I've always appreciated a sense of humor. Those without one must lead a dull life indeed.
And, sometimes a sense of humor turns up in a situation one would least expect to find it.
Thus, a touch of humor is the topic of today's column, and it had to do with a training class at the National World War I Museum, of all things and places.
Since the magnificent museum reopened in December 2006, the number of volunteers who report daily to run the operation has grown by leaps and bounds.
The last number of active volunteers I recall seeing was more than 250.
The person who keeps them (us) in line and tells us where to go is called the volunteer coordinator. There are several mandatory classes during a calendar year that all volunteers must attend, and a safety class is one.
We get an email telling of an upcoming class, of which there are at least three to accommodate all volunteers. Many, if not most of them, have a day job during the week, so training classes are scheduled on a Saturday.
Several years ago, I got an email about a safety class that all volunteers were to attend. The coordinator at the time was a cute young thing, young enough that probably 90 percent of the volunteers were old enough to be her parent.
I didn't know her very well, as she was fairly new to the job. When I got the email about the mandatory class, I was in a good mood, ready for a bit of frivolity.
So, instead of just responding with a reply that I'd be there, I sent the following message, or one worded very similar.
"I received your email about the mandatory safety training all volunteers must attend. Since you know little about me or my background, please read on.
"During an assignment in Germany as an Army officer, for two years I was the safety officer of the First Armored Division stationed in Bavaria.
"At that time, the First Armored Division was the largest division in Germany, with more soldiers, mechanized vehicles, and wheel vehicles than any other. As the division safety officer in the division G-1 section, safety was my big concern.
"I am proud to say that for those two years, the First Armored Division received a plaque designating it the safest division in the entire U.S. Army in Europe. With that cogent fact in my background, I believe my experience as a safety officer should be sufficient and override any requirement for me to attend a safety class at the National WWI Museum."
I'm not sure how I expected her to respond, but it was worded similar to this: "John, thank you for sharing your experiences as an Army officer far away and long ago. Congratulations on your division's accomplishment as the safest one in the whole U.S. Army in Europe.
Page 2 of 2 - "I'm sure your experience from that assignment and accomplishment will stand you in good stead when you attend the National WWI Museum's mandatory annual safety class for all volunteers next Saturday. See you then, and I hope you enjoy the class."
Since I love a good sense of humor, she and I became best buds from that moment on.
I don't recall if I enjoyed the safety class or not, but do recall that I attended the class. Yes, sir, if I can keep several thousand tankers and infantrymen safe, I can probably do the same on my shifts at the museum to keep visitors safe.
No tanks are on the move there.
No EMTs have to be called yet to haul away a visitor during my shifts at the museum. I reckon that might prove the adage that one is never too old to learn.
John Reichley is a retired Army officer and retired Department of the Army civilian employee.