Later, after the tax argument, Sergeant Arch Conservative came to me to ask if we we could set up one of the standard gym exercise bikes that reads watts generated to Army PT test standard which requires setting a special bike to 20 Newtons of resistance. It is not a straight conversion. He did not want to deal with that calculation. A few minutes later, we were outside and I asked Sergeant AC if he has this much trouble with math, how can he be absolutely sure (he has loudly told me this on another occasion) the earth is 10,000 years old, evolution never happened and every scientist from Darwin and Einstein to the present is wrong--while he and the Creation Museum are right.
His answer: "Paper birch trees are growing wild in Pennsylvania Sergeant Gussman. They are a northern tree. The earth is not getting warmer. Global warming is wrong. Those scientists don't know everything."
And now to marriage. I was sitting in God's Grounds--a free cafe in the chapel annex. I get coffee there in the mornings. I would stay there more than a minute or two, but being a Godly place in the Army, the Simpsons and other animated movies play 24/7.
So one of the chaplain's assistants, an older guy, is looking at a National Geographic. He says he is going to take his wife on an adventure tour of Peru when he gets back from deployment. "It costs $2000 per person, but it will be worth. The experience of a lifetime. I have always wanted to do it."
I said, "Wow. That sounds great. Are you making plans now? Is she excited?"
He answers, "No. She hates stuff like this. But I go shopping with her, so she can go. It's only two weeks."
He went on to explain how he and his wife are best friends.
A guy I ride with a couple of days a week borrows one of my bikes to ride with me. He got her just before I went on leave and decided last week to ask his wife to send a mountain bike he has at home here to Iraq. She refused. She said he should buy a bike there and not ship a bike to Iraq--he'll just have to ship it back. The two-way mailing cost will be $150 plus whatever the bike shop charges to pack the bike in a box. Chances are they will do it for free for a soldier in Iraq.
Anyway, he does not want to argue with his wife and he recently got a $1000 through an error in a travel voucher, so he is probably going to buy a new bike and have it shipped directly here rather than argue. "She'll never know," he said.