So its like 2:30 in the morning and I have to get up at 9:00 am and my brain is not working particularly well, but I just thought of something that I felt was worth getting down before I lost all recollection of it. Its an epiphany of sorts.
You see I work in a prison for my day job. I am in the national guard and a hard charging US Army Military Police soldier on the weekends. The parallels between the two are such that they bear repeating. First and foremost, an enlisted contract and a prison sentence are eerily similar in that they both are for a prescribed amount of time where you will be under the complete control of the United States government, in my case I have done two bids, and am currently serving my third. My first was for 5 years, 6 months and 19 days. My second was for 2 years, 5 months and 11 days, and this one is for 6 years. Of which I have served just under 3 years. Parallel number two is the slang used by those subject to these government mandated service terms. First and foremost is the slang used for completion of said service. Both prisoners, and soldiers ask each other, "When you getting out?" In reference, obviously, to when they are allowed to leave out from under the government's watchful eye. In addition, like prison, the military's food is notoriously bad, and both are known for giving people who were abused as children power over others. Not to mention the simple fact that the military and prison are both places viewed with apprehension and fear by a large portion of the thinking population.
I find this incredibly funny. Last but certainly not least, is the mentality of both prisoners and lower enlisted soldiers. These two groups have stunningly similar ideas about how to conduct themselves. Each group will do anything in order to maintain some semblance of dignity and will do just about anything to circumvent the authority of those appointed over them by the United States government. Case in point.
While on that little exercise down in Arkansas we were given a bit of direction by the Sergeant Major (the highest ranking enlisted man) as to what was acceptable as far as smoking was concerned. There were designated smoking areas around the base, but he never actually verbally stated that these were the only places that we could smoke, all he said was that we could not "WALK AND SMOKE". Literally, those were his words, do not walk and smoke. Well we found this to be infinitely inconvenient. I mean, we have got things to do, we can't be stopping for 5 minutes here and there to smoke. Soldiers are busy people. So we had to find a way around it. So here is what we came up with.
Since he plainly stated that we could not walk and smoke, but he had not said anything about carrying a lit cigarette we took to doing something that is completely ridiculous, childish, immature and just flat out fucking stupid. However, thinking back I find it tremendously funny. We would light our cigarettes and take a drag while standing stationary with both feet firmly planted on the ground. No legal argument could be made that we were walking. Then we would palm the offending cigarette and move out smartly to our intended destination. When we wanted another drag we would stop dead in our tracks, plant our feet firmly on the ground, ensure that we were making no movements of any kind that could be construed by a rationale person as walking, and we would take another drag off of our cigarette. This process would be repeated until one of two conditions existed.
1. The cigarette was gone.
2. We arrived at our intended destination.
So technically we obeyed the orders that were given to us. We just put our own little bit of flavor on it. Is that or is that not the biggest pile of bullshit you have ever heard. I mean I am 30 years old and I am still doing things like this. The military definitely has a regressive effect on my maturity level. I sit here and am thinking, if this kind of thing is going on after 3 weeks, I cannot wait to see what incredible shit we come up with after a year of this...