Assumption of Command

13 May 2005

Eat it Now, Taste it Later

In the Army, especially in a training environment, you are "encouraged" to eat fast. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, there are usually a lot of people that have to get through the chow hall in a given amount of time. Second, the day is usually filled with so much stuff to do that time needs to be trimmed from other activities so everything can get done.

For these two reasons, you will tend to hear people use the term "Eat it now, Taste it later". I never seemed to have a problem with this. This is one of the few things in the Army I didn't have to learn.

From a young age, I was always a fast eater. I remember my Aunt always telling me to "Slow down! No one is chasing you with a stick". That line always made me laugh... in between bites. :) I don't know why I tend to eat fast, I just do. Sandwiches (hamburgers included) and Pizza are the two fastest things to eat. I seem to make them go away at breakneck speeds without even thinking about it. It is just normal to me.

Before you go and start thinking I am an uncouth, talking with my mouth full, spraying chunks, impolite eater, I am not. Just make sure to pass the potatoes, please.

And before you go thinking I am a fat and overweight pig, I am not. Yes, I do have to take the tape test. I am about 7-9 pound above weight for my height, because of my superior (somewhat) muscle mass, I am well under my body fat percentage, and I work out in the nice gym 3-4 times a week. (the elliptical trainer is my friend)

So this leads me to the story. Yes there is almost always a story when army guys are concerned and the usually start like this: "So There I was...". Sometimes depending on the company, or in a bar with all of the other officers in a Cavalry outfit, you can add a "No S***" at the beginning. And everybody else is supposed to reply with "So there you were!" letting you know that a story (possibly a true one) is one the way.

So there I was, sitting in the middle of the Mojave Desert, in a lull of the big war against the dreaded Kraznovians. (They are the notional bad guys at FT. Irwin's Nation Training Center (NTC)) The NTC is a very good place to train. I learned a lot there. But, during the lull in the battle, I was sitting with my troops, eating a gourmet meal consisting of a freshly opened MRE, (think of MRE as two parts MR and E, say it together and you get a Mister-E) taking about upcoming missions and out plans for it. The conversation is productive and we make recommendations to one another.

So as I am putting away the trash from the scrumptious MRE, My NCO in Charge looks down at his watch clicks the timer off. Then he looks at one of my other NCOs with his hand out and says loudly "Give me my money!" Me being the slick guy that I am gave them, my best "I am confused, what did he just say" look. Apparently they had a personal Over-under bet going on based on how fast I would eat my lunch. And I came in under. That doesn't sound too bad until I tell you the under was 5 minutes. That includes opening all of the packaging and preparing that goes on with an MRE.

I wish I would have know about it earlier and I would have rigged the contest for a cut of the winnings, but that is beside the point :)

Okay, so maybe I eat fast, at least I don't look like this.