Monday, June 19, 2017

The Picnic

THE PICNIC 
Short Fiction
A Spoof
By
VIKRAM KARVE 


I once knew an officer who used to get very nasty and quarrelsome after a few drinks.

Of course – I am not going to tell you his real name.

So 
– let’s call him “John”.

Our newly arrived Boss wanted to have a picnic with all officers and families.

So – we decided to have a beach picnic on a Sunday – and I was told to organize the picnic.

I intentionally saw to it that John was not invited to the picnic.

One day before the picnic  I briefed the Boss regarding the arrangements – transportation, recreation, music, dance, party games, tombola, watersports, fun for children, restrooms and shacks for ladies and gents, bar and food arrangements, seaside barbeque, gifts and presents, everything...

It was going to be a very enjoyable picnic  and we all were going to have a fabulous time.

The Boss seemed quite happy.

Then – he saw the guest list.

“I don’t see John’s name here...” the boss remarked, “I want all officers and families to attend the picnic – why is John and his family not coming...?”

“He has not been invited...” I said.

“John has not been invited...? Why...? my Boss asked me. 

“We felt that is was best not to invite him for the picnic...” I said.

What nonsense...? Who took this decision...?” my Boss asked me.

“I took the decision not to invite John for the picnic. Sir  I feel it is best not to call John for the picnic...” I said.

“You took a decision not to call John for the picnic...? Are you crazy...? I can’t believe that you could do such a stupid thing. Who the hell do you think you are...? What’s wrong with you...?” the Boss said, looking annoyed.

“I feel it would be best if John did not come for the picnic...” I said.

For a moment – my Boss looked at me in disbelief.

Then  he angrily asked me: 

“May I know the reason why you don’t want John and his family to come for the picnic...?”

“He cannot hold his drinks, Sir.”

“What do you mean...?”

“Sir – there is going to be a lot of beer and alcoholic punches and drinks at the picnic. John invariably gets drunk on such occasions – and when he is drunk  he gets very nasty and belligerent. He is sure to misbehave and pick up a fight with someone. Things will become very unpleasant – John will spoil the whole atmosphere  and the picnic will get ruined...” I said.

My Boss was furious and he admonished me: 

“Stop giving me bullshit. I have specially planned this picnic. All officers and their families are attending. How can you exclude John just because of your whims and fancies...? Do you have any bloody social graces or not...?”

“Sir  please listen …” I tried to plead.

“You shut up and listen to me. You will make sure that John and his family are present for the picnic. You will personally give him the invitation right now. Is that clear...? Do you understand...?” my Boss commanded me.

“Aye Aye, Sir...” I said, sheepishly.

The Beach Picnic started on a bright note.

Everyone – the men, the women, the children, were thoroughly enjoying themselves – dancing, singing, playing, romping on the sands, frolicking on the beach, swimming the blue waters of the sea.

Then – things began to happen exactly as I had anticipated.

Around 11 AM in the morning – we opened the Liquor Bar – and we started enjoying our drinks. 

I could see that John was drinking away and enjoying himself thoroughly.

Just after noon – around 12:30 in the afternoon – John got drunk and nasty.

First – he picked up a fight with an officer over some trivial issue. 

Then – he got abusive over not being served snacks properly. 

John was staggering unsteadily on his feet – and shouting incoherently.

Seeing that John was visibly drunk – and that he was making a fool of himself – his embarrassed wife tried to restrain him from drinking more beer.

John’s wife pleaded with John to stop drinking.

She told him that he had drunk too much alcohol already – and he was misbehaving

But – this enraged John even further – and he abused and slapped his wife in full public view.

Our Boss tried to reason with John and calm him down.

But 
– John got belligerent and abusive with the Boss too – and John threatened to hit our Boss – and we had to rescue our Boss before John thrashed him.   

The ladies and children were terrified.

John’s wife and children were in tears.

We were all disgusted – and there was an air of unpleasantness.

Then  John picked up a bottle of Rum – and he walked to a secluded place on the beach.

John kept drinking – till he drank himself into a drunken stupor.

In the evening – we had to carry a dead-drunk John into the boat. 

John was in a terribly intoxicated state – in a semi-conscious inebriated condition – and beads of sweat formed over his face  as he lay sprawled in the boat.

As the boat started sailing over the sea – rolling and pitching – John got violently sick – and he vomited all over the boat.

The disgusting stench of his vomit – and the sight of his vile hideous puke – made everyone sickeningly nauseous.

Everyone was disgusted.

The picnic was a disaster.

Next morning  I went to my Boss to show him the picnic accounts.

For some time  we looked at each other in silence.

Then  my Boss said to me: 

“You were right about John. It would have been better if we had avoided calling him for the picnic. He ruined everything by his disgusting behaviour. I feel sorry for his wife and kids  they must be feeling so embarrassed.”

“Sir  I was going to tell you something more on that day  but – you asked me to shut up…” I said.

“What...? You were going to tell me something more on that day...? What was it...? Speak up. Tell me now...” my Boss said.

“Sir  it was John’s wife who told me not to invite them for the picnic...” I said.

“What nonsense are you talking...? Why would John’s wife not want to come for the picnic...?” my Boss said.

I looked at my Boss and I said to him:

John’s wife told me that she did not want to come for the picnic  especially with John. 

She knew  that after a few drinks  her husband John would misbehave – he would get nasty – he would indulge in outrageous antics  and he would spoil the atmosphere  and this would be embarrassing for everyone – it would be very painful for her  and it would be very traumatic for their young daughter

That is why John’s wife pleaded with me not to invite John for the picnic. 

