Friday, January 1, 2016

What National Service taught us.

There used to be a phrase about National Service and what it taught young men. "I learned to drive and I learned to scive>"

Neither of these subjects were covered by the Army Education Corps.

I did my National service in the army and the AEC sergeants  came along to give talks on various subjects, most of which I can't remember. A lot of these sergeants were not much older than us, much like some secondary school teachers today.

On one occasion there was a session where we each had to give a talk lasting three minutes on any subject we liked except sex, religion or politics.

Well there was the usual set pieces from some of the lads, my job, my home town, my football club and so on. There were one or two quite well educated chaps who were able talk quite easily about films, art,  music and so on, but most were a bit mumbly and bashful.

 Well I was quite prepared for this so when it was my turn I walked up to the front and said  " We have been told that we can't talk about sex, politics or religion, I don't know about anything else, and I don't even know much about sex come to that "  and went and sat down.

The education sergeant who was normally quite easy going, went ballistic.

"Back up here. Three minutes so start talking and keep talking till I tell you to stop."

I will admit that I had thought about  this and said that my topic was "Forbidden subjects. "  The Sergeant said "Your three minutes hasnt started yet but watch your step.

I kept going, and don't remember the whole spiel but I managed to include the words, religion, sex and politics about a couple of dozen times each. But only in the context of when and where it was not allowed to be talked about, like you couldn't talk about sex in church and there wouldn't be much point in talking about religion whilst having sex and so on.

I managed my three minutes without trouble as once I was in my stride of mixing and matching I started getting shouted suggestions from the other lads.  It was hilarious and not what the sergeant had in mind.

 I am not sure if they had any more of those talk sessions after that. 

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