Despite his low opinion of lieutenants, the sergeant kept a respectful tone as he taught us how to bail out of a plane in an emergency.
"Sirs, to open the hatch," he began, "turn this lever to the right, then pull that handle."
"What if we don’t follow that sequence?" a second lieutenant asked.
"Then, sir," said the sergeant patiently, "you hit the hatch handle with a crash axe."
"That’ll open the hatch?"
"No, sir. But it will keep your mind occupied until you crash."