Wednesday, August 17, 2005

COM: An Army for the junkie neighbor kid

THE NEW ARMY RECRUITING PAMPHLET
by JOEL STEIN, The New Yorker, Issue of 2005-08-22 , Posted 2005-08-15

“Sign up and you're signing away your free time!” That's just one of the many myths out there about Today's Military. The reality? 30 days of paid vacation a year is the norm. From salaries to Basic Training, there are lots of misconceptions about military life. Maybe it's time to familiarize yourself with the truth.
—From Today's Military, a government Web site.


Dude, we totally know what you're thinking. That you'll have to wake up early. That we'll make you run all day with heavy stuff on your back. That you have to be drug-free, know how to read, and rank the U.S. as one of your top five favorite countries. Wrong, wrong, and wrong! And whatever else you're thinking? Wrong!

The Army is actually a whole lot of fun. Picture this: You get up—ten, eleven, whatever's good for you. Then we have brunch. Pancakes, waffles, French toast, some grease if the night before was a rough one. Sugar cereals. Then, at 1200 hours—just kidding! nobody here uses that number thing anymore—around noonish we hit the Xbox for a few hours of Halo and all-you-can-eat Cool Ranch Doritos. It's combat training without breaking a sweat. After a quick nap, we pack in some more training by watching a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie marathon. Then a dinner of chipped beef on toast, dehydrated mashed pota- Again, totally joking! We're having Taco Bell every night, all night, washed down by some of the best that Milwaukee has to offer.

As for uniforms, could that G.I. Joe crap have been any dorkier? Our new fatigues are super-comfy zebra-print pajama pants and a T-shirt from Nazareth's Hair of the Dog tour. How freaking intimidating is that going to be to other countries?

A lot of you may have seen movies or heard stories about mean drill sergeants. No more. Not only do the new Suggestion Sergeants use phrases like “Do you mind counting off?” and “Drop and give me twenty whenever you get a minute” but they actually encourage you to yell at them. That's right, you—who we're guessing have never even been able to tell an A.T.M. machine what to do—will now be telling a decorated seventy-five-year-old Korean War vet that you'll unscrew his head and shit down his neck. How sweet is that?

You may have also read—read! psych!—you may have heard some Morning Zoo d.j.s say something about base closings. That's because we're consolidating into one huge training base that we're calling Fort Vegas. And what happens in Fort Vegas goes straight up on http://www.army.mil/fortvegas/poolsidecam for all your civilian friends to drool over. Who's bragging about their precious high-school diplomas now?

We've also realized that the title “Private” is demeaning. It makes you sound shy and socially awkward and unable to function in society. That's not you, no matter what your guidance counsellor told you. Now, while we can't hand out “General” or “Supreme Allied Commander” right away, we can offer you a whole bunch of options. Through a special arrangement with LucasFilm, you can enter the armed forces as, for example, Sith Lord Wojoski or Jar Jar Sanderson. We even have an exciting design-your-own-rank program. One of our best new recruits is Neutral Evil Half-Elf Druid McCallister. And you know what? If McCallister believes his “Little Mermaid” poncho is a cloak of invisibility, we believe it makes him invisible, too. That's where we're at right now.

When you look at female soldiers, we know what you're worried about: the “L” word. Lynndie, as in England. We assure you, our female recruits don't look like that. In fact, there's this one who looks like a cross between Pam Anderson and Gisele Bündchen, only with bigger breasts. Picture that with a cigarette in her mouth, holding a leash! I don't think the international community would be complaining. Plus, we hear she just broke up with her boyfriend. Now she's just looking for someone who is down to earth and isn't a jerk and will watch sports with her. We can introduce you.

Some of you might still be thinking that though the Army sounds neat, you're not so keen on getting killed overseas in some country you couldn't find on a map, if for some reason you accidentally clicked on a map. No worries. We've been fighting for three years now, and—get this—we've racked up so many points that we've got tons of bonus lives. You could actually die in two or three suicide bombings and be totally fine.