Friday, March 24, 2017
When I tell a civilian that I and every sergeant is a judgmental bastard, they think I am being funny. I am not. When I was a sergeant in the Army it was my job to glance at a soldier and infer from his wear of the uniform how much I could trust him and how much he really understood his duties. And when I recognized a fault it was my job to tell that soldier to correct the fault and check that he did.
One sergeant I served with said, "I tell them how they are fucked up and how to un-fuck themselves."
In any area of life in which experts are in close contact with amateurs, the experts will be judging the amateurs. Expertise is tough to come by. It takes hard work. If Malcolm Gladwell is right, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to truly master a skill.
Because written communication has become so much more common and so much more public on social media, I read people saying that their grammar doesn't matter. It is their brilliant thoughts we should pay attention to. Soldiers believe this rubbish too and say so on social media. Although they will judge another soldier when one insignia 1/16th-inch out of place, they somehow think their idiotic self-expression gets a pass. It doesn't.
I cannot look at a badly worn uniform without judging the wearer. I cannot look at an ill-constructed sentence without thinking it is the careless expression of muddled thoughts.