it goes down hill from there. This particular E-9 had spent time in all five branches of the military and had picked up some truly amazing curses and insults along the way. I got called things that would have a marine drill sergeant taking notes. Fortunately, it was about this time my exertion, and that last bottle of rum, caught up with me and I blissfully passed out.
Two days later…
I woke up to find myself standing in the airport with all my belongings, including a small revel drum I had somehow bought along the way, to my first sergeant yelling at me for being a complete moron, and that self same E-9 standing between me and the exit. He was smiling, not a happy smile, but the evil smile that makes raw recruits wet themselves and have nightmares for a week.
Just before getting on the plane the E-9 walks up to me with that evil smile and takes me aside. In a soft voice he says, “Son, I know what it is to get drunk and do stupid stuff, but that took stupid to a new level. I don’t ever want to see you back in my building again. By the way, here’s your winnings.” And he hands me a wad of cash about three times bigger than I remembered.
For my escapade I was counseled, sent to an alcohol education course, and banned from billeting on that base. But I also made $498 in bets and earned the respect of those buddies of mine. Now whenever I say “I can climb that…” they just smile and say, “I know you can, but lets not bet on it.”