FORT BLISS, TX – Sgt. Maj. Michael Arnez made waves today at the local German club after sources reported overhearing the 23-year Army veteran yelling at a freshly-commissioned second lieutenant to “use more big words.”
“With all due veneration sir,” the sergeant major was recounted as explaining to petrified junior officer 2nd Lt. Marius Valjean, “I comprehend that you attended West Point, a respected institution of erudite higher learning if ever there was one, but you are not discoursing in a fashion that befits a gentleman of your class and rank.”
Arnez went on to tell the officer that he had reduced his past participle and used improper grammar in a dissertation with a comrade. “‘Where were you at last night’ is simply an inappropriate clause to be spouted from the lips of an officer,” he said.
2nd Lt. Valjean, who received a baccalaureate degree in English from the United States Military Academy this past June — making him the only employed person in America with such a degree — was speechless in the face of the rhetorical torrent spilling from the grizzled senior enlisted man.
“I didn’t really understand what was happening,” his friend and drinking partner 2nd Lt. Victor Frollo narrated on his behalf. “At first the sergeant major came up and I thought that he was going to yell at me for having my hands in my pockets or that we both had clearly not shaved before going out tonight, but instead he goes tearing into poor Marius for ‘misuse of conjunctions.’”
“Sir,” continued the veteran sergeant major, who has a degree in Business Administration from American Military University. “I must plead with you to take this with you in order to better improve your interpersonal dialogues.” With that, Sgt. Maj. Arnez slapped a well-thumbed copy of Roget’s Thesaurus into 2nd Lt. Valjean’s chest. “Do read this tome for your professional development. But please never ever say ‘behoove’, that’s a sergeant major’s word only.”
The sergeant major proceeded to castigate the two junior officers for drinking their beer straight from the can, rather than pouring it first into a suitably shaped glass as is appropriate for young gentlemen of ‘good breeding.’
Arnez then replaced his monocle from where it had fallen on its string and retired from the conversation, muttering: “Deary me, what do they teach in these confounded schools nowadays?”