Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Walking Oxymoron

A walking oxymoron is having an otherwise blissful and much needed Sunday morning sleep rudely awakened by a call from your friendly army officer asking that you be "activated for the Silent MOB" by xxx GMT in some faraway army camp.

A walking oxymoron is an army personnel not really coming to terms with his status as an army personnel (albeit for one day only).

A walking oxymoron is not knowing if a greenish sack, found among numerous other sacks in the forgotten corners of the storeroom, could indeed be the Full Pack listed as one of the major items needed for MOB.

A walking oxymoron is having to confirm the identity of the said Full Pack, standing at a mere 33cm, complete with photos via MSN, with a surprisingly patient friend. Anyway that's what friends are for, helping you sieve through full packs from mere rubbish. Thankfully, his message after seeing the photo was, "OK! All ready to go!"

One can never be too sure. I had always remembered Full Packs to be big macho backpacks modelled after those mountain climbing Deuters. Here, a Full Pack is seen with a shoe and my beloved Crumpler side by side for perspective.

A walking oxymoron is having to spend 1 hour of packing, 30 min of swearing, another 30 min of cab journey, 10 min of trekking through vast army wasteland, before acknowledging and completing your activation in...5 seconds.

A walking oxymoron conscientiously packs all the required items below:
• No 4 shirt/ trousers x2
• PT short/vest x1
• Shoes x1
• Slippers x1
• Green socks x2
• Shoebrush/kiwi x1
• Grease x2 (not too sure the army caller meant briefs instead. Anyway I reckon lubrication to be more important than anything else in the world)
• Toothbrush/toothpaste x1
• Soap x1
• Torchlight with AA batteries x1
• Insect repellent x1
• Field pack x1 (what is that?)
• SBO x1
• Water pouch x2
• Toggle rope x1
• Jack knife x1 (for opening up jackfruits, doubtless)
• Helmet with army camoflauge

only to realise that he could just as well pack pockets of air and nobody would care.

A walking oxymoron prefers to be safe than sorry but ends up feeling sorry for himself, after learning that the "market rate" for a silent MOB with Full Battle Order actually means a half-pack of Full Pack, complete with 8 Days, FHM and an iPod with batteries. No helmets or SBO please, unless you want to look like a moron.

A walking oxymoron is a soldier in peacetime, a weekend activator, asked to be ready for combat at the snap of fingers, tasked to defend his motherland against imaginary foes, and you wonder why he always ends up looking like a moron.