So, as most of you know, I’ve been in the military for a while. Almost six years. Not only am I just a regular Army National Guard Soldier doing one week a month, two weeks in the summer, but I also work for the Guard full time.
The Army has it’s own language. It’s full of acronyms and things that just don’t make sense and the more time you spend in the Army the more you adopt Army terms into your everyday speech, even when you’re supposed to be speaking civilian.
I hadn’t thought a lot about all this until recently when it dawned on me that some things have totally different meanings in the military than they do in the civilian sector. See, when a Soldier hears the term “that guy” he knows, without a doubt, that he doesn’t want to be that guy. We say it all the time. Don’t be that guy. I don’t know why it’s like that, I don’t know if it’s always been like that, but I know you don’t ever want be that guy.
But, and please correct me if I’m wrong, I think it’s totally different on the civilian side. Recently a friend announced that, after a particularly crazy night at a bar, he was “that guy.” I, in my desperate attempts to sleep through his gleeful proclamation of that-guyness, agreed silently that yes, he was most certainly that guy. That annoying guy. That guy you don’t really want to be. But that’s not what he meant. He meant he was that guy that everyone loves, that everyone enjoys hanging out with that that everyone wants to be.
And then there’s that billboard for some jewelry company around Richmond that says something like “That guy carries mistletoe in his pocket, for everyone else there’s [name of jewelry store which I totally forgot just now].” What does that even mean?! I don’ t get it because I don’t speak the language that shit is written in anymore? And how the hell did that happen? At what point did the Army start taking over my understanding of the English language?
Is it good to be that guy? Is that guy kind of annoying because he’s so damn perfect and we, mere mortals, can never live up to his amazing standards? Did that guy used to be in the Army and did he piss everyone else but go on to save baby giraffes in the civilian world thus becoming a hero?
What’s your understanding of that guy?