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Saturday, August 10, 2013

F---ing Field Day

Sorry for neglecting to post an entry in the last few days. I was busy cleaning my room.

No. Seriously, for the last few days I was cleaning my room.

“Field Day” usually conjures imagery of outdoor games like tug-o’-war. However, in the Marine Corps, Field Day is the bane of every Lance Corporal and below’s existence. It’s the designated day of the week when we clean the barracks and our rooms. Now, for clarification, I clean my room in some fashion every day. Every morning we sweep the floor, take out the trash, lock everything away, make our racks, etc. before we can even leave, it’s expected. Therefore, Field Day is centered on the most anal and obnoxious cleaning I’ve ever experienced. The NCOs and staff NCOs who run inspections aren’t looking for something legitimately unclean, such as a dirty floor or an unclean toilet, because they would never find one. They’re after the most minuscule piece of lint that hides in the bottom corner between your desk and the wall. They’re after the slightly off-white color that the grout between the tiles on your shower floor has become due to years and years of use. These ridiculous expectations result in over 90% of the Marines on my floor routinely failing their first inspection; they then have to clean again and try to pass another the next morning. Here at Fort Never-Leave, Field Day is Thursday, so after we were released we went back to the room and spent a few hours scrubbing down everything in sight. I was in charge of the bathroom, and I’ll just say that the toilet and I formed a very intimate relationship after I finished scrubbing down every part of it down to the muskiest of its hidden, shadowy contours. 

Another aggravating part of Field Day is that once inspection begins, everyone has to wait outside of their rooms until they’re inspected. Being at the end of the hallway means that my roommates and I wait around for about thirty minutes. Therefore, we spend the time dreading the possibility that we glanced over something and pondering every single cranny that is most likely collecting dust at the moment. My first inspection resulted in increased confidence in my own filter. When the Gunnery Sergeant (who, considering his rank, should have something much better to do than inspect my janitorial handiwork) angrily told me to look closely at a tile and tell him it wasn’t dirty. Instead of my first reaction, which would be: ”Well, Gunnery Sgt, I guess I can see how there are very faint water spots on this tile, which shouldn’t really be that surprising since it’s in THE FUCKING SHOWER” I censored myself to a brief: “Yes Gunnery Sgt, I can see it.” We failed, partly because of the bathroom but also that they were able to rub a bit of lint off the bottom a lamp. We were told that we were going to be inspected again the next morning at 0620 after PT. Remaining diligent, I opted to forgo a shower and woke up promptly the next morning at 0400 to correct these blemishes. We failed again, and along with half the platoon would Field Day again that night (Friday). After taking an enraged shower, my roommates and I went down to the shitty army store and bought some heavy duty cleaning solvents and scrubbed the shower into submission (we even had help from one of the class guides). The chemical process left me a bit more than light-headed and I think I saw God for a few seconds (she is Black btw). 

This third inspection passed us, to the apparent irritation of the Gunnery Sgt (who at this point seemed to relish our failure). I didn’t feel accomplished as much as a felt like buying a box of donuts and eating the whole fucking thing in about ten minutes. Thankfully for my health, the store closed long before we were done with inspection. This sort of Field Day makes me ponder the effectiveness of the training we’re receiving. I understand the importance of paying attention to detail, but when it goes so far that the process of wiping down the cleaned tiles of my shower result in them becoming dirtier due to lint from the towel, I can’t see the benefit. The boots here can be fooled into believing that the mystical and magical fleet will have similar standards, but I know better. The only obvious result is a bunch of miserable junior Marines, as a continuously failing room can lead to restrictions on liberty (free time) or paperwork leading to greater administrative punishment. For example, because my roommates and I didn’t pass the first time, if we fail next week we’re put on phase 1 liberty, which means we can’t change out of uniform or go past certain perimeters on base. I guess I’ll be spending a lot of time Thursday unintentionally huffing chemicals. Pondering the perspective of the Gunnery Sgt and others who designed this policy, I can refer to the comic series Terminal Lance (which is usually hilarious if you understand the context):

In other news, I pick up welding class this Monday. November 22nd is my projected graduation date. I also get to make an appointment with the neurologist on Monday, and they'll determine see whether or not I’m capable of working with my hands (whats the worst they could do, send me home? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA AHHHHHHHHH). Though I’ll be busier I’m certain there will be enough downtime to write a few entries per week. As long as there are still people who are interested in reading. I actually, scratch that. I don’t need you. If I’m not writing blogs I’m probably either staring at a wall or making elaborate lists of the types of alcohol I will drink when I’m home. And seeing that there is a finite variety of spirits in the universe I’ll end up losing my mind before the wall becomes any more entertaining, so I’ll keep blogging.    

READER SHOUT OUT: Alyssa Nydegger is a girl and does not have lice and I miss her eating ice cream with me when I get rejected.  

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