Not on My Watch

Sometimes I get a kick out of civilian use of military terms. Phrases like “Not on my watch” or “In the trenches,” get used a lot. I know there are plenty more like “I got your six” or “On the frontlines,” but we’ll just make fun of the first two…unless I get on a roll, then we’ll add some more.

Now please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying these terms can’t be used by civilians, freedom of speech means just that, freedom to say what you want. I’m just saying that sometimes it’s just plain silly how these terms are used. As usual, I’ll give some examples.

UTILITY MAN: I’m here to shut off your power.

HOMEOWNER: Not on my watch!

UTILITY MAN: You didn’t pay your bill.

HOMEOWNER: Yes I did.

UTILITY MAN: Not my call. You’ll have to talk to someone up my chain of command. I’m just the guy in the trenches.

HOMEOWNER: You can’t do anything? That’s FUBAR!

UTILITY MAN: Hey, I’m just the guy on the frontlines. Um, is that an old lady with a shotgun behind you?

HOMEOWNER: Grandma?

GRANDMA: I got your six!

UTILITY MAN (on his radio): Charlie Mike, I have a situation…I might need some air support on the double! (pause) Roger that!

HOMEOWNER: Grandma! Stand down!

GRANDMA: Like hell! (cocks the shotgun).

UTILITY MAN (on his radio again): Mayday! Mayday! Use the nuclear option! On my coordinates…

Sounds silly, right? I might’ve exaggerated the situation a little, just a little, but I’m sure you get my point. Like I said, I get a kick out of it.

What I don’t get a kick out of is when politicians use the terms to describe what they do. I have to admit, it irritates me a little.

POLITICIAN: I’m in Washington for you every day, fighting for you! I’m kicking and clawing my way through the trenches, boots on the ground, on the frontlines, fighting for you! When I get back there, I’m going to roll my sleeves up and work tirelessly, fighting for you!

CROWD: Yay!

Then when I look up their history, or bio, I find this: Graduated from Ivy League College, Captain of the Rowing Team, Interned for Congressman so-and-so, Served on State Assembly, Elected to U.S. Congress, Inherited stock from family fortune, Really doesn’t have to work a day in their life, but works tirelessly for you, Sacrifices daily to make sure your voice is heard in Congress, then votes to erode your benefits and raise your taxes at the same time for our greater good.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to rant and I certainly don’t mean to put down all politicians. There are some good ones out there that actually have been one of us in their previous lives. Some are veterans, some come from blue-collar backgrounds, some had to earn their way through college, and some really do work tirelessly…although I’ll bet they take a nap on occasion, like on the flight to Washington every week, but I won’t begrudge them that. I also sleep on flights, but I don’t claim to be tireless. I feel tired all the time.

It’s the politicians that have never had dirt under their nails or had a sore back from actual labor that bug me when they use those terms. If they want to relate with us, they need to come and spend an actual day with us. All of us. Workers, laborers, office people, manufacturers, assembly line workers, law enforcement, firefighters, military, farmers, fishermen, nurses, clerks, stay-at-home moms and dads, and so on and so on. You know, people who actually work hard just to make ends meet.

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