Friday, September 30, 2011

The Bad Soldier

I'm going through my old journals again. Now that I see what crap writing it is--in my early 20s I worked hard to show off my purplest prose--I have nothing against throwing these things away. I was in a long-distance relationship back then and I went on and on about how it was perfect, it was the one thing I'd been waiting for, etc. I was completely mistaken, but I clung to it so desperately I tried to convince myself of it in my own journals.

Later journals show me that this was not a one-time thing. I was in a pretty bad relationship some years ago, and my journal entries each started with a devotional about why that girl was so good for me.


But there was a moment when I was in the Nat'l Guard, and one sergeant I respected, SSG Saver, spoke up in my defense to other admin. Saver was known as the "king-maker" because he had no interest in furthering his own career, he liked where he was and the level of support he could provide. Without perceiving this, other people would exploit him to further their own careers, successfully, and move on in a string of promotions. Both  kinds of people valued power, but Saver loved only the power he had whereas other people endlessly sought more and were perpetually unsatisfied.

But some other sergeants had been complaining about me, and SSG Saver spoke in my defense. They were complaining that I hung around and did nothing whereas everyone else was hard-working and busy. Saver formed a premise, that I was "not good at fucking off." He brought up three points everyone agreed with:

  1. If I'm told what to do and how to do it, I do it without delay.
  2. If I'm told to disappear for an hour and return, I will return at the end of that hour.
  3. If there's nothing for me to do, I'll hang around and don't bother to try to appear busy.
SSG Saver knew that I was struggling with my socialization. I see these posters about forming lifelong friendships in the military, and it's a bunch of bullshit. My fellow soldiers were as bad a degree of tormentors as the kids I went to high school with. They knew no loyalty and labored under no sense of honor. All they did was look for weaknesses to exploit, forming loose bands of temporarily aligned cohorts.

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