Thursday, July 19, 2012
What NOT To Do Before you Join the Navy.
*The following advice column may contain slightly explicit language and/or suggestive indications of naughty words. I apologize in advance- but it is nearly impossible to tell G-rated boot camp stories. Please do not read if easily offended. But come back and read next week's post. It'll be cleaner, I'm sure.
In the past month or so, many brilliant (and possibly not-so-brilliant) young men and women have graduated high school. Right now they are probably enjoying their lackadaisical summers, sipping lemonade and tanning by the pool. When autumn arrives, however; they will embark on a journey into a world full of opportunities. Many will go to college. Some may go right to work. A few will just sleep a lot on their parent’s couch. And the remainder may think it would be a good idea to join one of the branches of the military.
Though I cannot speak for all branches- I will say joining the Navy was a decision I do not regret. Although, there are many things I wish I could go back and tell myself during those crazy beginning months. Mainly: You will survive.
And of course there are many lessons I've learned along the way by watching others learn the hard way. Being the nice person that I am- I would like to take this opportunity to pass on some of these important lessons for others that follow.
Below are 4 major lessons of what NOT to do before you join the Navy:
1. Do not go and smoke a “doobie” [as we used to call it in Bena] at your going away party the night before you leave for boot camp. You will get a drug test upon arrival and get kicked out dishonorably. You will be unable to get a job anywhere- even McDonald's. They even said so. I guess the Navy owns McDonalds.
2. Do not get pregnant the night before you leave for boot camp. This will be hard to hide in the upcoming weeks. Pregnancy tests are part of your entry exam. This is one test you want to do NEGATIVE-ly on.
[Though this lesson pertains to women - I’d strongly recommend guys are cautious in this matter as well. Boot Camp is the last place you want baby-mama drama following you.]
3. Do not join the Navy if you cannot do a single push-up. You will pay. We all will pay. You will pay for making others pay.
4. And for the love of all that is right and holy, please do NOT join the Navy if you cannot swim. (Think: Navy= ships. Ships float on w-a-t-e-r.)
Sounds legit, right? However, one would be surprised how many people lie about their inability to swim. This is not the same as covering up the fact that you love disco. You can hide Afro wigs and bell bottoms in your drawers. You cannot hide the fact that you float like a cinder block.
If you do make the choice to join the Navy and you suddenly remember on swim day that you cannot swim, the best thing to do would be to own up to it. [you argue with me for a minute here] Shhh. Just do it.
How do you do that, you may ask. First, you must tell your RDC (Recruit Division Commander- aka Drill Instructor). If you choose not to, they are going to figure it out when you sink like a granite rock to the bottom of the pool. You will save yourself lots of time- and choking- if you fess up early-on.
Your conversation may go something like this:
“Petty Officer so-and-so,” you say.
“WHAT IS IT RECRUIT?” (That is what they will call you.)
“Um, there’s something I need to… um, tell you,” you begin.
“DAMMIT WHAT IS IT RECRUIT I DON’T HAVE ALL DAY SPIT IT OUT!”
You get nervous now, because of all of the yelling. Your palms begin to sweat. You forget what you were going to say. “I, ah,” you stumble, buying time until you remember. You swallow, but it feels like you have a cherry stuck in your throat. Not the little maraschino ones- the big black cherries.
After what seems like 50 minutes and 10 seconds, you manage to pull it together. “Sir, I just thought you should know-"
“GODDAMMIT RECRUIT I WORK FOR A LIVING DON’T CALL ME SIR,” the RDC interrupts.
And you lost your thoughts again. Nervous pause. Thinking. RDC waiting. Everyone looking with pleading eyes as if they are saying, “What are you doing? Don’t anger him! We’ll all pay. Again.”
“Petty officer, it’s just that I don’t think I can really technically swim,” you just blurt out at last- relieved to be done talking for the moment.
The RDC pauses, looking you up and down as if you’ve grown a third leg. He studies your face. You begin to think he is thinking about how sorry he is for you. Perhaps compassionate, even. Then he takes a deep breath and begins.
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT DO YOU NOT REALIZE THIS IS THE NAVY WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU JOIN THE NAVY IF YOU CAN’T SWIM DON’T YOU REALIZE THAT NAVY EQUALS SHIPS AND SHIPS LIVE IN THE WATER WHAT THE HELL DID YOUR MAMA SIGN YOU UP FOR DID SHE HAVE TO [censored] THE RECRUITER TO GET YOU INTO THE NAVY YOU’RE ABOUT AS USELESS AS NIPPLES ON A BULL WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING SON GO GET BACK IN LINE RIGHT NOW AND YOU WILL WAIT UNTIL EVERYONE IS DONE TAKING THEIR TEST LIKE A SHRIVELED UP PRUNE IN THE WATER AND THEN YOU WILL GO WITH PETTY OFFICER SO-AND-SO SO HE CAN TAKE YOUR HAND AND TEACH YOU HOW TO SWIM LIKE A LITTLE GIRL SO I DON’T HAVE TO STARE AT YOUR PUNY [censored] RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME AND HE WILL TEACH YOU TO DO ALL THE THINGS YOUR MAMA NEVER TAUGHT YOU DO YOU UNDERSTAND RECRUIT NOW GET THE [censored] OUT OF MY FACE.”
And then they will teach you how to swim. See how helpful they can be?