Home > PSA > A Close Encounter With the Temperature Police

A Close Encounter With the Temperature Police

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I am currently roaming the wilds of Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, intellectual home of the US Army.  In the course of my insignificant duties, I happened upon what I can only describe as the temperature police.

Figure 1Background.

Ft. Leavenworth has a uniform policy concerning the wear of the fleece cap (see figure at left). The cap may be worn at 30 degrees Fahrenheit or below.  I never really concerned myself with the temperature.  I have yet to find this policy in writing, but its one of those things that has been floating around so long, everyone just assumes it’s legit. 

I took a somewhat more pragmatic approach to my fleece cap wearing.  I figured I’d wear the cap if my ears were cold, and if my ears were cold, it was probably under 30 degrees, or at least close enough to be within the spirit of the law.  After all, the whole point of the thing was to stay warm.



On that fateful morning, I woke up and the temp was right around 0 degrees.  I didn’t bother to check the daily forecast – it was damn cold.  So, I tossed on my fleece cap and headed to work.

Later that day, I was heading back out to my car after work when I spotted a major walking toward me excitedly.  I tried to ignore him, but he deftly intercepted me.  The conversation went something like this:


Major: You need to put on a beret! (see figure at right).

Me: Why?

Major: Because it is not less than 30 degrees.

Me: How do you know that?

Major: Because I just came from my car, which has a temperature readout.

Me: Oh.  Well I don’t have a beret.

Major: Well, you need to find one.

Me: Can I borrow yours? (I chuckle)

Major: (Scowl.  No laugh)

Me: How warm is it anyway?  It seems pretty cold to me.

Major:  It’s not below 30. (Walks away).

Me: To tell you the truth, I don’t believe you.  It seems like it’s under thirty.

Major: (Turns around)My car says 32.

Me:  Really?  You are correcting me for two degrees?

Major: (Agitated) 2 degrees or not, 30 degrees is the standard.

Me: Well, I’m keeping my hat on.  Besides, my ears are cold.

Major: (Approaching me again) Do we need to go see the general about this?

Me:  (Exasperated) Really?  Sure! Let’s march on up to the general’s office and you can tell him all about how I was wearing a fleece cap when it was freezing outside, but it was 32 degrees according to your car.  We can even walk him down to your car to show him the temperature.  I mean, that’s really the only way to prove it.  Do you really want to go there, dude?  What are you, the temperature police? 

Major: (Walking away again).  It’s guys like you that give officers a bad reputation.

Me: Dude!  I just want warm ears!


Sigh.  Another day in the Army.

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