Chappy’s corner “A Fool Proof Answer”

Ole and Swen decided to join the Army Reserves.  After talking with a recruiter they went to have the physical exam. Both did just fine, but then Ole was told, “Okay both of you will need to take a psychological test”.  This worried Ole, because he knew Swen wasn’t the brightest guy.  So Ole told Swen, “Listen I will take the test and then come out and give you the answers.” Swen said, “Okay Ole you’re the smart one.”  Ole went into the psychiatrist office and the doctor asked him, “Ole if I took this sharp knife and poked out your left eye what would that mean to you?” Ole replied, “I would be half blind.” The doctor wrote down something and then said, “What if I took that same knife and poked out your right eye also?” Ole replied, “I be totally blind and I couldn’t see a thing.”  The psychiatrist said, “Very good. Now send in the next guy and hurry up I don’t have much time.”  So Ole quickly found Swen and told him, “First answer is “half blind”: Second answer is “I would be totally blind and can’t see a thing”.  Swen went in and the doctor asked him, “Swen if I took this knife and cut off your left ear what would that mean to you?” Swen quickly answered, “I would be half blind!” The doctor stared at him but then wrote down something.  Next the doctor asked Swen, “If I took that same knife and cut off your right ear also, what would that mean to you?”   Swen immediately replied, “I be totally blind and I couldn’t see a thing.” The doctor stared at Swen and asked, “How could you be totally blind?”  Swen answered, “If you cut off both my ears, then my John Deere cap would fall down over my eyes and I would be totally blind and couldn’t see a thing.”  (According to some sources Ole went on to become a command sergeant major while Swen went to Officer Candidate School and is now serving somewhere as a general officer in the reserves.)

I share that story to point out that the Army gives people various tests to try and determine what kind of Soldier that person will turn out down the road.  But no matter how many tests we make a person take there is no guarantee that a person might not crack for some reason and we end up with a tragedy like the one at Ft. Hood. Once again the media, the civilian world and the military itself will be examining what went “wrong” that allowed such a horrible thing to happen. Hopefully some answers will be found and precautions taken, but the truth is no matter how many classes we teach, or tests we give, or precautions we put in place, there is no perfect safe place.  That is true for those who wear the uniform and for those who are civilians.  Bad things happen and we can’t always predict when and where they will occur.

But one thing is certain; none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. The Bible refers to them as sins and the consequence of sin is death.  The Bible states, “The wages of sin is death…”  We can’t escape death. Someday it will claim all of us because we are mortal human beings. As military people we recognize that fact in the war zone, but forget that death can strike also on a secure military base.   Death reminds us that we are not all powerful but thankfully there is one who is all powerful.

That someone is God.  At this time of year many folks are preparing to celebrate Easter with flowers, chocolate candies and colored eggs.  That’s just fine, but the true joy of Easter is that God didn’t abandon us to death, but gave us Jesus to save us.  Jesus suffered and died to pay for our sins so we could be forgiven but then three days later Jesus rose to give us victory over death. For Christians Easter is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection and the victory over death He provides for all who trust in him.  As the Bible states, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!”  Some might think the Easter message is foolishness, but they are wrong.  Turning to Christ who is our Risen Savior is the only safe and fool proof answer one can have when facing such tragedies as we have seen in these terrible times.

That’s just my thoughts from this SE corner of South Dakota.

CH (COL) David Gunderson