by Beth Barnett
This satirical essay has some honest truth in it. You decide.
First of all, know who you are, then forget yourself. Think highly of your gifts and abilities and know that they will be useful. Shyness is not inherited and it is no gift, step out and be seen and heard or you will be stomped on. Be willing to die for the freedom to be who you are. Believe that you are working for a higher purpose, an ideal bigger than you are. Understand that freedom isn’t free and that someone has had to die for you to live the way you do today.
Know who your true friends are because they will never forget you. Know who wants to take advantage of you, for they will seek to destroy you later. Know who your enemies are and laugh at their ignorance, but guard your back.
Look at the pain in your life, for you will be able to laugh at it soon. If you are easily offended, don’t bother to raise your hand or open your mouth: for that will be a constant pain for you. Open your mind to everything around you. You will see your fear and your prejudice with eyes wide open, right in front of you. You will face both of them. Recognize fear and prejudice and think of them as they are: false perceptions of reality. Realize that other soldiers are dealing with their own false perceptions, and know that very few of them will want to know you fully.
You will face the most diverse culture you’ve ever seen, mixed in a world that you never believed existed. Be prepared to be thrown into a foreign culture, to be around people who speak different languages, military lingo and otherwise. Hooah?
Understand the difference between professional and personal respect. You will have to honor the orders of those in charge of you because of their position. Smile, stay silent and let it go in one ear and out of the other when your superior explains he/she has a hangover from partying the night before, even though you are thinking that he/she is an idiot for not knowing that you don’t care. Be prepared to have leaders in charge who are babies compared to you. It will be a humbling experience, but suck it up and take the suggestion about respect that I gave above. If you feel you must give personal advice to them, zip your lips unless you deal in diplomacy. If you need advice from your leaders, seek it at all costs, then go to see the chaplain when their advice profits you nothing.
Once you are up at the break of dawn to do physical or job training, you will learn a new definition of early. When you’re called at three o’clock in the morning and told to pack your gear and come into the base, know that it is not a good idea to curse out loud to the person on the other end. Your freedom will be reduced if you do so. Realize that we protect democracy, but we do not practice it. Stay connected with your superiors through communication to know all updates and changes that will occur to any and every schedule and plan made. Never claim ignorance when you’re wrong: believe me, that never works.
Know that you will be trained in a job that will pay you twice as much or more as a civilian than as a soldier. If you live off-base or in a foreign country, know that you will be compensated with extra monetary benefits. If you are married, your family members will be taken care of in your checks and with medical insurance.
Ladies, know that you can get out for getting pregnant, but don’t brag about it. Men don’t want to hear about your feminine personal problems. If a male superior blantantly asks you for the reason you are going to see the doctor, feel free to make his face turn red as you announce it. He’ll never ask you again. If you need to cry to let off steam, do it. Don’t care about what the other soldiers think. They have no right to judge you. If people question your authority as you rise in rank, ask them what they’ve done to warrant you listening to them.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you still want to be soldiers, go for it now before you come back to your senses.