OCR Interpretation


The Rio Grande rattler. ([McAllen], Hidalgo County, Tex.) 1916-1917, January 12, 1918, Image 9

Image and text provided by New York State Military History Museum

Persistent link: http://www.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn87030234/1918-01-12/ed-1/seq-9/


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THE WADSWORTH GAS ATTACK a n d RIO GRANDE RATTLER 7 THE IDEAS OF ETHELBURT JELLYBACK, PRIVATE VI. On Aviation, and the Unusual Steps He Takes to Pass the Examina­ tion for that Branch of the Service, Also on the Interior Decoration of Tents, I have an abhorrence for the word '‘police.” H ere in cam p one is always policing som ething—the street or the kitchen or the shower baths or anything the officers can think up in those idle mo­ m ents when th e ir minds run riot. Of course, in civil life the word police m e a n t to me the rotund patrolm a n who said, “Good day, Mr. Jellyback,” w h enever I rode up F ifth Avenue in my limousine. In civil life the police only pick up intoxi­ cated or law less persons about the streets. In arm y life they pick up anything in the street—sticks, straw s, cigarette butts, and any sort of m ineral or vegetable m a tter. It is so annoying! No Rubbish in the Air. T h a t was one of the things th a t decided me to try to tran s fer to another branch of the service. I selected aviation. In avia­ tion, I thought, one would always be flying around, don't you know. And th e r e ’s noth­ ing to police in the air. As soon as I heard about the terribly strict tests which were conducted in the exam ination for aviation, I set about prac­ ticing to m ake m y self perfect. My friends prophesied th a t I would succeed in aviation. “It ought to be easy for you to go up in the air,” said Jim M ugrums, th a t smudgy- faced little first-class private who sleeps in the next cot to me. Moreover, w h en I was home in New York, am ong our set, I frequently danced in the ballroom of the Biltm ore, tw e n ty floors in the air. Fancy that! I have also ridden on F if th Avenue busses. E thelburt Overcomes Dizziness. I discovered th a t one of the tests to which I m u st subm it was to sit upon a piano stool—I love music, you know—and perm it the exam iner to tw irl the stool around rap­ idly, a t the end of w hich I m u s t arise and w alk tow a rds a specified object. I realized th a t the turning about on the stool would create in m ost chaps a dizziness th a t would render their subsequent footsteps uncertain. So, w h a t did I do, thoughtful fellow th a t I am, but go out to the drill grounds and rehearse the movem ents. I turned about on my heal an astonishing num b er of tim es and then made straight for one of the tall pines in the patch of woods fringing the drill grounds. I practiced this for a week. I also asked some of my tentm a tes to stick needles into me at unexpected m om ents and places to see if I would jump. This was a test for steady nerves, you know. They chose the unexpected m o m ents all right, but they alw ays selected the sam e place. Of course my breeches are reinforced at th a t place, but my epiderm is, alas, possesses no such support. I had to beg Jim Mug­ rum s to desist. But, Alas! His Disappointment. And then, after this careful preparation I w ent into the exam ination and failed to pass. Im agine my disappointm e n t. The exam iner said I w a sn’t norm al. I now see my m istake. I had practiced so efficaciously that I was too efficient. I got up from the revolving piano stool and w alked directly and unw averingly tow a rds the object I was told to approach. Of course, I knew I w a sn’t norm a l’. I was too perfect. They w anted a fellow who couldn’t m e e t the rigid requirem e n ts. I could have told them be­ fore I w e n t into the room th a t I was super­ norm al. My corporal, Flanagan, looked astonished when I told him the depressing news of my rejection. He turned to me sym p a thetic­ ally. A Tribute to His Intellect. “If I could buy your brains for w h a t they’re w o rth,” he said, “and then sell them for w h a t you think they’re w o rth, I’d be a m illionaire.” The corporal m e a n t this to be a compli­ m ent, naturally, but the untutored fellow wras unfortunate in his choice of words. But then, he didn’t have the training of a Jellyback. A fter this setback, I cast about in my mind for suitable activities in w h ich to em­ ploy my talents. I simply can’t go on as other privates do. So, I h it upon the ex­ cellent schem e of im p roving the home-like appearance of tents. I decided to organize the Association for the Interior Decoration of Tents. I believe in all form s of organ­ ized labor, but I prefer to do the organizing and let others less gifted do the labor. E thelbu rt’s Association. I planned to have my A s s o c iation for the Interior Decoration of Tents establish a fund to purchase quaint little sketches and w a ter colors, attractive cretonne hangings, and artistic bric-a-brac and statu a ry w ith which to decorate our tents. But I m e t w ith little success in broaching the topic to my tent-m a te s. T h a t detestable Jim Mugrums said : “I’d be willing to chip in two-bits for a statue of Yenus de Milo to hang my socks on at night. I’m getting sick of having to reach under my bunk and pull ’em out of my m ess cup every m o rning.” I w e n t on to explain to him the im p o rtance of having the interior of one’s ten t h a r ­ monize w ith one’s mood. On certain days my mood is bright. I w a n t bright, cheery pictures around me. On other days my mood is olive drab. I told M ugrums th a t certain articles of furniture are only suited to certain persons. “Yep,” he piped up, irrevelantly, “the only chair for you to sit in is a black one w ith electrical upholstering in a little room at O ssining.” But I daresay th a t later on I shall come in contact w ith fellows who will appreciate my plan. M eanwhile I shall be working on other ideas as they occur to me—providing, of course, th a t I have the tim e to do them justice. ETH E L B U R T JELLYBACK, Private. (C. D.) CAMP LIBRARY RUNNING. The Camp L ibrary is open for business. It is situated in the old w h ite church not far from Division H eadquarters. It is free to all soldiers, who may take out books. Take advantage of it.

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