Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Bugle Boy

One day, probably in a futile attempt to stay out of trouble, I was roaming around motor T when I heard what sounded like a goose being slaughtered. Slowly. With dull implements. Slaughtering of geese not exactly a normal event on bases those days, I wandered over. Said tortuous ado turned out to be a couple of Marines taking turns in their attempts to produce recognizable notes from a bugle.

So that's what they do when they are supposed to be repairing the vehicles...

They had just about determined that the bugle was somewhat defective when I wandered up. Now, it was not common knowledge amongst the platoon at the time that I had been somewhat of a band nerd in my school days. Yup, full bore, card carrying, uber geek. Most days would include at least 2 hours of practice, if not more. Gee, wonder why I never mentioned it to any of the Marines... A short conversation resulted in me giving them a few pointers in sound improvement, intonation, and the like. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was performing like a little circus monkey for the guys, or as much as a little monkey can do with no valves and a couple of years with little practice.

Passing by in the middle of my impromptu solo was Captain 'Bob'. The Captain stopped, commented on the fact that he never knew I could play, and that I might be interested in some bugler duties.

Yeah, right. I'm not volunteering for nuthin', Bub. And that, apparently, was why Mr. Murphy invented the state of being 'voluntold'.

It wasn't all bad, I suppose. Most of the guys got a kick out of hearing an actual live bugler, and my sound apparently hadn't really deteriorated all that much. For some events, I was actually kind of humbled that I had the opportunity to use the skills. There is really not much to say when you see the dwindling squad of elderly Marines, gathering once again to lay one of their own to rest. Watching a 70 year-old warrior struggle to his feet to render honors to his late buddy while I played 'Taps' kind of... well, it really made me not want to mess up the song in the slightest, you know.

Of course, the down side to revealing that one might have a little skill with a trumpet is when the Gunny decides that he needs his own personal bugler to play bugler calls whenever he needs to: make announcements. Walk into a room. Sit down. Cuss. Get up. Eat chow. Finish chow. Fart. Give marching commands. Etc, etc.


Hammer said...

That is a handy skill to have. I bet there is a shortage of taps players these days.

Murphy said...

I've seen one of those bugles with a speaker in 'em. The 'bugler' doesn't actually have to know how to play.

It does sound a lot better when it is played for real, though.