I’ve never been in the military. It’s not as if I have a problem with it, both my grandfathers fought in WWII and my father spent Vietnam in Panama sampling the more interesting flora and fauna, but when I hit eighteen we were at relative peace with the rest of the world, the military was cutting back and I honestly had no interest in being physically and mentally tormented for a prolonged period of time in boot camp just so I could be all that I could be.
Now that I’m a stay-at-home father of three I believe not only that I am prepared for the mental rigors of boot camp but believe it would be a sweet release. (The physical stuff would destroy me right now. After over a year of staying home with the kids all the muscles that I developed over years of physical labor have all but disappeared and I now get winded tying my shoes.)
I’ll admit that most of what I know of boot camp comes from second-hand accounts and the movies, but it seems, on the most basic level, that boot camp consists of spending your days trying to accomplish goals while people, whom you’re not allowed to physically assault, scream at you at the top of their lungs, all while you’re suffering from extreme sleep deprivation and physical exhaustion.
Seems a lot like my life.
Then there’s the tearing you down to build you back up aspect of boot camp that I hear about. This is where the Drill Sargeant makes you feel as if everything you do is wrong to break your spirit just so you can be rebuilt into what they want you to be.
Once again, seems a lot like my life…
Three year old Drill Sargeant Demon Spawn: “PRIVATE DADGITATED! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!?”
Me: “A PBJ, Sir!”
DSDS: “DID I ASK FOR A PBJ PRIVATE?!?”
Me: “Yes Drill Sargeant!”
DSDS: “NO I DID NOT! I ASKED FOR A CHEESE STICK!”
Me: “But Drill Sar…”
DSDS: “ARE YOU QUESTIONING ME PRIVATE?!?”
Me: “No Drill Sargeant!”
DSDS: “NOW GET ME MY GOD DAMNED CHEESE STICK!”
Me: “Yes Drill Sargeant!”
DSDS: “WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING PRIVATE?!?”
Me: “Getting you a cheese stick Drill Sa…”
DSDS: “CHEESE STICK?!? CHEESE STICK?!?!?!? ARE YOU TRYING TO POISON ME PRIVATE?!? I DO NOT LIKE CHEESE STICKS, I NEVER HAVE LIKED CHEESE STICKS AND THE FACT THAT YOU WOULD EVEN CONSIDER THAT I WOULD EAT A CHEESE STICK MAKES IT CLEAR TO ME THAT YOU ARE DUMBER THAN THE DOG SHIT STUCK TO THE BOTTOM OF MY BOOT AND NOWHERE NEAR AS PRETTY! NOW WHERE IS MY PBJ?!?”
I’m still waiting to be built back up.
Oh, and boot camp is only twelve weeks long. I’ve been home with the kids now for over a year and there’s no break in my foreseeable future.
On the plus side, when the mental torment does end, I probably won’t be getting shot at on a daily basis, so there is that…