…It was almost lunch time. I had been there almost 3 hours now.
Not long now they assured me. Just a final interview and then I could leave.
“Just go into that “Interview Room,” the secretary said ” and the interviewer will be in there in a second.”
I went into the “Interview Room,” sat down and waited looking at the various pictures on the wall: tanks, airplanes, soldiers, ships, a whole arsenal of military scenes, wow, impressive.
Another man in another style of uniform suddenly came in and sat down at the desk in front of me. He put down a stack of papers on the desk’s surface.
“So young man” he began “what do you want to do?
“I wanna join the Navy.” I offered
“Okay, and what do you want to do in the Navy?” he asked
“I wanna be a Boatswain’s Mate.” I replied for I had seen the Bogart movie “Action in the North Atlantic” and I remembered him, Bogart, talking to a Boatswain’s Mate.
“Well now, that’s great, but I have your test results here and they are telling us that you have the intelligence and aptitude for the Officer’s Corp.”
Officer Corp I thought, surprised. “Yeah, but I wanna be a Boatswain’s mate cause I have seen them in the movies.” What the hell did I know about the Navy anyway. Nothing!
He laughed and said ” there’s nothing wrong with being an Officer you know. I am one myself. A Major!” And I immediately thought of the Basilian Brothers and the major pain at THAT private high school for boys.
“Okay, so what’s the difference between being an officer or a Boatswain’s mate?” I asked.
He looked at me for a bit before he answered. Then: “Well John, in the Navy, a Boatswain’s mate earns about $275 a month while an Officer makes about $415 per month.
Without blinking an eye I replied in what seemed to be a nano second “I’ll be an Officer”
We both laughed. He told me that I had passed the first phase of recruitment. My test scores were well above average, the interview process looked favourable and that I would have to come back in a few days for the medical and final interview.
Okay great, I thought and thanked him for his time and was on my way. But then I stopped and asked him, somewhat peevishly
“What about the criminal thingy?”
“Don’t worry about that” he said. “Many of us in here have done a lot worse only we never got caught. And there are probably a great many of us, generally speaking of course, that were given the proverbial options by a Judge of either going to prison or joining the Army” You know, there are a lot of military men and women who have less than grade 8 education, for whatever reason.”
“Army….Army? Prison? Judges? Grade 8 education? Whew, only the Army” I was relieved. I was joining the Navy, whoopdi doo. Safe and sound!
“Or the Navy” he added. He was telepathic this Major.