Military life never had much appeal for us, as we are lazy and cowardly and constitutionally disinclined to follow orders, but we’re considering volunteering our services to the Swiss.
Such a radical career change occurred to us on a slow news day when we came across a story about an Ethiopian Airlines flight that was hijacked by its co-pilot and flown to Geneva. These developments were intriguing enough, but an even more striking detail was that French and Italian fighter planes were used to escort the hijacked airliner to the ground because the incident happened after the Swiss Air Force had concluded its business day. It seems the Swiss Air Force strictly observes an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, with an hour-and-half lunch break starting at noon, and anything that threatens Swiss national security during the off-hours is left to more martial nations such as the French and Italians.
That 8 a.m. starting time is somewhat daunting, given our very nocturnal tendencies, but a lengthy lunch break with Swiss cuisine might provide adequate compensation for the inconvenience. The Swiss Army’s famous knives always include a corkscrew, so we assume that the lunch will include a glass or two of wine, and the waitresses will presumably be blond, fair-complexioned, and pleasant-natured. War is hell, as no less an authority than General William Tecumseh Sherman once observed, but a cessation of hostilities at every lunch and dinner time and a good night’s rest following a cup of hot chocolate could make it tolerable.
The chances of avoiding anything remotely resembling war altogether are favorable for a member of the Swiss military, too, given Switzerland’s longstanding policy of strict neutrality. This distinctively Swiss tendency is much celebrated by pacifists everywhere, although we always thought that neutrality toward the Nazis and Communists and assorted other totalitarian evils that were gobbling up their neighbors was taking things a bit too far, but that’s us and we assume it’s more popular with the typical Swiss serviceman. Throw in the high wages and ample benefits that are bound to be offered by such a generous welfare state as Switzerland, and the military recruiters’ job must be easy duty. They might not be interested in out-of-shape fifty-somethings who don’t speak whatever language is spoken in Switzerland, but if they can find any use for our wine-popping skills and waggish wit we’d be tempted by the deal.
On the other hand, perhaps we should just wait for the United States military to catch up with our more progressive European examples. Another three years of radical transformation might well deliver us a unionized and nine-to-five Air Force that doesn’t dare practice weightist and ageist discrimination against out-of-shape fifty-somethings, and we’d be spared the necessity of learning whatever language it is that they speak in Switzerland.
— Bud Norman