Tag Archives: Motivational Drill Sergeant

Motivational Drill Sergeant and the Aliens

My father, the Motivational Drill Sergeant, likes to tell this story, especially after he’s had a few Piña Coladas. That’s all he drinks, although he calls them Muzzle Blasters.

One night when my mother was off giving a speech to the UN, my father and I were at home playing the Game of Death. It’s a game he made up—basically a combination of the Game of Life and Risk with his own rules mixed in. He had already had a few Muzzle Blasters, and so I wasn’t surprised when he brought up the aliens.

With apologies to Milton Bradley

With apologies to Milton Bradley

“Boy, did I ever tell you about the time I got kidnapped by aliens?”

“I don’t think so,” I said, although I could probably have quoted the story, word for word.

“It was about 10 years ago, before you were born,” he said. I didn’t enlighten him that I was older than 10. “I was out by myself, skulking around the perimeter of Dollywood, since I’ve always been suspicious of that place. I was just climbing a tree, when I was approached by two aliens. They were yellow, looked like flowers, and were exactly opposite heights.”

flower alien

This is a detail he always puts in, although I’ve never figured out what “opposite heights” means exactly. I nodded and rolled the dice. “I’m attacking the wedding chapel,” I said.

“You only have four armies,” he said. “You need at least five armies to attack the chapel without a degree.”

“Yeah, but you said that if I cashed in my Fire Insurance, it was good for two more armies,” I said. He frowned a bit and then nodded. My father has made the Game of Death so complicated that I have to remind him of the rules sometimes.

“Anyway,” he said, taking another swig of Muzzle Blaster, “they asked me to come with them, to which I replied in the negative. Meaning, I told them to buzz off. The next thing I knew, I was onboard an alien spacecraft. I knew it was a spacecraft, because I saw the Earth in the window. That was a dead giveaway.”

“‘Are you out of your flowery, extraterrestrial gourds?’ I bellowed at them in my best drill sergeant yell. ‘How dare you kidnap me?’

“‘We need your help,’ one of the aliens said. He looked bashful and that made me feel better. ‘We’ve heard a lot about you.’

“That made me feel a lot better, but I didn’t as much as smile. ‘What’s the problem?’ I growled.

“‘We’ve spent years building up weapons of unimaginable destructive power but we’re too shy to use them,’ the alien said.”

“Did he blush orange when he said it?” I asked.

“He did, actually,” my dad said. “Are you sure you haven’t heard this story before?” He took my innocent look as confirmation that I hadn’t and continued.

“I said to those aliens, I said, ‘Well, who do you want to attack? Not us, I hope.’ ‘Oh no,’ they said. ‘We’ve seen enough of your TV programs to know you’d get way too angry. We were thinking of the innocuous creatures of Flufficon Four.’”

“I thought it was Cuddlius Three,” I said, forgetting that I’d never heard the story before.

“They wanted to attack a lot of innocuous planets,” my dad said. “Anyway, I stood up and slapped the main alien in the face. ‘What a bunch of spineless, gutless, yellow-bellied space pansies!’ ‘We’re actually closer to tulips,’ the main alien began, but I slapped him again.

“‘Shut up!’ I shouted. ‘If you got the flower-power, you use it, see? Nobody pushes you around and you don’t let a bunch of Flufficons or Cuddlians intimidate you. Ooh, what’s wrong, you waiting for an engraved invitation before you go attack them? Well, it’s not coming!”

“‘But—’ one of the aliens began but I cut him off. ‘But?’ I shouted. ‘But is something you sit on and you won’t conquer any planets sitting down. Now, stand up.’ They all stood up a lot straighter. ‘Get out there and conquer some innocuous planets and don’t let me see your sorry asses back here until you do. Also, if you could, drop me off at Dollywood before you go. Something about that Dolly Parton makes me suspicious.’”

While he had been telling the story, I had been quietly cheating and by now, I controlled most of the board. My dad looked down and grimaced.

“I’m nuking the retirement mansion,” he said, taking out a hammer.

“I thought you needed to roll two 12s in a row to do that,” I said.

“Okay,” he said, and proceeded to roll two 12s in a row. The hammer came down and the little plastic mansion was shattered. I don’t know how he does it, but no one beats my dad at games when he’s been drinking Muzzle Blasters.

Motivational Drill Sergeant Meets His Wife

My dad, the Motivational Drill Sergeant, is hard to get to know. Still, we have our moments, when we bond. Sometimes he’s not even shouting at me.


We were out in the backyard, building ferret traps. We don’t have ferrets in our area, but my dad likes to be prepared. I was feeling bored, so I asked, “Hey, Motivational Drill Sergeant, how did you meet Mom?” I asked this because my dad hates personal questions and I figured it would get a rise out of him. You get him on a good enough rise and he’ll start ranting, which is wicked fun to watch. He once ranted about taxes, automatic transmission, Assyrians, the undead, and Hannah Montana, all in the space of ten minutes.

“Are you saying, Boy, that I have never told you the account of how I met your mother?” He always phrased things in a shouty sort of way, but his tone was casual. He had just finished yelling at a senator for an hour and that always put him in a good mood.

“No, sir,” I said.

“It was before you were born,” he said, and paused. I considered this rather obvious information and waited for him to continue.

