Tuesday, January 20, 2009

She still has a sense of humor

Well, they may be doing their utmost to torment her in the best of military boot camp style, but we have trained her well - my daughter still has her sense of humor!

When your kid heads off to Navy boot camp, you'll get a 30 second call when they arrive, a box full of their civilian clothes about a week later, and a form letter from the Department of the Navy in about another week.

The form letter expresses appreciation for your support of your recruit, gives you the official address for sending mail to your recruit (as well as letting you know what is and is not acceptable to mail), discusses telephone calls (you can't call 'em), emergency leave (strongly discouraged), visiting (not until PIR - Pass in Review, the official graduation ceremony), and various and sundry other form-letter-type stuff. There are also two lines available for your kid to write a message.

This didn't stop my daughter from cramming eight lines of writing in the "Recruit's Comments" area as well as little notes or a drawing on each of the other three pages of the letter.

Her illustration let us know that the bitter cold (boot camp is in Great Lakes, Illinois) was being compensated for by what she referred to as cold-weather Astronaut suit clothing. She drew an arrow to what she called "totally hot Navy-issue glasses I will soon receive" (apparently, the black-plastic rimmed glasses are referred to in Navy lingo as "BCG" or "birth control glasses" because they are not exactly stylin').

Her note indicated that the RDCs (Recruit Division Commanders) aren't as scary as she thought they would be because she hasn't "done anything completely moronic ... yet." And that one of the things that keeps her going is knowing "whatever comes after this canNOT POSSIBLY suck this bad. It's inconceivable."

And then she broke my heart by saying that she barely laughs for fear of getting yelled at. My daughter has an absolutely delightful, infectious laugh and it's one of the things I miss the most.

But if the kid who's going through the boot camp ordeal can tell me to "Be strong - I'm okay" - well, it's the least I can do.


Idaho Joe said...

Sounds like you have a wonderful daughter. Must take after her mother.

Sharon said...

Oh, ha, DAD!

Matthew Klobucher said...

I'm a graduate of Naval Boot Camp training (Officer Candidate School at Marine Corps Base Quantico), and for what it's worth I guarantee your daughter has plenty of reason to laugh. Of of the ways they "torment" the recruits is by subjecting them individually or in groups to harmless humiliation, which has the effect of building adversity (and being hilarious). I've concluded that if your job is to stress out and break down other people (as with the Drill Instructors who are training your daughter), then you have to develop a sense of humor. I still regard episodes from my own indoctrination as some of the funniest moments of my life. I don't think you have to worry about your daughter's laugh being stifled.

Incidentally, I enjoy reading your reflections.