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Ever have a job for which you were supremely ill-suited?

"In '59, I was drafted, and the Army sent me to a 16-piece post band 30 miles northeast of Barstow, Calif.," wrote Bob Briggs. "The band wanted to play baseball in the base league, and there were just enough players because two of us had never played and knew almost nothing about it.

"However, the league also required each team to supply two non-members to umpire other games. So the two of us had to officiate a tank battalion game.

"That evening while I was calling balls and strikes by guessing, the men started looking at me with bewilderment. I finally had to explain that I knew nothing about baseball and that my C.O. had ordered us to do it.

"Fortunately, the men's attitude changed, and they agreed to play the rest of the game just for the fun of it.

"Later in the game, I had to call a home plate slide-in and tag. The dust cloud was so thick that when I finally called it, several members of both teams were rolling on the ground laughing.

"I was so thankful that those tank guys were so understanding. The next day, the league said that the band could play without sending umpires."

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The online home for Paul Turner's musings and interactions with disciples of The Slice.