Strangely, the potentially temporary loss of brain cell activity in question has *almost* nothing to do with alcohol. I’m not convinced yet that it isn’t in the water out here, actually.
Every time a deployment is imminent, soldiers appear to lose their minds. This has been observed unit to unit, job to job, base to base. Something about the phrase “Sealing the containers for shipment” seems to do something to soldiers that no other phrase can do.
Brief tangent: Apparently I am supposed to be capitalizing the word soldiers, what with the instructions of some general or secretary or sergeant major or someone else who fancies that they have a real job but in reality just sits around thinking about what to capitalize and how much better or worse the new physical training winter cap is than the old one. Lately they put out that they also want the word “families” capitalized as well, because… because of something that I read but didn’t pay attention to very well, apparently. I decided to write all of my reports with every noun capitalized. Mental note: that doesn’t go over well, don’t do that again. Right got it. Moving on now…
Soldiers (capitalized because it began a sentence, not because Super Sergeant Master of the Universe General Guy said so) losing their minds is not a terribly good thing, in case one was not aware. They get drunk. They get stupid. They get in fights with each other. They get in fights with other people. They get in fights with (I do not make this up) themselves. And this is not just the males, so it can’t just be blamed on testosterone. The females get catty. They start fights. They instigate fights and then watch the fun. They get silly and stupid and run around like today is the first day they have been away from their parents.
It makes me wonder, because I never experienced this apparent hemmorhage of coherent thought when I was getting set to deploy, but I see the signs all around every day. Broken windows. Yelling at the military police. And more people on sick call than can fit in the clinic waiting room hoping to get a non-deployable permanent profile for the sniffles or for the black eye they gave themself in the most interesting story one could hope to hear all week. No, I never lost my mind before the deployment. I am just not that much of a fighter, I suppose, or perhaps I prefer to focus instead on getting my affairs in order and spending the time enjoying the company I am in rather than sitting in the detention cell at the military police station waiting on my first sergeant to come pick me up. Not to say I don’t enjoy the company of the military police or of my first sergeant, most of which are quite good people, but the circumstances probably dictate just how good of people they are at the time.
Perhaps I am a bit of a pacifist. Not to say if someone is pointing a weapon at me or my soldiers or someone I care about I would have an ounce of a problem helping them along with meeting whatever god or gods or oblivion they choose to worship, but I am just not the type to get into fistfights over something some idiot said at a bar. To me it is a reflection of intelligence, that since you aren’t able to say the snappy retort to make the person feel like the fool they are you need to punch them in the face or pull their hair instead. It is why I have trouble understanding terrorists sometimes, because they appear to feel that any sort of chitchat about what makes them blow up stuff is silly, when really blowing up stuff is rather silly and quite frankly a bit on the pointless side when you get right down to it. I mean, okay, you blew up the market. You did it because the American occupiers make you mad. There were no Americans in the market, so that was a bit silly to begin with if they were your enemy in the first place, but the even sillier thing is that now MORE Americans will be in the vicinity of the market because now the area isn’t secure. If there were security and peace, we could all go home. What part of that is so hard to understand, that if they actually stopped blowing stuff up they would get what they wanted and we could go home, but keep blowing stuff up and unfortunately more of us get to go over there and experience the highlights of your explosive culture?
Oops. Sidetracked again. But it is the same thing I see with soldiers every day, weekends in particular. They get annoyed because they have to deploy. They get frustrated because this is their first/second/third/tenth time heading back to the same desolate sandbox of love and happiness. They get so annoyed they go to the club downtown. They get even more annoyed so they punch their buddy in the mouth. Then they get annoyed with the authorities come to get them and they get to explain the situation to their first sergeant. So then they get yelled at by their first sergeant, and then they get annoyed with the first sergeant as though somehow it is the first sergeant’s fault they acted the fool, and then the cycle starts anew. Add to that the pressure of extending these deployments to fifteen months and you have quite a nastily brainless situation on your hands.
Every day someone rings our office buzzer who really wanted to see the people in the office below us, an office which also deals with some of the less desireable military individuals. I have mentioned this. It appears that even relabeling the bells to spell out the different offices hasn’t made the soldiers any smarter. I said something to one of the people in charge in the other office today, asking him to please tell those coming to see them that they need to collect whatever shoddy excuse for brain cells they have left and make a choice as to which button to push before ringing the bell (this, by the way, is why I am not allowed to make the new sign for the door instructing soldiers to ring the bell, because I can’t seem to devise a sign that does not contain the phrase, “You moron”). He pointed out that, given their job and our job, no matter who comes through that door, if the person has to see either one of us they are probably not all that smart anyway, having proved it through some means or another.
Perhaps that is the problem, that I tend to see a bit much of the bottom of the humanity barrel in my line of work.
Or perhaps there is some sort of stupidity epidemic going around because of impending deployments. I really should buy a new water filter…