Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I prefer they remain an Army of "Minus One"...

It was probably bound to happen.I should have seen it coming the minute my roommate signed his life over to the National Guard actually. The writing was on the wall then, and as soon as Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed (and I lost my Golden "Get out of Jail Free" card), that writing became bold, italicized, and then underlined with a few too many exclamation points. Yes friends.I just got a rather soft-sell recruiting pitch from the National Guard.

A 'soft-sell' by the military (any branch of the military) is still more uncomfortable than having to walk past the kids selling candy or popcorn or whatever outside of Walmart. And let's face it; that shit is uncomfortable. I mean, you see them standing there, and the decent, human side of you hopes that they can sell enough of their crap to fix the tire on their broken down bus to get to nationals or whatever, but you just don't see the point of giving them your money because you don't care *that* know that when you get done in the store that they're still going to be there, so you either have to walk past them on the way in and the way out, or, you have to walk clear to the other side of the goddamned store and go out the other set of doors and then walk diagonally through the massive parking lot just to get back to your car. And by that point in time, the whole $.04 you've saved by going to Walmart instead of Target is just no longer worth it.

Anyway, this entire scenario happened by accident. Curt (the roommate, for those of you new to this whole thing), gets a call yesterday from his Masters telling him that he needs to go to Camp Dodge (again) to fill out (more) paper work. He asks if he can use my car, and I have to say "no" because I've got shit my civilian ass needs to accomplish today that requires a car. He has to call said Masters and tell them that he'll need a ride, but discovers he left his phone in the backseat of his friend's car (it's a girl people, so get your head out of the gutter.). Anyway, he needs to call, so he uses my phone. Apparently, the creepy ass National Guard people save every number that comes through, and when they call to let him know they're on the way to come get him, and can't reach him on his phone, they call mine. Three 5 minutes. I don't know where these people learned phone etiquette, but where I'm from, calling someone three times in 5 minutes is a tad bit on the psycho side. Still, it got me to pick up the call, despite having no idea who was calling. So the phone call goes a bit like this: "Is Curits [Last Name] There?" " This is his roommate." "Where's he at?" "Who the fuck is this?" "This is the National Guard." (Thinking to myself: 1. I just said 'fuck' to the National Guard, and 2. I'm pretty sure the National Guard isn't a person.) "Well, he's at home" "He's not answering his phone." "That sucks." and then there's a lengthy exposition from "The National Guard" about how they're going to pick him up and it'll be 'Chapter Two' if he's not ready to go when they get there. I may have said something to the effect of "I don't know what 'Chapter Two' is, but it best not involve you breaking into my apartment." and then they may have laughed. After a rather awkward pause where I was waiting for them to ask me to go home and wake him up, the "National Guard" asks "So now with Curt leaving, when can we expect you to sign up?" to which I replied with "Ohmygod.ummm, Never?" Which of course then begged the question (apparently) "Never? Why is that?" Normally, this is when I would have used my magic "I Am Gay" card, like I did in High School when I was getting called by these people (who seemed to have individual names back then.)on a weekly basis, but of course I'm not sure whether that actually works anymore, and I didn't really want to say anything that may hamper Curt's exodus either. So, in a rare moment of restraint for me, I just told "The National Guard" that it really wasn't what I wanted to do with my life.which STILL wasn't good enough for Them/Him, because he asked "well young man, what is it that you want to do with your life?" (and, as an aside, I really have no fucking clue whatsoever what I want to do with my life, but that's a terrible answer to give to someone like "The National Guard".) to which I told him that "Right Now? Hang up on you and get back to work." He started saying something else, but by that point I had hung up on him to get back to work.

Now, for the sake of brevity, I'll refrain (for this post) on sharing with you all my conflicted and complicated opinion on our modern military, and focus rather on why I'm pretty much the very last person that said Military would want in their ranks.

1.) I HATE fake people.and if there's any word to describe military recruiters (aside from skeezy), it would be 'Fake'. I remember Curt mentioning to me during his recruitment process that he was just thrilled and amazed by how nice everyone was to him.well duh. Of course they're nice. If they actually told you about how terrible they were all going to be to you once you signed up and swore in, you'd probably do an 'about face' and run the other way. There's a really good chance I'd be abandoned by the Used Car Salesman in Uniform during recruitment as I'd be going in to the process knowing they were lying out of their puckered little arseholes, and would be overly preoccupied with trying to trip them up. Not to mention, I'd want every single one of their 'promises' in writing.

2.) The military seems to be obsessed with making their recruits and members do really odd little acts of contortionism. Thus far, Curt's talked about "Duck Walking" and "Smurf-Jacks", the latter of which involves doing a jumping jack while squatting down. That my first thought after hearing this story was "I wonder if they got proper authorization from Peyo Inc. to use the word 'Smurf'?" probably isn't indicative of a successful military career for me either.

3.) They (the Military) expect people to get up at 5 am. No, If I'm not going to be able to get out of bed in order to make it to work on time, the odds of me getting out of bed at 5 am so I can go do a fucking 'Smurf-Jack' are slim to none.

4.) I once spent a night in jail.I didn't like it. I made a pretty rational decision after getting out of jail (not even really 'jail' so much as 'the drunk tank') to never go back. So far, from everything I've heard about the Military, sounds a lot like Jail, only you volunteer to go into it, and then they brainwash you into wanting to stay.or send you overseas and let people shoot you.or throw rotten fruit at you. Either way, it doesn't strike me as something I would ever expect to wake up and think "Hey, you know what sounds like fun."And if you disagree with me, you're probably either a.) Curt, or b.) stupid. Military = Voluntarily Going to Jail.

5.) It's me. I used to get offended when people would say to me "You'd never make it in the Military", because I took it to mean they saw me as fat, or lazy, or whatever, and they all envisioned me laying out in the PT Field, passed out cold from doing push ups or something like retrospect though, I think I understand what they mean. I don't particularly thrive in a structured environment. There's a reason I don't work at a call center any more. I don't need to be told when I can eat, go to the bathroom, when I can talk.and god help me if someone tells me a I can't smoke while having a cigarette. While I consider myself matured past the "I'm a grown man and can do whatever I want" attitude, I also consider myself developmentally sound enough to not need to be told what to do, and when to do it, every minute of the day.

Granted, if you're completely delusional, I can see where the above list could be taken as "5 reasons RJ needs the military", but that's just stupid. Me in the military is a Court Martial and 'Other than Honorable' Discharge just waiting to happen. In my imagination, the most likely scenarios involviing me in a National Guard drill are: I start laughing; I punch the Drill Sergeant in the nose; I Ally MacBeal dream about punching the Drill Sergeant in the nose and then start laughing; I grab my stuff and announce to the entire platoon "Screw you guys, I'm going home." The last one would certainly be the most interesting. I mean, you have to wonder what would happen in that instance. Would they chase me down and haul me back? Would they shoot me? That seems a little extreme, but then again, so does making people do Smurf-Jacks (Smurf is a Registered Trademark of Peyo, Inc. All Rights Reserved.) at 5 am. Then there's the fact that I work for a Veteran owned company, that has me on assignment at the VA, and that makes most of their money off of Federal contracts. The smart money says that they'd frown on having an AWOL soldier on their payroll, and I'm not entirely sure if "getting fired for being an AWOL soldier" flies with Iowa Workforce Development when trying to get unemployment.

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