“Your mother was a political activist. She was into politics like a badger is into a termite mound: is wasn’t really her thing, but since she was there, she thought she might as well try to take down the whole thing.

“She would call up members of congress in the middle of the night and say, ‘It’s 2am, do you know where your constituents are?’ She wouldn’t hang up until they told her the location of all of them. Then she’d call up the constituents and tell them their members of congress were spying on them and that they’d better elect another one. She still does that sometimes, if she’s bored.”

“Were you a political activist too?” I asked him.

“Are you crazy, Boy?” he shouted. “I hate politics. No, I’d go to rallies and shout at the protesters: tell them to wake up and don’t be so angry all the time. Better ways to change things than walking around, waving a bunch of fruity signs. Then I’d shout at the police and tell them to stop oppressing citizens and standing in the way of progress.”

“So, you yelled at everyone?”

“They all needed a good dose of the Truth,” he said, with a small nod. He stapled the last piece of barbed wire to the ferret cage he was working on, hooked up the battery, and picked up another one.

So many people to yell at.

So many people to yell at.

“Anyway, I was at a rally in Washington D.C when I saw her. She was pretty. I noticed that about her. So I went up to her and said, ‘You call that a sign? I’ve made better signs while I was passed out drunk on the side of the road. If you allow me, Ma’am, I will take you out to dinner and instruct you on how to make a proper sign.’

“She said, ‘You call that a pick-up line? I’ve worked in sewers that didn’t stink half as bad.’

“‘That’s disgraceful!’ I replied. ‘A pretty girl like you shouldn’t be working in a filthy sewer.’

“‘So now you’re telling me where I should work?’ she asked. ‘Just because you think I’m pretty?’

“‘I tell it how I see it, Ma’am,’ I said. ‘And you being pretty is all I know about you so far. I cannot ascertain more without further reconnaissance.’

“At that point, she hit me with her sign. ‘Listen up, you chauvinistic pig of a stuffed shirt,’ she yelled. ‘I will rip your crew cut from your head and use it to scrub my toilet if you don’t back off right now! If a miserable worm like yourself has the gall to insult a woman like me, I will feed you to the sharks!’

“‘Will you marry me?’ I asked her. She hit me with her sign again.

“‘We’ll see,’ she said. We were married six months later.”

“Is that true?” I asked him.

“Are you calling me a liar, Boy?” he shouted. Then his tone softened. “Go ask your mother.”

(Read more Motivational Drill Sergeant stories here)

Motivational Drill Sergeant

I don’t know my father’s name, but I think it’s Gary. Everyone calls him Motivational Drill Sergeant—even me. I don’t know when he got the name, since he’s never been in the Army—actually I’ve never known him to ever have a job. He just sits around the house, brushing his crew cut, playing solitaire, and waiting for someone to come. Then he yells at them for a while, and they give him money and go away.

I was home one afternoon when there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a one-legged frog sitting on the doormat.

“Is this the house of the Motivational Drill Sergeant?” it asked.

“Yes,” I said, quite unfazed. I’ve seen stranger things show up at our door. “How did you knock on the door?”

“I waited until some Girl Scouts came selling cookies. They knocked but then they saw me and ran away. I’m not well-liked, you know.” It lowered its head.

I gave up trying to talk to people—or animals—who come to see my father. “You want me to carry you in?” I asked.

“No, no, I’ve got it,” the frog said and set about trying to struggle over the threshold. After fifteen minutes of waiting, I gave it a boost and it pretended not to notice.

“Motivational Drill Sergeant! Someone here to see you!” I yelled. My father immediately appeared in the door of his office. He had been listening and waiting for me to call him.

“I see, I see!” he said. “Boy, go get my shaving kit.” He always calls me Boy. I don’t mind; it was better than those two weeks last summer when he kept calling me Girl, or those weird three days when I was Puffy McPastry.

I went and got his shaving kit from the bathroom. My father has the words SUCK IT UP tattooed on his upper lip. Whenever someone comes to see him, he shaves off his mustache to make the point. I gave him the shaving kit and he marched back into the bathroom.

“Right!” he said several minutes later, striding out. The words SUCK IT UP stood out clearly. “What’s the matter with you, frog?”


“And how did you lose that leg?” My father was slowly getting his yell up. It took him a few minutes after playing solitaire for several days.

“I went to Paris on vacation,” the frog said. “Somebody ate it.”


“You are the sorriest excuse for a frog I have ever seen!” my father bellowed. “I’ve seen better frogs at the zoo gift shop—those plastic hollow ones with the squeaker in their mouths that you buy your kid, to piss off your wife. If you were in a not-sucking race with one of those, it would beat you hands-down.”

“But I—” the frog began again.

“Shut your fly-hole! You think you’re special? You think that all it’s going to take is for some dame to kiss you and you’ll turn into a prince? You are not a prince! You’re nothing but a measly, one-legged frog who needs to grow up. Now get out there and be the best one-legged frog you can be!”

I thought he had gone too far. The frog was crying now. “Thank you, Motivational Drill Sergeant,” it said at last. “Thank you so much.” It gave my father $500 and then hopped away, falling over the threshold and out onto the front step.

“That’s right,” my father said, pointing to his upper lip. “Suck it up.” Then he went back to playing solitaire.

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