Typhoon Platoon 3 showed up this weekend. I was Duty NCO Saturday, and
spent a good 18 hours greeting the new recruits that arrived in dribs and
drabs until the wee hours of the morning. I had to clear them into their
rooms, assign them meal cards, and give them a basic briefing (don't touch
this, don't do that, don't go there) in preparation for the course that
officially begun Sunday at 18:00 hrs. Last night I was at work until 22:00
hrs, as they officially met all the platoon staff, and were read all the
rules and directives.
The first week begins with them getting issued all of their kit, going
to medical appoints, and filling out reams of paper work. The really fun
stuff doesn't begin until around Thursday. I can hardly wait.
There's a platoon two weeks ahead of us in-house right now. I had to March
them to dinner Saturday night, and of course they wanted to show off for
me because I'm not part of their regular platoon staff. So they did their
little motivational yell:
"Where are we going
ALL THE WAY!
"What are we going
SET THE STANDARD!
"How are we going to
"When are we going
to get there?"
I remember a few years back when I was training a March and Shoot Team,
our team was basically kicking everyone's ass in preliminary competitions.
The School Commandant approached me and told me that I was doing an outstanding
job, but felt that we should have one of those motiviation yells, because
all the other teams did. So, the next day we he arrived to watch us train,
I yelled out:
"Where are we going
"How are we going to
"STAND STILL AND DON'T
"When are we going
to get there?"
The Commandant kind of grinned and said, "Point taken. I'll leave you alone
and let you carry on with the fine job you're doing training the team."
I always liked that man.
So Typhoon 3 showed up last weekend, which is mostly why I've been incommunicado
lately. You know, the 5 AM mornings, 16 hour days, and then you have to
take work home to stay caught up. I'm sure you can all identify.
Anyway, this bunch seems like a pretty good lot, other than the fact the
a few of them still don't know their right from their left, and that they
take us way too literally sometimes. For instance, we spend a lot of the
initial indoctrination period stressing the fact that they should do exactly
what they're told to do, exactly how we tell them to do it, and exactly
when we tell them to get it done. Still, I was a little surprised when
after the fitness staff informed them that they would have to climb a fourteen
foot rope to the top, one of the recruits put up their hand and asked,
"Do we have to climb back down?"
And, overheard while on their first 3 Km march: Female Recruit: "Oh my
God, look at my fingernails. I have the cuticles of a crack whore."
CO came in and stood at the back of my class while I was teaching, Maintaining
Physical Security. At the end of the lecture, I began the preparation to
teach the next class, Canadian Forces Publications, by writing the title
on the board.
"I see they give you all the exciting lessons, Master Corporal," he said.
"That's what I get for having the nerve to go on leave when they're assigning
who teaches what, Sir," I answered.
And I have to tell you, I love Victoria dearly, but sometimes I long for
the days in Ontario. A place where drivers aren't afraid to drive over
50 km an hour for fear of losing control of their vehicles at "those crazy
breakneck speeds." Not to mention the 30 km an hour speed limit in
the residential area where I live. It's pretty bad when you're worried
about getting a ticket for coasting over the speed limit.
So I was giving the recruits their security briefing on the care and handling
of classified documents, and how the military fills out all its forms in
triplicate--you know: one for us; one for them; and one we burn so the
Russians don't get it.
Anyway, one of the recruits puts up his hand and asked, "Master Corporal,
you keep mentioning the Russians. Are they getting uppity again?"
I just sighed, shook my head, and answered, "No, I'm just old."
Half these guys weren't even born when the Berlin wall came down. Young
I'm not feeling very writerly lately. Actually, I'm not feeling very anything
at all. My friends seem to be doing well. Karin's BURNDIVE is out--yeah,
Karin!!--and Snagy seems to be having major success with his story, The
Hanged Man of Oz--which is only fair because it's a great, and I mean really
great, story. Marsha did the whole Clarion thing, Amber is--well, Amber.
