GUNS Magazine Down in the dumps
speed is life
Field exercises in the Arctic present their own unique challenges. The military naturally provides the expected Porta-Johns, but at 40 below zero you really don’t want to linger there. Accordingly, there is a technique to this. You wait until there is no ambiguity about the need, get out there and move on with purpose. Sometimes guys are in too much of a rush.
There was a poor wretched Alaskan whose job was to drive the poop sucker truck and dump these things. He looked straight out of the central cast – a tall, hulking hairy man wearing worn-out Carhartt overalls repaired with duct tape. Apparently, his contract required that he remove the waste from the Porta-John, no matter where it might reside.
The early morning stillness was broken one fine day by claps of thunder and a stream of unfiltered profanity such as I have never experienced before or since. Curiosity got the better of me, so I put on my arctic gear and ventured outside to investigate. I was greeted by Alaska huge pounding on something with a pair of 2×4 planks. He was using one as a hammer and the other as a chisel.
Apparently a young stud had rushed a little and threw his load on the ground instead of in the hole. I have a hard time visualizing how this is even anatomically possible, but here goes. The huge pile froze in no time, attaching itself like a leech to the floor of the jeans. The poor guy eventually let go and moved on to his next date with fate. Taken in context, my work didn’t seem so bad anymore.