So – I did not invite John for the picnic – but – you overruled me...” 


MORAL OF THE STORY

There is a 
Navy Saying:

Officers are never late  they only get delayed

Officers are never drunk – they only feel nice... 

This “Old Navy” Wisdom implies that only sailors are “late” for duties – but  officers have the privilege of coming at their pleasure. 

More importantly – this Navy “Dictum” postulates that only sailors get drunk – but  Officers Never Get Drunk – they only Feel Nice”. 

Yes  An Officer Never Gets Drunk  He Only Feels Nice”... 

This means that a Naval Officer must have Booze OLQ

OLQ is the acronym for “Officer Like Qualities

And – one essential “Officer Like Quality” in the Navy is the ability to hold your liquor.

An Officer must be capable of drinking his sailors under the table. 

Yes – an officer should have much higher drinking capacity (alcohol tolerance level) than his sailors.

As an Officer – you should be able to continue drinking and remain sober after your sailors have completely passed out dead-drunk and inebriated.

During my wonderful Navy days  I observed that  sailors respect an officer who can outdrink them.

That is why there is a saying in the Navy: 

An Officer Never Gets Drunk  He Only Feels Nice

This “Officer Like Quality” is called Booze OLQ

Booze OLQ is an essential aspect of what they call OLQ or “OFFICER LIKE QUALITIES” because drinking alcohol is an essential part of social culture in the Defence Services where alcohol flows freely on every occasion, every celebration, every party.

In fact – with all so-called Military Facilities and Perks extended to Civilians – the only perk” that remains exclusive to the Defence Services is concessional liquor from CSD Canteens (and duty free liquor for the Navy on Ships) – though I hear that even this cheap booze facility is being extended to paramilitary/police and others.

Hence – at least till now – one of the main attractions of joining the Defence Services is concessional CSD liquor – which is an incentive for “Faujis” to drink – especially at an impressionable age when youth join the Military (“Fauj”).

Drinking together is a time-tested way of developing camaraderie with your fellow officers and with your sailors.

So – if you are an officer – you must have Booze OLQ”  which means that you must be able to drink much more than your sailors and be able to drink them under the table – and – you must be able to hold your liquor.

This is what I call the “Alcohol Test” of OLQ.

Alcohol will make a good officer feel nice  never nasty.

But 
– if a person gets nasty, unpleasant, disagreeable and ill-tempered after a few drinks  then that person is not fit to be a Naval Officer  because he has failed in the “Alcohol Test” of OLQ – and hence – he does not possess Booze OLQ

Alcohol does different things to different people.

Alcohol opens you up.

Alcohol reduces inhibitions.

A few drinks loosen you up  and alcohol helps release your inner pent-up emotions.

Alcohol helps you express feelings which you may have suppressed within you – knowingly or unknowingly.

Alcohol helps bring out what is hidden within you.

If you are happy inside – after a few drinks – you will start physically expressing your happiness boisterously and outwardly  by laughing, cheerfulness and bonhomie.

When you are in high spirits – you will become more talkative – more expansive – and more expressive.

Under the influence of alcohol – you may even articulate your secret unexpressed love – and  you become overly romantic and amorous  maybe  even sexually expressive.

Alcohol also makes it possible to discover the hidden talents of a person.

Alcohol can help unleash your latent creativity.

You may have noticed that some persons become more creative after imbibing a drink or two – since alcohol unleashes your inhibitions – and releases the music, the poetry, the art, and the creativity hidden within you.

That is why alcohol flows freely during parties and celebrations – since alcohol helps dissolve the walls of inhibitions, self-consciousness and reticence and helps release inhibitions – and amplifies inner emotions, talents, passions, sentiments – inner happiness becomes outer happiness – and the environment is filled with cheer and bonhomie.

But  the converse is also true.

By reducing inhibitions – alcohol may bring out the worst in you – by facilitating the release of pent-up negative emotions like anger, envy, dejection, despondency, frustration – and these unleashed amplified negative emotions may result in undesirable, unpleasant and even disastrous consequences.

Have you noticed how – after a few drinks – some people get violent, argumentative, rude – or sometimes melancholic, moody, sullen, depressed, unsociable...

I have always believed in the dictum:

If you want to know the true character of a man  get him drunk 

Once a man is drunk – what is hidden inside him will come out – and his true inner self will be revealed.

And this certainly applies to women who drink too.

During my younger days in the Navy I was quite wary of persons who did not drink.

I remember those golden words engraved on the walls of a Navy Bar:

DO NOT TRUST A MAN WHO DOES NOT DRINK

The fact of the matter is that alcohol can bring out the best in you.

But alcohol can also bring out the worst in you – and this indicates that you do not have Booze OLQ”.

In the Navy – and in the Army and Air Force too – as an essential part of Service Etiquette and Social Graces – an Officer is required to have “Booze OLQ” 

Yes – if an individual who feels “nice” after consuming a substantial quantity of alcohol – then he has Booze OLQ”.

On the contrary – if a person gets nasty after a few drinks – he does not have Booze OLQ – he lacks a vital OLQ (Officer Like Quality) – and he is not fit to be an officer.

Maybe they should introduce the “Alcohol OLQ Test” at the Services Selection Board (SSB) to test and ascertain “Booze OLQ”.

Dear Reader: 

Cheers  have a drink  as long as you feel “nice”  and not nasty.

VIKRAM KARVE
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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2.  All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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