Her stuff's great, the right people seem interested in it, and of course
she's got the whole Ideomancer thing going for her. (Of course, so does
Marsha, so that's a double whammy.) And Charlie? Well, enough said. Then
of course there's James, and Cecilia, and...oh, never mind.
I try to write every day, but so far the average is about three times a
week. I haven't sold anything in almost two years, and don't seem likely
to in the near future, and no one's even nibbled at DARKSIDE in as long.
I've got ideas for at least three more novels percolating right now, and
I'll probably actually write them, because hey, why not?
Still, I remember when Charlie and I first met at the beginning of this
foray. Charlie had given himself a year to "make it", and while I think
even he realizes how naive that was now, at least he did make it. It's
been at least three years now, and though I seemed to show promise at the
beginning, I haven't even come close.
I found out a couple of weeks ago that they're going to close down the
Recruit School here in Victoria in May. That's right, even though they've
admitted there's a definite need for a satellite school to handle the overflow
of recruits that the school in St. Jean can't handle, and the fact that
every other school they tried to stand up failed miserably; even though
our school is up and running and fully functioning, and by all accounts
puts out a better product than St. Jean, which better trained recruits,
a better work environment, and a happier staff--they're shutting us down.
That means another posting for me, probably to a job I couldn't care less
about, where I'll have to start all over at the bottom of the pecking order
for promotions again. Of course I don't know where I'll be going, what
I'll be doing, where I'll be living, or how any of this will affect my
financial situation. My writing, my military career, and my life are all
in limbo. Right now I kind of feel like Amber's mouse.
Oh, yeah, and I still haven't won the lottery yet. Stupid Karma.
The time is 15:00 hours on a Thursday afternoon. Typhoon Platoon is formed
up in three ranks in front of me. They've just finished PT, and are all
hot and sweaty in their jogging suits. (It's a shame they're all that uniform
gray. What with the haircuts and all, dressed up in colorful jogging suits
they'd look like a convention of Goodfellas.) Anyway, I holler at them
to steady up, and then tell them, "When I dismiss you, get upstairs, shower,
change into your combats, and be out on the floor outside your rooms ready
for O Group." (Orders Group--end of the day instructions, in this case.)
"Are there any questions?"
One recruit puts up his hand and asks how much time they have. The rest
of them stare daggers at him. See, I made a mistake (no, really--I realize
it stretches the bounds of reality, but it happens occasionally) in not
giving them a time limit, and if he had kept his mouth shut they could
have all had a nice leisurely shower, seeing as dinner wasn't until 17:00.
So I figure I'll be nice--what the hell, and I tell them they have 20 minutes.
We often give them some ridicules time limit like five minutes, which is
impossible, just so we can yell at them when they're not ready on time.
There's only 8 showers, total--4 for the 7 women in the platoon, and another
4 for the 47 males.
Anyway, another recruit puts up his hand and says, "Master Corporal, how
do you expect 54 people to all shower in 20 minutes?" (Another recruit
that's going to get the snot beat out of him later, no doubt.)
I grin at them and say, "That's what teamwork's all about. And now you
have 15 minutes. MOVE!"
Can you believe I get paid for this?
just to prove I'm not the only weirdo where I work:
Warrant: I was
at the hospital until two-thirty in the morning with one of the recruits
he developed a spasm in his urinary tract, couldn't go to the bathroom
for a few days, and his system was becoming toxic.
Me: What did
they do for him?
doctor massaged his testicles, stuck her finger up his rectum, and eventually
he went to the bathroom.
I hope he doesn't expect us to do that for him.
No, but I have an appointment with that doctor tomorrow.
We gave the recruits the briefing on behavior if and when they managed
to get weekend leave at the end of their fourth week. In summation, I told
"If you go downtown, get all drunked up and get into a fight, we'll
find out about it. If you go downtown, get all drunked up and thrown into
cells overnight to sober up; we'll find out about it. And if you go downtown
and get so pissed out of shape that you accidentally go home with a drag
queen; we'll find out about it--and we'll laugh."
P P Y B I R T H D A Y A M B E R!!!