"Thank you for calling the British Army. I'm sorry, but all our units are out at the moment, or are otherwise engaged. Please leave a message with your country, name of organisation, the region, the specific crisis and a number at which we can call you.
As soon as we have sorted out Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, The Congo, marching up and down bits of tarmac in London and compulsory health and safety at work training, we will return your call.
Please speak after the tone or, if you require more options, listen to the following numbers:
If your crisis is small and close to the sea, press 1 for the Royal Marines.
If it is distant, with a tropical climate, good hotels and can be solved by one or two low-risk bombing runs, please press 2 for the Royal Air Force. Please note that this service is not available after 1630 or at weekends.
If your enquiry concerns a situation which can be resolved by a warship, some bunting, flags, a damn good cocktail party and a first class marching band, please write, well in advance, to the First Sea Lord, The Royal Navy, Whitehall, London SW1.
If your enquiry is not urgent. Press 3 for the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.
Thank you for calling and if you are interested in joining the Army (please, please, please, although retention is fine and we are right up to strength) and wish to be paid little, have premature Arthritis, put your wife and family (or gay lover) in a condemned hut miles from civilisation; and are prepared to work day and night whilst watching the Treasury eroding your original terms and conditions and promising a better pension, serving mainly in sandy climes, whilst picking up rubbish and putting out house fires all over the UK, while fireman and binmen have a little holiday; then please stay on the line. Your call will shortly be passed onto a bitter, passed-over Recruiting Sergeant in a horrendously fronted, yet grotty little office down by the railway station.
Have a nice day and thank you again for trying to contact The British Army."
With thanks to Tommy English and apologies to the RAF and RN