There was a roly-poly corpsman whose last name was Bugosh. He wore bib overalls when he was in the barracks in Keflavik, Iceland. Of course the jeans that he wore were the Osh Kosh brand, so his nickname was Osh Kosh B’gosh.
He hailed from the same state as I did and he had just re-upped. (He signed on for another four year hitch in the Navy.) By signing on before the end his enlistment term, he would receive a bonus from the Navy.
He was strutting around like a Bantam rooster with his thumbs hooked in the bib of his jeans. He was trying to get those of us who were near the end of their enlistment to sign on for four more years. I looked at it as, “misery loves company” and ignored him.
When that didn’t work he started by bragging that when I got discharged, I would get a job and be paying taxes and thus paying his salary. He smiled a huge smile and began rocking on his heels, thumbs still hanging in the suspenders of his overalls.
I think I was born to burst other people’s bubbles. His cockiness irritated me. He acted as though he had all the answers. I ignored it for awhile, but he finally got in my face as he twirled the tip of his handle bar moustache.
“You’re from Pennsylvania, right?” I queried.
He admitted, hesitantly, “Yes.” I could tell he wasn’t sure where I was going with my questions.
“You still have to pay Pennsylvania state taxes too, right?” I pressed.
With a puzzled look on his face, he admitted, “Yes.”
Bad person that I am, here’s where I burst his bubble. “Then you have it all wrong. When I am discharged, I plan to go back home and go on welfare again, just like my mom and dad. You’ll be paying my salary.” His face got red and I watched him deflate just like that bubble.
My parents had never been on public assistance and I didn’t plan to go on welfare, but he didn’t need to know that. I was getting out so that I could go to college and pursue a degree in nursing. I wasn’t going to tell him otherwise.