AM I TOO OLD FOR WAR?
A play by Volodymyr Serdiuk
Characters: 1. Me. A civilian male over 60, with a backpack, bottle of water, shovel and axe.
- Sergeant. Woman in a military uniform.
Settings: The Characters at a table.
ME: … … … ???
SERGEANT: You’re next.
ME: Oh, right. Is this where one enlists in the Veterans for Active Service?
SERGEANT: Yes, sir. What is your military rank?
ME: Senior Sergeant.
SERGEANT: Military Specialization?
ME: Air Defense Systems.
SERGEANT: Oh, right. What is your age, sir?
ME: There is a line in my Military ID that mentions the weapon I mastered.
SERGEANT: What is your age, sir? Precisely.
ME: Sixty-five. Sex-TY Five, you know.
SERGEANT: With all due respect, sir, at your age you’d be better off going home to take it easy.
ME: I am a good, experienced veteran.
SERGEANT: Not now, sir.
ME: Damn. If you had been at Yellow River in 1974 I would have shown you what a hot shot I am!
SERGEANT: I was not even born then, sir.
SERGEANT: Control yourself, sir.
ME: I said nothing obscene about you!
SERGEANT: Except “yippy,” sir.
ME: I meant boogieing the night away, ducktail shaking on your head.
SERGEANT: That somehow sounds offensive, sir.
ME: Not at all. That’s how we usually looked in those years.
SERGEANT: I see. You mean the era of pyramid pants, sir?
ME: No. I mean the era of handmade bell-bottom denim trousers.
SERGEANT: With all due respect, sir, there is no Yellow River in this country.
ME: It’s in the Far East.
SERGEANT: I’m sorry, sir. But today’s Army will do fine without you.
SERGEANT: Because if I don’t understand what you’re saying, I don’t think other soldiers will either, sir.
SERGEANT: Communicating with you would be rather problematic on the battlefield, sir.
ME: You mean you won’t even give me some rusty old AK-47?
SERGEANT: No, sir.
ME: I could…
SERGEANT: Next, please!
All the men in line simultaneously take one step forward.
I was not kicked out of the office.
I left voluntarily, stepping aside and going out.
This was Day Two of the Russian Military Invasion of Ukraine. February 25, 2022. Kyiv.
Another veteran, much older than I, stood outside the office. He tried to mount his bicycle and fell over.
I helped him back on his feet and offered him my adrenaline booster pills.
He proudly refused them.
What an arrogant old man, I thought to myself.
SOUNDS OF THE SONG: “…And I think to myself – What a Wonderful World…”
February 2022, Kyiv, Ukraine