Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What's the difference between the VA and a con artist?

Nearly everyday I meet with veterans to discuss their next moves in their ongoing struggles with the VA. Today was no different. This time I met at a local hotel restaurant with a retired master gunnery sergeant, a marine of course.

Strategically, I chose a table with a direct view of the pool—you never know what you might see, hopefully NOT some fat hairy European in a Speedo. Fortunately, even when there is a “Mr. Speedo” there is also usually a cutey in a bikini to keep him company; so I guess it all evens out.

My friend had an uncharacteristically troubled look on his face as we shook hands and took our seats.

“Up until about ten minutes ago I wasn’t sure I was even going to make it here,” he said, shaking his head while opening his briefcase. “I was in my car stopped in traffic just down from Kokomos, and this chick walks up next to my car. She put one hand on her forehead and then slammed the side of my car with her other hand. Then she fell down on the street and started groaning like I’d hit her.”

“Oh man! She was trying to scam you… It just never ENDS around here,” I complained bitterly. “So what happened?”

“A bunch of people suddenly surrounded me, all of ‘em looking at this woman lying on the ground. I didn’t know what the hell to do. And then a motorcycle cop came up and grabbed the woman by the arm and forced her to her feet. He told me he saw everything and to go ahead and go.”

“Dude! Good on him! He saved you a whole bunch of hassle, if not a whole lot of pesos.”

“Yep. He acted like he had been watching her, like he knew she was going to try something like that. She must have a history of scamming foreigners.”

“I hope he takes her to jail and roughs her up on the way there. I wonder how many tourists and foreigners she has already bilked? I guess its just one more trick we have to watch out for.”

He shrugged resignedly, “Well, at least that policeman helped me out. All’s well that ends well…”

I chuckled, “Well, if it’s not the VA screwing you over, it’s a local con artist. You gotta love it!”


Ed said...

If that had happened to me, I probably would have creamed my pants thinking I was going to the local clink. Maybe another reason why I hire a driver instead of driving myself.

PhilippinesPhil said...

"Creamed?" Whoa Ed, I think I need an update on your vernacular my friend; but I think I know what you mean.

Lots of scams here. As I said, we are often seen as sheep to be "harvested" every so often.

This wouldn't have been "clink" material. At most, they'd put your departure on hold until an "arrangement" could be made for a payoff. A lot of guys just pay up front to avoid the hassle, and THAT'S why the con-artists keep doing it. GBTF!

KA said...

truly pray that i'll never have to deal with eiter.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Sounds like you have no plans to make the army a career. The US Army has a nasty habit of unnecessarily wrecking ankles, feet and knees. From what I've seen, it's the worst of all the services. Even administrative types are messed up from being forced to run daily in formation. The primary problem is that folks are made to feel guilty if they don't run, so they run injured, and THAT is what ruins them. Take care of yourself, or you WILL be dealing with the VA.

Anonymous said...

". . .made to feel guilty if they don't run, so they run injured . . ."

Ouch! Now THAT brought to the surface a long-forgotten memory. One time I was running with my army unit and at a break an NCO asked if anyone had blisters. I signaled that I did and he called me out and up front. Then made me feel a perfect ass by calling my all kinds of insulting names. Well. . . okay guy, we all learned to just ignore the injuries and go to sick call when they got too bad to run. What a way to motivate folks, eh?

PhilippinesPhil said...

I hope the army has changed its ways. You were in a loooong time ago. The military is a collage of cultures, the army, AF, marines, navy, each has its own little system of societies. Individuals make up those societies. One good person who knows how to lead can make ALL the difference. But, one jerk-in-charge can also make a huge impact. Evidently, some services tend to have more jerks than good leaders. As I made rank I always endeavored to be one of the latter, but others would say, "That's how I was treated, so that's how I will do it too."

KA said...

My little issues are a hell of my own making. getting me to quit running is like pulling teeth sometimes. I got better... a year ago,i couldnt climb stairs cos of my knee, so my boyfriend (now husband) had to carry me up three flights of stairs everytime I went to visit him. Seems like a sign, huh?

PhilippinesPhil said...

The more you tell me, the more I KNOW you WILL be dealing with the VA someday. If you don't plan on staying in for 20 then you should start reading NOW my posts on disability claims.