Contrary to its public image, the Pentagon does have a sense of humor. Unofficially, that is. E-mail has accelerated the U.S. military's ability to blow off steam and make fun of itself.
While the authors are unknown, here is a compilation of several similar messages that have been circulated worldwide recently:
Recently the Pentagon announced new rules for the fall 1998 Army-Navy-Air Force-Marine Corps football tournament.
It is now known that the gender-integrated teams will take to the gridiron only after negotiating the following.
1. Only flag football will be played. The Joint Chiefs of Staff deemed tackle and touch football too dangerous. First, because of the CNN factor, the public will no longer tolerate even one field casualty. Second, touching another player today -- even the congratulatory pat on the behind -- is court-martial bait.
2. The phrase "making a pass" will be changed to the less ambiguous "throwing the ball." And the Army, Navy and Marines will be blocked from throws beyond 5 yards because of Air Force protests that it alone owns the long-range air attack mission.
3. The Marine Corps may run with the ball, but no more than 25 yards per quarter, the Pentagon ruled. It was prompted by Army objections to long-range naval ground operations.
4. The Navy may not use tailbacks. The term is too sensitive and should be avoided.
5. To promote interservice cooperation, all teams were ordered to use the same game plan, after receiving suggestions from all four services.
The Army's plan, called "The Game After Next," called for handoffs of a digitized football to the fullback, up the middle, on every play. The Army plan's last chapter, titled "Exit Strategy," was oddly blank, which would leave players with no choice but to set up bunkers and temporary housing on the 50-yard line.
The Navy's "Forward... From the Bench" plan called for players -- each called a ball "carrier"--to be surrounded by other Navy football players in a pack called "carrier groups." These units would establish a roaming "presence" all over the playing field. Less important than crossing the goal line is the Navy strategy of being able to protect the carrier group wherever it patrols the gridiron. So threatening are these carriers, the Navy strategy goes, that no one would be foolish enough to even mount a defense.
The Marine's "Three-Yard War" plan was predictable: Seize ground, every down, no matter how, regardless of the price, preferably while on the playing field. The linchpin of the Marine game plan called for packing the audience with members of Congress to ensure that the Marines' performance did not go unrecognized.
The Air Force's "Fieldwide Engagement" plan kept calling for very long, accurate throws on every down, during huddles, timeouts, halftime, between games, in the parking lot and even in the showers. So fast and accurate would these throws be, went the Air Force strategy, no other team should even bother to take the field.
After examining each team's playbook the secretary of defense ruled that none could be used, and that each service was left to its own devices.
The Navy decided victory could be had by not taking the field. Instead, its players patrolled up and down the sidelines in breathtaking formation, hoping that would sufficiently deter the other teams from leaving their benches.
Likewise, the Army decided against taking the field, at least until several conditions were met: one, that vital U.S. national interests were at stake; two, the conditions for victory were concrete and easily defined; and, three, the president would activate 550,000 reserve and National Guard Army football players if the game actually were to be played.
The Air Force felt victory could be achieved also by not showing up. Secret plans were later leaked to the press that the Air Force had spent $38.7 billion on a system able to fire the football into the end zone from space.
Bolstered by congressional resolution to be the "most ready football team when others are the least," the Marines stormed the playing field and declared themselves the winners.
And there was joy in Mudville.
Prison Vs. Work
IN PRISON you spend the majority of your time in an 8x10 cell.
AT WORK you spend most of your time in a 6x8 cubicle.
IN PRISON you get three meals a day.
AT WORK you only get a break for 1 meal, you have to pay for it.
IN PRISON you get time off for good behavior.
AT WORK you get rewarded for good behavior with more work.
IN PRISON a guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
AT WORK you must carry around a security card and unlock and open all the doors yourself.
IN PRISON you can watch TV and play games.
AT WORK you get fired for watching TV and playing games.
IN PRISON you get your own toilet.
AT WORK you have to share.
IN PRISON they allow your family and friends to visit.
AT WORK you cannot even speak to your family and friends.
IN PRISON all expenses are paid by taxpayers with no work required.
AT WORK you get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.
IN PRISON you spend most of your life looking through bars from the inside wanting to get out.
AT WORK you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.
IN PRISON there are wardens who are often sadistic.
AT WORK they are called managers
~~~ A Plea for Help! ~~~
With the Christmas season approaching, please look into your heart to help those in need.
Hundreds of National Basketball Association basketball players in our very own country are living at or just below the seven-figure salary level (Atrocious!) And, as if that weren't bad enough, they will be deprived of pay for several weeks--possibly a whole year--as a result of the current lock-out situation. But now, you can help! For only $20,835 a month, about $694.50 a day (that's less than the cost of a large screen projection TV) you can help a basketball player remain economically viable during his time of need. This contribution by no means solves the problem, as it barely covers the yearly league minimum, ...but it's a start!
Almost $700 may not seem like a lot of money to you, but to a basketball player it could mean the difference between a vacation spent golfing in Florida or a Mediterranean cruise. For you, seven hundred dollars is nothing more than two months rent or mortgage payments. But to a basketball player, $700 will almost replace his daily salary.
Your commitment of less than $700 a day will enable a player to buy that home entertainment center, trade in the year-old Lexus for a new Ferrari, or enjoy a weekend in Rio.
HOW WILL I KNOW I'M HELPING?
Each month, you will receive a complete financial report on the player you sponsor. Detailed information about his stocks, bonds, 401(k), real estate, and other investment holdings will be mailed to your home. You'll also get information on how he plans to invest the $5 million lump sum he will receive upon retirement. Plus upon signing up for this program, you will receive a photo of the player (unsigned-for a signed photo, please include an additional $50.00). Put the photo on your refrigerator to remind you of other peoples' suffering.
HOW WILL HE KNOW I'M HELPING?
Your basketball player will be told that he has a SPECIAL FRIEND who just wants to help in a time of need. Although the player won't know your name, he will be able to make collect calls to your home via a special operator just in case additional funds are needed for unexpected expenses.
YES, I WANT TO HELP!
I would like to sponsor a striking NBA basketball player. My preference is checked below:
[ ] Starter
[ ] Reserve
[ ] Star (Higher cost)
[ ] Superstar (Much higher cost)
[ ] Entire team (Please call our 900 number to ask for the cost of a specific team (Cheerleaders not included.))
[ ] I'll sponsor a player most in need. Please select one for me.
Please charge the account listed below $694.50 per day for a reserve player or starter for the duration of the strike. Please send me a picture of the player I have sponsored, along with a team logo and my very own NBA Players Association badge to wear proudly on my lapel.
Your Name: _______________________
Telephone Number: _______________________
Account Number: _______________________ Exp.Date:_______
[ ] MasterCard [ ] Visa [ ] American Express [ ] Discover
Mail completed form to NBA Players Association or call 1-900-2MUCH now to enroll by phone.
Note: Sponsors are not permitted to contact the player they have sponsored, either in person or by other means including, but not limited to, telephone calls, letters, e-mail, or third parties. Keep in mind that the basketball player you have sponsored will be much too busy enjoying his free time, thanks to your generous donations. Contributions are not tax-deductible.