When I was a sophomore in college, I became disillusioned with the lifestyle I was living. I had recently broken up with a girlfriend and wasn’t exactly thrilled with school. Like a complete jackass, I impulsively enlisted in the United States Army. Here are a few lessons I learned there.
Having an education doesn’t mean you are educated.
The majority of the Armed Forces are made up of young men and women who have never stepped foot inside a college classroom. Until recently, you only needed a GED and 33 out of 100 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to head to basic training. If the truth is told, the Army doesn’t always need educated soldiers. What the military really needs are soldiers who are trainable and disciplined. I once witnessed a soldier with a master’s degree intentionally drop a chocolate hotdog into his pants during a formation. I’ll never understand how someone lives with himself after that. Some of the most decorated American heroes I have ever had the pleasure of meeting weren’t high school graduates. That, my friends, is why the military is one of the best ways to get young kids out of poverty and into a position where they can make a living and provide for their families.
Don’t shit on your subordinates, because they’ll piss in your canteen.
The military isn’t exactly a 9 to 5 job, and working 24 hours straight isn’t uncommon. As a soldier, it can be hard to keep your cool. People can get irritable, but it is important to keep troop morale up and try your best to have a positive attitude until the job is done. Having a leader who leads from the front and is always aware of his soldiers’ needs is crucial. If a leader respects his or her soldiers, then those soldiers will respect their leader. I was once on a field training exercise, which took place during an extremely cold winter storm. It should have been called off, but Doug Neidermeyer was our second lieutenant. He was a bona fide ASSHOLE. We didn’t have the appropriate supplies and should have gone back to the barracks. Except for a few overly devout Catholics, Sparta, Wisc., (where Fort McCoy is) isn’t exactly filled with homicidal religious nut jobs in need of cold, American justice. Long story short, Neidermeyer went off into the woods to empty his bladder. It was at this precise moment that a fellow lower enlisted soldier stood up, grabbed his ruck sack, pulled out his floppy fuck stick, and took a wizz in our lieutenant’s canteen. You could have heard a pen drop. Do I condone this soldier’s sadistic version of vigilantism? No. Did anyone say anything? Hell no. Was it fucked up? Eh, yeah. That still didn’t change the fact that we all watched our dick of a lieutenant drink the dehydrated, neon piss of an inbred West Virginian degenerate. The lesson to learn here is that no matter what, you need to always look out for your subordinates to the best of your ability. Whether it’s at the office or a server at a restaurant, always treat people with respect. I implore you to do your job as a leader, but show kindness toward those beneath you. It’s in your best interest, because if you act like Lieutenant Neidermeyer, someone will eventually walk into the break room and sprinkle a few pubes in your egg salad sandwich.
Always appreciate your significant other.
Have you ever heard the saying, “don’t dip your pen in company ink”? It’s kind of the same thing in the military, except in this case the “ink” has been on the same 6-hour ruck march as you and his or her ass is equally as grungy. To quote the late Bernie Mac, “Man is a sexual being.” That doesn’t stop just because you are in a combat zone or on an extended field training exercise. The female to male ration in the military is somewhere around seven to one. When you take into consideration that most military men are testosterone driven maniacs and half of the women are lesbians, that situation leads to a shit ton of Eskimo brothers. I have friends who came home from Iraq with STDs that baffled even the best microbiologists. The CDC has a special team strictly dedicated to Iraqi AIDS. Personally, I was never interested in military women. This is mostly due to my goal to never have to wake up and check the sizes of the pants on the bedroom floor because we both wear the same uniform. That just freaks me out. I understand where these soldiers are coming from though, because in the span of time that soldiers are away from their homes, threes turn into sixes and sixes turn into nines. I’m convinced that the military keeps Fleshlight in business. Bottom line, the military taught me to look past a pair of hairy legs and just be glad that my civilian significant other most likely showered today. For that I am most grateful.
I was very fortunate that my unit never deployed. I hopped off of active duty and was transferred to the reserves, where I was able to text, pillage, plunder, and eventually graduate from college with some of my best friends. I drill on the weekends, which mostly just involves quarterly weapons qualifications, sexual assault prevention classes, and Uncle Sam taking a peak at my urine. As Randall “Pink” Floyd said, “I think they’re just worried that some of us might be having too good a time.”
On behalf of military servicemen and women, I’d like to thank everyone for learning from the mistakes of countless dirty hippies in the 1970s. For the most part, you welcome us all home with open arms, no matter what your personal political beliefs happen to be. If you know a veteran, try to reach out to him or her. Invite him or her to your Independence Day party. Just make sure that you have plenty of cold beer and good food…and for God’s sake, warn the poor bastard before you set off the fucking fireworks.