You never know where inspiration will strike, but BFD's son, Toothache's Revengge caused me to recall an incident where I learned respect for Colonels.
I was not in the military, just a military brat. Attending a dependant school in Europe and about ready to graduate. As such, I was also looking to go to college and being the son of an NCO, had to pay my own way. So that meant working lots of hours at my PT job.
One of the classes I was taking was Advanced Placement English. I hated the class and even more so the teacher. But I was not alone. Her name in school was Betty the Bitch. And was used by most all students, male and female.
One day she was going to be absent, so that meant a substitute. That day also happened to be a holy day of obligation (for you non Catholics, that is a non-sunday where the Church says "Thou shalt go to Mass"). So a group of about a dozen of us (funny how the military has so many Catholics in it) went to church during school hours as the only other mass offered was after school, and I could not afford to miss work. Besides, my attendance to that point had been perfect, so what was one day?
Well the one day was a surprise test. We did not find out about it until the next day, but no big deal right? Betty the B often gave make up tests to students who missed them, so we would just take the make up.
But nope! Not for betty the B! She decided to make an example of us. Everyone of us had to bring a parent in to talk to her, and then she would allow the student to take the make up, but dock one letter grade from the test. I do not recall where I fell in the line, but my mother came in and tried to explain to her that while she agreed school was important, so was making money for college. And given the 7 children at home, I was on a "pay your own way" plan that required me to make as much money as I could (College was not cheap even in the days of bear skins and stone knives).
Of course Betty the B was having none of this. She just would not listen to my mother, constantly asking (or stating it seems), "so you think work is more important than school?". She never actually said that about religion since the separation of church and state meant she had no leg to stand on in that regard. My mother finally just threw up her arms in frustration and said fine, I came in, now let him take the make up.
And so it went for most of us. Except for Theresa Quinn. TQ was on a bee line for Valedictorian (she actually made Saludictorian), and this was going to really cramp her scholarship possibilities. So her father, Bird Colonel Quinn, came into talk to betty the B.
And he did most of the talking! for the non-militiary types, you are probably wondering "so what" about a Colonel. After all they are not generals! But Colonels are the top of the military tree. Generals are politicians, Colonels get all the dirty work. And they get plenty. And they also do not have time for namby pamby stuff. And this was how Col. Quinn saw this imposition of his time. He came in and started immediately laying it on Betty the B.
"Look, I gave my daughter permission to go to church! It was an obligation of her religion! You have no right to deny her access to her religion, nor countermand my Authority!' And on and on it went. For what was over half an hour. At the end, he told her "Give her the make up and do not waste my time with your petty complaints again!".
By this time, Betty the B was in tears. As Col. Quinn rose to leave, she cried at him "If you were one of my students I would flunk you!". To which he replied "If I was your superior, I would fire you!" and off he went.
I never did care for Theresa before that, but after that incident, she and her father went way up in my esteem! At the end of it all, all of us got to take the make up test and were docked a letter grade on it.
Epilog: But that is not quite the end. You see, this teacher was an idiot when it came to math. She could not add two numbers and get the correct answer twice to save her life. So she had me do the grade averaging (being a math geek then).
I knew all who had gone to church. And when it came time to average the final grade, I averaged it both ways. With the grade given, and with the actual grade, and if it made a difference, each of us got the higher grade. It did not affect my final grade (I was a solid as they come nor Theresa's. But it did affect about 5 of our grades, and I made sure they all got the higher grade.
Moral: Don't mess with a Bird Colonel!