Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
October 2022
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Secret Soldier

Originally published on April 18, 2010

 

“I had just arrived in Germany for my tour of duty with the Army and I was interested in immersing myself in the local culture. I didn’t want to stick out as the typical American GI, so I set out to try to blend in with the locals as much as I could. My first weekend there I bought European label clothes. I went to a European barber to get a European haircut that would still comply with the military standards and I bought European style shoes. And I, in every way possible, toned down my behavior so as to appear non-American.

“Now I already knew French and within a few weeks I had learned about as much German as I could. I even shopped at the German marketplace and ate German food. And to make matters even more in my favor, I had blonde hair and blue eyes from my Irish/Scottish heritage and I figured that would really help me blend in.

“But it was at the marketplace that my failure to blend in became apparent. I stood at a crosswalk waiting for the light to change. I had a pair of grocery sacks in hand when a German gentleman walked up and stood beside me, also to wait for the light. I glanced over and gave him a friendly nod. No more. No words were exchanged. His reply was, ‘Hi, soldier.’”

The question is, how did he know?

 

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4 guesses to Secret Soldier


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  • Two bags of groceries. More than one day’s food.

  • Dude

    Nope, that’s not it. Keep guessing.

  • Nanao Ise

    He was carrying both bags in one hand. If he ran across another military officer, he would need to salute with his right, I think.

  • Dude

    Correct Nanao Ise,

    What gave our GI away was that he was carrying two grocery bags in one hand. Now it doesn’t take a soldier very long to figure out that if he’s carrying anything like grocery bags for example, he’d do well to carry them in one hand, the left hand. Why? So he could salute.

    You’re today’s winner.