Saturday, December 30, 2017

Humor in Uniform – ACR English

Humor in Uniform

A Spoof


The word “unassuming” has a positive connotation.


Modesty is a virtue.

For an Officer in the Defence Services – Modesty is considered an “Officer Like Quality” (OLQ).

A Navy Friend was rendering the Performance Appraisal of an Officer called “XXX.

In the Defence Services – the Performance Appraisal Form is called the Annual Confidential Report (ACR).

While filling up the ACR Form – my Friend (the Initiating Officer or IO) wrote in the pen picture column:

“…XXX is an unassuming officer…”

My friend was summoned by his Boss (the Reviewing Officer or RO). 

The Boss (RO) said to my Friend (IO):

“There is a mismatch in this ACR. 

You have given very high numerical points to the officer in performance rating column. 

But  you have given him an adverse report in the “pen picture”. 

In the “pen picture” – you have written – 

“…XXX is an unassuming officer…” 

You better rewrite the ACR. 

If you want to give him an adverse report – lower the numerical points – and  please get the officer’s signature on the adverse remark...” 

On hearing these words from his Boss – my Friend was nonplussed. 

My Friend said to his Boss: 

“Sir – the word unassuming – it is not an adverse remark 

The Boss said to my Friend:

“Of course it is an adverse remark

The word unassuming means that he does not assume things. 

Well – let me tell you that  officers are supposed to assume things – officers are supposed to take initiative, be innovative, have vision... 

Yes – officers are supposed to be assuming – not unassuming…” 

On hearing this logic – my Friend said to his Boss: 

“Sir – in my opinion being unassuming is a positive attribute. 

To the best of my knowledge – unassuming means being modest – being down-to-earth – humble and unpretentious – being a gentleman – yes – being unassuming is a gentlemanly trait. 

Tell me, Sir – Officers are supposed to be gentlemen – aren’t they…?” 

On hearing this argument – the Boss glared at my Friend and said: 

“Stop bullshitting me…” 

My friend looked at his Boss and said: 

“Sir – please ask your Staff Officer to get a dictionary – I will show you what the word unassuming means…” 

“Are you trying to teach me English…?” the boss angrily said to my friend.

“No – Sir. I am just trying to prove my point that my use of the word unassuming is correct and it has a positive connotation...” my friend said to his boss.

The Boss (RO) looked angrily at my Friend (IO) and said:

“Now – you listen to me. 

You may know what unassuming means. 

I may understand what unassuming means. 

But – will those buggers up there in Headquarters understand…? 

Let me tell you that if you call the officer unassuming  it will be considered as an adverse remark  and  this officer will be written off

Do you want to write off this officer...?

Is he so bad and useless – that you want to finish off his career…?” 

“No – Sir. He is a very good officer…” my friend said. 

The Boss smiled at my Friend and said: 

“Then please take back this ACR form – and write a fresh one. 

You can replace the word unassuming with some standard term” which everyone understands – like sincere”  hardworking”  diligent etc – use words that everyone can understand easily – especially the bigwigs upstairs” 


Well – there was a time when Proficiency in English was considered an essential “Officer Like Quality” (OLQ) 

But today – highfalutin jargon, magniloquent language and pompous words are not relevant anymore. 

What is important is to use words that everyone can understand easily. 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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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Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Revised repost of my story “FAUJI” ENGLISH posted online by me Vikram Karve earlier in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog on April 19, 2015 at url: and etc

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