Wednesday, May 26, 2010


In a basement, a large, steel door opens before him, revealing a room nearly completely devoid of light. He can hear hisses from within, laments on the brightness of the light behind him, and rude exhortations to close the door. He steps in and does so. He is greeted by a large being with pale skin, clammy hands, and bulging eyes: a goblin! "What do you want?" the creature demands, rudely. Scared, he stammered "I-I w-was sent to...." Interrupting, the creature snapped the note out of his hand and scanned the writing. "I see," it said at last. "Well, go back and tell them that we'll get to it IF and WHEN we can. We have better things to do down here than to fix everything that goes wrong up there. Now, leave." Turning and hurrying out of the room, the questor wondered exactly what the goblins had to do that was better? Weren't they kept around JUST to fix things that went wrong? Shaking his head, relieved that this was now out of his hands, the questor hurried out of the basement and back to where he belonged, in the light of the sun and the warmth of human society.

One might think that this little narration is one of my fantasy stories, or, perhaps, one that I might write in the future. Really, though, this is a very near telling of my first dealing with Army civilian IT techs.... *shudder*

At this point in my career, I have been to many military posts of varying size. And without question, on every post, big or small, the IT guys (and girls) are like goblins. In the Army, IT issues are handled by a local DOIM (pronounced "doom"), or Directorate Of Information Management. DOIM is staffed by civilian contractors. Their department is usually housed in a basement corner, usually near the security office. Invariably they will have a large, steel door blocking them off from the rest of the world. Being locked in a basement all day, they tend to be very pale. Being disinclined to eat right and excercise (usually) they tend to have bad, clammy skin. Looking at computer screens in a dark basement all day tends to give them bad eyesight, making them squint or bulge their eyes. And they tend to have really bad attitudes. Like it isn't their JOB to fix computer and network problems, but they only do it at their pleasure, which isn't very often. The conversation in our little narration pretty much happened exactly as I wrote it, to me, back when I was a young private, brand new to my first unit. And it took our Battalion Sergeant Major calling and making an angry complaint to actually get anything done. Now, everything is pretty much automated. They DESPISE personal contact, so they handle everything via email, including turning in trouble tickets. If you even call them, they tend to get angry and take even longer on your issues. It's so bad, that I've heard of bases where the Post Commander fired the entire DOIM staff, hired new ones the next day, and moved on with business. I have never heard of anywhere that DOIM is a pleasure to work with, let alone realizing that they are there to support Soldiers and our mission, not the other way around. Of all the civilian contractors that we have to work with in the modern Army, DOIM is the worst. Think about it: they have pale, clammy skin, bulging or squinty eyes, and tend to be greedy little cusses, especially with their precious time. And because of all of this, they truly are the modern goblins of our world. I wonder if I can get extra XP and buff my stats by hunting them.... *evil grin*

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