A Military Festivus: The Airing of Grievances


Happy Festivus. I've got a lot of problems with you people. Now you're going to hear about it.

In case you aren't up on new holidays, Festivus isn't actually one. But that's OK. It is a fictional Dec. 23 holiday created by the writers of Seinfeld. Yes, that Seinfeld. Celebrators gather around a pole (no tinsel, it's distracting). They eat food, they demonstrate feats of strength and, before anything else, they air grievances.

Yup, grievances.

Here's a little tutorial.


I've always liked this idea ... and then promptly chickened out from airing any grievances to any actual people because, really, no one likes to hear that stuff.

But this year? This year I'm done.


Happy Festivus. Here, in no particular order, is a small sampling of my military grievances.

Hey military pharmacy managers. Picking up medication isn't this painful ANYWHERE else. Why in the world does it take an hour to get an antibiotic at a military pharmacy? There has to be a better way! Get with the program.

The people at CYS who make me re-register and fill out all the forms again every single year. Shouldn't this stuff be in a database somewhere? How about you just make me show up and prove that we still live there and turn in updated shot records instead of this re-registration insanity? You are driving us all crazy.

The mean checkout lady at the commissary. Look lady, having a bad day is one thing. Making your living standard "Grumpy is a state of mind," a motto that was on your sweatshirt last week, is entirely different. YOU are one of the reasons people hate the commissary. Employees at other grocery stores don't behave like this. Why? Because they would be fired. But not you. You're a government employee. So, nice or not, you are there until retirement. I was so nice to you. I wished you happy holidays, I even tossed "Merry Christmas" in there just in case you are one of these people who gets grumpy when someone specifically leaves out the word "Christmas." I was determined to get you to at least pretend to smile. I attempted small talk. I made a self deprecating joke. I asked after the health of another checker by name. NOTHING. No smile, no response back -- just grunting. And, by the way, you are like that every single time I see you. There is no reason to be that unkind to a customer or, really, anyone for that matter. You have got to snap out of it.

The people at CIF who won't let you turn in "dirty" gear that is actually just used. If we have to spend one more DIME on Army gear that you will not accept because it is "dirty" even though it was actually just used for the purpose for which it was issued, I am going to come over there and demand a feats of strength demonstration. I am very strong. I spend many hours every week lifting, tossing, flipping and swinging heavy things at a local CrossFit gym. You've been warned.

Organizations that jump ship the hot second something becomes a controversy instead of standing by the people they backed. I am a person who likes consistency. If you are going to be a moron, at least keep doing it so we all know what to expect. But don't pretend to be supportive and helpful and then retreat as soon as something becomes controversial. It's unattractive.

You people who control how transition really works. They are always telling us that you have a year to get out of the military and get your feet underneath you. They always say that you'll receive training to make a smooth transition. You are all liars.

The produce managers at the commissary. I desperately want to love you, really. But I buy a lot of vegetables, and I canNOT abide one more instance of paying $1.25 for an avocado that is rotten when I cut it open. Can.not. Handle. It.

You people who perpetuate the rank structure among military spouses. Oh, I know you try to not wear your husband's rank, and to view everyone equally. But when we only invite spouses of a certain rank to social events that you then publicly BRAG about having gone to, you isolate spouses who couldn't come because you wouldn't let them. Those lower ranks are packed with talent and interest ... and blocked by you not giving them a seat at the table. Just because their service members are at the mercy of the rank structure doesn't mean they should be.

Travel managers. Hey. Why is it that the military is able to refuel an aircraft in mid-air within a very precise window, but when it's time for redeployment the estimated timing can be off by DAYS?

And then there's you, Congress. You people are really driving me crazy. You make a bunch of promises, and then you back out of them. You say nice things about the military, and then you slash our pay and benefits. You claim you are going to wait for a commission to finish their study on what benefits should change, and then you do whatever you want anyway. I don't know why I'm surprised by any of this. Since when were politicians stereotyped as honest and truthful? That's right -- never. Still, get with it.

Next there's you military leaders in Washington. I saw that budget you submitted to Congress last year and I want you to know something -- I was not impressed. Sure, you can blame cuts on lawmakers if you want, but those guys didn't MAKE you submit a budget with those kind of benefits cuts. What ever happened to the promises that were made to people before they signed up to go off to war? Uncool.

And, finally, Big Army. You need to cut it out. I sit in this house with two kids who are waiting for their Daddy to come home every single night. But Daddy is stuck late doing a lot of paperwork that seems really stupid. What's up with that? Also, you still owe us separation pay for 2012 ... you know, in case you forgot.


Have grievances? Air them in the comments. Happy Festivus, one and all!


Photo courtesy U.S. Army.

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