By now, our class has settled in to a comfortable rhythm of raking, mopping, sweeping, and answering phones at all hours of the night. We are generally being carried along on the tide of stupidity here like flotsam, just temporary visitors until the current draws us away, inevitably, to (hopefully) brighter shores.
We’re no longer the new class, since a group of noobs arrived yesterday; this means that our status has immediately been elevated to that of semi-crusty veterans (not fully crusty, of course, since there are two classes ahead of us). This means that the spirit of vicious retribution against the innocent has been kindled anew in the rest of the platoon. The noobs hadn’t been in formation for more than five minutes before everyone was plotting how to offload all our extra duties upon them. Staff duty? Put ’em on it! Flag detail? Their classroom is right across from the flagpole! Phone watch? Fuck ’em! It’s a little shocking that we would look upon fellow soldiers, NCOs, signaliers, with such sadism and naked cunning – since the only difference between them and us is six weeks on the calendar. Then again, it’s an inevitable consequence of the utter disorganization and casual, institutionalized disrespect displayed here, an environment that is the prime breeding ground for the old cliche, “shit rolls downhill.”
The senior SGL tried to say that the new class should be shielded from extra duty during the supposedly-critical Cisco phase of the course. This suggestion was met with howls of indignation, since we received the same empty promise upon our arrival, only to have mops and rakes and the flag thrust into our hands instead of keyboards. We were late to our own final test because of flag detail, because the SGLs told us the flag had priority over any of our academics! So we’d be damned if we were going to let anyone else get out of extra duty. Like a bunch of beaten children, we in turn look for our own set of victims, just so we can claw our way up the hierarchy that exists only in our fevered minds.
This reflects a larger truth: that much of status in the Army (and I would imagine, in the other services as well) is about comparative suffering, the notion that he who has seen the worst/most ridiculous/lamest shit is entitled to high status, I guess by virtue of having survived with mental and physical capabilities intact. That’s a whole other post, though…