Remember when you were serving and you came across someone who used to be in the Army, possibly the same trade, and you thought "What a knackered old bugger, glad it's all changed"? Well, attending a reunion a couple of weeks ago and found I was now the knackered old bugger. Now, we know that we were God's Chosen People. The things we did, whether on ops (very limited then) or in the pub (not so limited) were the most hilarious and outrageous things anyone could ever get up to. However, recounting the most hiliarious story of how we wrecked a bar in Famagusta was met with a glazed look from some of the youngsters present, as if it was a different age. Recounting the stories of patrols in bandit country of S Armagh or the how we sh!t ourselves on the first time we dropped into X-M-Glen were met with glazed looks of, well, I can only describe it as apathy. I remember looking at those who regaled us with stories of when they were in Swaziland or on R&R in Mombasa etc with the same looks these young warriors were giving me about my time in the Falklands (ancient history to some - would you believe one of them wasn't even born in 1982? - some of the others were still undergoing potty training). No matter how many times I tried to tell them we were so good at our job that the Russkis daren't attack and we were the only thing standing between the might of 3 Shock Army and the destruction of the Western way of life, I could still sense the pitying looks from these youngsters. Now, I don't quite smell of wee or, even, dribble that much when I'm in company but having them bring me pints to my table (as if I couldn't be trusted to get all the way to the bar and back by myself without spilling half the glass) sort of rankled a little bit. No matter that I forged a successful career after leaving the Army and becoming a (though I say it myself) quite well thought of Captain of Industy, the looks were still almost pitying and very, very condescending. Just because my, ahem, gut, tends to stick over my belt nowadays, I still regard myself as one of lifes warriors. Just because Guinness is responsible for my, shall we say, slightly portly demeanour, I did go through all the things they do now in the BFT/CFT (they had a quick giggle at that because of my old-fashioned terminology) and, whilst I was one of the instigators of bringing in IT/Computer useage into our old trade, they now tell me they actually put in travel claims/LOA claims/"expenses" claims directly into a computer system without filling in forms which we knew the numbers off by heart. I did have a great night meeting all the ex old and bold I served with. One of the young sprogs I taught in trade training had just been promoted to WO1 but, the most galling thing of all, one those I trained had just retired after finishing his 22! Glad to say, he was being looked at as one of the knackered old buggers even though he'd only been out for 6 months! It comes to us all, it comes to us all.