Finding the Fun Despite the Stress of a Military PCS


Comedian and Air Force spouse Ashley Gutermuth has learned to laugh through each successive permanent change of station (PCS) move.

Over the course of about 10 moves -- effectively "a million," she said -- she's even camped out in her recreational vehicle (RV) at bases in Virginia and Georgia.

Gutermuth was living in San Antonio -- in a "Residence, you know, the most glorious of 'Inns'" -- when she joined an episode of the "PCS with" podcast. Amid stories about her collection of six Roombas and observations on the art of comedy and the ubiquity of commissary chicken shortages, she shared a few tips about finding the funny in military life.

RelatedWhy Your Military PCS Might be Funnier Than You Think It Is

Look for Humor in Anything

For her comedy, Gutermuth tries to "come up with something that's just like a straight line, and then you try to finagle it to make it funny."

Even her PCS fail of getting scammed on a tiny house that never got built was so absurd, she can still joke about it.

"I always thought [if] somebody steals more than $2,000, that's grand larceny, right?" she said. "They go and arrest him. It's easy. No, apparently it's not easy."

Be a Troublemaker

You can choose a playful attitude, Gutermuth advised, including doing "some things that cause a little bit of trouble."

"Read the hotel signs," she said. "There's a sign in my hotel right now that says this area is off limits, and it's near the breakfast buffet. And I'm like, 'Get over yourself. Like, what do you mean it's off limits?' ... I'm going to go behind it."

Don't Take Things Too Seriously

"I don't find any value in taking something seriously ever," Gutermuth said. "And if you can make something funny -- 'Oh, that sucks' -- you are creating something that wouldn't have existed otherwise. So you made something good out of something bad."

Find Happiness in Otherwise Mundane Experiences

Gutermuth had never been to a Buc-ee's gas station until she moved to Tennessee.

"I went to a Buc-ee's, and you're just like, 'What is this Walmart of gas stations, you know? And that's funny in itself. Things that you never see."

Change Your Perspective

Deliberately look at life and situations from a new angle, Gutermuth advised.

"You'll start to see wordplay in things," she said. "I think of it like, literally, 'How can I flip this around, and what would make this more amusing?

"I try to amuse myself constantly."

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