“You Don’t Have A F***** Thing To Say About It!!!”

Ahhh, army training, army messaging, army discipline. Some memories just stay with you, forever.

For instance, the corporal (could have been a general for all we raw recruits knew) who swore he couldn’t hear us as we screamed answers inches from his face. Does alcohol make you deaf and dumb?

Being called a dummy by the sergeant because my ‘steel pot’ (helmet) was backwards (excuse me, inexperienced and nervous), it stuck with me all these years as a reminder to check myself with one last glance in the mirror before leaving the house. Getting noticed by sergeants now.

But being told by the Senior Drill Sergeant that I ‘didn’t have a f****** thing to say about it’, after I was asked my opinion, well, that still brings a chuckle as I recall the exact moment.

That Senior Drill Sergeant’s assertion, that I ‘didn’t have an effin thing to say about anything’, just shut up and do as I’m told, is seared in my memory. He didn’t say that last part, but I was good at reading between the lines. i knew what he meant and took his ‘advice’ seriously.

And it worked well, army training, with that understanding. The military wasn’t built for opinions. It was built for action. There’s no time to debate. All discussions about any and every issue had gone on years before I came along. The rules work best when people react instantly to appropriate orders.

Strangely, when the training portion of my military service was completed, I realized, begrudgingly maybe, that it’s probably not a bad idea for a young man to have a brief period in his life when he has nothin’ to say about nothin’. Just do as you’re told. I think it fits into the broad category the army would call ‘discipline’.

Growing up and getting older teaches some of the same lessons but the army was kind enough to teach the condensed version.

I still check my appearance before leaving the house each day, making sure my ‘gig line’ conforms. The edge of my shirt, belt buckle and pant zipper must all be in alignment with each other: APPEARANCE! The corners of my bed sheets need to be tight and tucked, daily: ORDER! The area around my house is clean of any piece of scrap: CLEANLINESS! My shoe laces are still laid ‘left over right: UNIFORMITY! Above all, follow the rules:.CONFORMITY!

Yes, a substantial dose of discipline at an early age can have a positive effect for a lifetime. I just never understood, ‘hurry up and wait’*…

* anyone with military experience gets this

Steve B

To anyone with military training.