The other day, when someone asked on Facebook, “Anyone else feel immense relief when arriving home alive after a long road trip?” I responded with:
I was referring to long, dangerous road trips I’ve been on while deployed, and the relief felt when you get back to the relative safety of the base.
While I was just having fun, the incident got me thinking about how veterans tend to frame everything they touch through the prism of their service. The “Condescending Army Commercial,” a spot on parody by College Humor released in 2009 is a spoof of an actual series of Army commercials that ran under the theme of “Strength for Now, Strength for Later.” In the official Army commercials, they focus on a veteran after he or she leaves the service and is back in the civilian world. When they’re faced with challenges, they are able to lean on their prior service and military experience to relate to their civilian peers.
In those commercials, after the veteran thinks back to his or her military experience, they always seem to respond in a subtely condescending tone, as if to say, “yeah, this ain’t shit compared to what I’ve been through.” The folks at College Humor picked up on that condescending tone, and thus the brilliant parody.
This isn’t just a parody of Army commercials though. Some veterans, whether it be at the workplace, college, or on social media, have a tendency to respond to any event through the prism of their service, even when it really isn’t relevant. I watch veterans constantly crowbar their service into conversations where it just sits there, awkwardly.
My favorite part in the parody is the end, where the bearded guy says: “Hey man, when I ask you about things, can you not be a condescending dick about it?”
To which, our veteran replies in a condescending tone: “Yeah, I think I can not be a codescending dick about it!”