Karen's think they run the world and think that if it's not their way, it will be, or else. But when this entitled woman tries to take over the reserved military space for her bratty family, chaos ensues.
We’ve all seen a Karen before. You know who. Sunglasses on (even though she’s inside), fresh highlights in her pixie cut, and that ridiculously toxic side-eye that just screams “Can I speak to your manager?” Karen is everywhere and nowhere at once. In shopping malls, checkout lines, and parking lots all across suburban America. But no matter where Karen is she gets results by going right for the throat. She’ll whine, curse, call corporate, and nickel and dime you senseless. It’s a war of attrition. Nine times out of ten this usually works out in her favor but there are some managers that just can’t be swayed.
In this episode, Karen takes on the military. Our OP joined the Army right out of high school. During basic training, he volunteered for a unit within the army known as The Old Guard. The Old Guard (TOG) is responsible for ceremonies in the DC area and funerals in Arlington National Cemetery, amongst other duties. TOG consists of units you may have heard of, such as the US Army Drill Team and the Sentinels of the Tomb of the Unknowns, as well as lesser-known platoons such as the Presidential Salute Battery and the US Army Continental Color Guard and is the oldest active unit in the army.
The Karen encounter begins on the Fourth of July in the heart of Washington, D.C. OP and his unit’s specific task that day is to man the massive three-inch anti-tank cannons of the Presidential Salute Battery. They’ll be firing off blanks for the bass line of the 1812 overture in the main performance. A high honor. OP and his comrades enjoy a cookout behind a roped-off area of the mall. For most of the day, the crowds have been thin. But as the evening gets closer, people begin to pack the Mall shoulder to shoulder in anticipation of the fireworks show. Occasionally, people ask if they could join the cookout but are politely declined. Authorized personnel only.
The OP recalls his first contact like the calm before the storm, “I was near the edge of our area when I hear something behind me. I turned around and there she is, pinched face and a haircut that says ‘I want to speak with your manager’s manager.’”
Before OP knew what was happening, the Karen spoke up.
Karen: Excuse me, young man, could you ask your father to take this rope down? This is supposed to be a public area for everyone and my kids can’t see the Capitol.
There are literally signs hanging on the rope every 5 feet explaining the purpose of the rope.
OP: (with his best PR smile) I’m sorry ma’am, this area is reserved for members of TOG and their families. If you’d like to come back a little closer to dusk, we’ll be taking the rope down around then.
Karen: TOG? I’ve never heard of that before.
OP: Ma’am, TOG is the primary ceremonial unit for the US Army and to the President of the US of A
Karen: I don’t see the president. Shouldn’t you be escorting him or something then?
Platoon Sergeant (PSG): (stepping in to save our OP) Good afternoon ma’am, I’m the Sergeant what seems to be the problem?
OP knows when to back out of a fight and let the big dogs handle things. As he steps back, can’t help but notice the whining. Karen looks especially annoyed but the Major doesn’t budge. She leaves in a defeated huff and the soldiers go about their holiday. Everyone thought it was the end of things, but two hours later, she was back.
After cleaning up their trash, breaking down the chairs and tables, out if the corner of his eye OP sees Karen approaching again, this time with two Capitol Police officers in tow. PSG must have noticed too, as OP heard him mutter profanities under his breath as he walked to intercept the trio.
PSG: Officers, what seems to be the problem?
Cops: Sergeant, we received a report that your soldiers were making lewd gestures and comments towards this woman’s family. Is there any truth to this?
PSG: Absolutely not, I’ve been supervising them all day, nothing even close to that has happened today.
Cops: We had assumed that, but we had to follow up. Sorry to bother you.
Karen: You mean you are going to just let them sit there and hog up all the space!? I drove my kids 9 hours to see this!!!!!
Cops: Ma’am, these men are here with the expressed permission of the Capitol Police and the District of Columbia. There are signs there that explicitly state that.
PSG: Ma’am, we’re cleaning up our area right now, as soon as we are done we will be removing the rope to let everyone in. If you can be patient and wait, we can get you and your family right up front here in about 20 minutes.
Karen proceeded to stare at them, much like a cow stares at an incoming train. Then she spun around and walked away without another word. OP thought Karen was out of their hair, but out of nowhere, she was back, trailed by her 4 children and obviously stressed spouse. OP recalls she was all but screaming, “It’s about time! Get out of my way!” as she went barreling right through one of his comrades.
OP mentions here that to be in TOG you have to be between 5′ 10″ and 6′ 4″ and maintain the army standard of physical fitness. To add to that, TOG is an infantry unit. If you aren’t aware, the infantry are generally the front line soldiers in combat, and we are trained for just that. So, suffice to say, none of these guys were small, nor weak. So when he says she barreled through this dude, he means it. She put some force into it.
As his comrade goes sprawling to the ground, steel pylons fly in every direction. A couple hit him in the face, chipped a tooth, and split his eyebrow open. One pylon bounces of the ground and hits one of Karen’s kids in the leg. The kid starts wailing like he lost a limb. As the men help their comrade up, Karen is losing every last ounce of her mind. Red-faced, screaming about how she’s going to sue TOG for assault, how they probably aren’t even real soldiers, how they’ve ruined her family vacation.
At this point PSG is done with her. With a single word he quieted everyone within 50 feet of us.
PSG: STOP! THAT IS ENOUGH. YOU HAVE BEEN HARASSING ME AND MY SOLDIERS ALL AFTERNOON. WE HAVE TRIED TO BE NICE, WE HAVE TRIED TO BE RESPECTFUL. YOU HAVE BEEN NOTHING BUT RUDE. NOW YOU’VE INJURED ONE OF MY SOLDIERS. THIS. STOPS. NOW!
OP thought Karen might have had a small stroke right then. She stood, mouth agape, not able to utter a single word. And then, as if right on cue, the Capitol policemen arrived. They hadn’t been far away and had seen the entire incident. OP didn’t think Karen’s eyes could get any wider, until the first officer pulled out a pair of cuffs and said, “Ma’am turn around and put your hands behind your back. You are under arrest for assault and harassment.”
She tried every excuse she could think of, but the cops were having exactly none of it. They talked to the comrade she barreled through, he wanted to press charges. So they carted her off. OP didn’t know what the father did with the kids, they disappeared when the cops took Karen.
Afterward, after the assaulted comrade comes back from the court hearing, Karen had been carrying 3 bottles of substances that weren’t hers, and 2 stolen credit cards when the cops searched her. OP had no idea what kind of time she got, but it wasn’t enough! A true Karen really will find a way to ruin even the simplest of things.