Sunday, March 06, 2005

I was just listening to a replay of the (often unlistenable) "Majority Report" on Air America in which they interviewed an Army deserter. The topic of recruiters in the schools came up, as did the backgrounds of soldiers (class, family, etc).

And I started to think back to my own time as a young man.

I never seriously considered the military, but I did talk to Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine recruiters largely for shits and giggles but I wasn't ruling anything out. Well. Except the Air Force. And the Army. Army and Air Force bases are often tucked away in some boring ass crack, and I figured sailors and marines had a better shot at "seeing the world".

Anywho, the Navy recruiter was a total idiot. He made a big pitch for "nuclear propulsion" because that's where they like to send their "smart" recruits. He was trying to make me blush, I suppose, but what he didn't count on was that I had long before become accustomed to being mistaken for smart. In fact, some actual smartness had rubbed off on me over the years and I was prompted to ask, more or less, if, by nuclear propulsion, he meant the engine room. He did (he spluttered). So (sez I), you are selling me on the prospect of spending weeks on end 10 decks or so below the top of an aircraft carrier, practicing a craft with no useful civillian application. He was, in fact, but he argued that there were civillian applications for that. I pointed out that I had seen the ONLY nuclear-powered civilian ship in the world, and it was a museum piece in Charleston, SC.

He was offering me training in Monorail development.

Had he asked me a few questions, he might have gotten somewhere. Namely: did I see the movie "Top Gun"? (I graduated in 1990, so it was semi recent at the time.)

Yes. Yes I did. I liked it. (I now hate it, but respect the power of the propaganda.)

Would I like to learn to fly an aeroplane?

Yes. Yes I would.

Did I have any connection with the Navy?

Yes. Yes I did. My dad and one uncle were in the Coast Guard (which is not the Navy, but has things in common with it), and dad's ship was placed under Naval command while he was in Vietnam. And my other uncle was a Commander in the Naval Reserve at the time of my interview.

He didn't ask any variation on those questions. Had he, and had he followed the answers with appropriate pitches, he might have gotten somewhere. Praise Allah, he didn't.

The Marine, however. That guy was, as they say, squared away. He was a walkin' talkin' advertisement for the Corps. No bullshit: If you join the Marine Corps, you will learn to kill people and blow shit up. Whatever innate talents you have will be channeled into shitupblowing/peoplekilling. Anything else you learn will be somehow useful in peoplekilling and shitupblowing. It is highly likely that you will put your peoplekilling/shitupblowing skills to use while you are a Marine. You will learn to talk about all things in a this manner.

I passed on the offer, but only because I reckoned that I lacked a taste for peoplekilling. Shitupblowing struck me as interesting, but I decided to keep that on the hobby level.

If you have read this far, you are probably wondering about the payoff. There is none. I don't know how my memories could possibly add to the human discussion. I'm just sayin.



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