BARRACKS LIFE: "Death by Powerpoint" can save lives
May 5, 2011
If you are a Soldier, the mention of the curse word "Powerpoint" is enough to cause a shudder. Anyone who has spent more than a week in basic training knows the pain of a "death by Powerpoint" class. But as much as we moan and gripe about these days, the sole reason isn't just to test your durability in a room with weak air conditioning, surrounded by the scent of energy drinks and exhaustion.
These classes are only provided because somewhere in the past someone just like us has done exactly what the slides are warning not to do. The infamous "That Guy." You know him, there's one in every company, in every platoon, in every squad.
One of the most popular classes we've all had is "alcohol awareness." Don't drink and drive, 0.08% if you're over 21 is the legal limit in the state of Georgia, have a plan, bring battle buddies. We all know the class before it starts, heck, I bet every one of us could teach it if pressed. But it's one that will keep being taught because no matter how many times you sit there and listen to the slides, "That Guy" will go out the very weekend afterwards and do just the things we are told to avoid.
Maybe even a few years from now, as you are once again listening to a speaker telling everyone not to get behind the wheel while drunk, there will flash a picture on the screen and you can nudge the Soldier who is sleeping next to you and go, "I know him."
Recently during one of these classes, a state trooper who was doing his best to keep his captive audience alert, played a commercial that ran somewhere on European television. As this particular commercial begins to play, you can tell the audience is only marginally interested.
A young boy is playing soccer in his back yard with his dad as his young sister laughs and pushes a stroller with her small doll inside. There is even a butterfly that goes past the camera. Then a car smashes through the wooden privacy fence broadside and runs straight over the boy as he is celebrating making a goal. Ouch, right' There was a collective gasp mixed with a few chuckles as Soldiers tried to pretend they weren't at least a little bit affected. The clip ends frozen on the drunk driver's face, with the question, "Could you live with the guilt'"
While it may seem a little extreme, the commercial holds a lot of truth. Soldiers drink, it is an indisputable fact. And it's not a bad thing. We should all take time to unwind and relax when possible with some buddies. But there's no reason not to be safe about it. So, next time you find your head nodding back and forth during a "death by Powerpoint," and the person next to you nudges you and says, "dude, check out that wreck," pay attention.
Because no one wants to be "That Guy."