I was an Army ROTC cadet at NC State. It was the thrilling experience of participating in the military (get up so early you want to kill, dress up like a tree) without the entanglements of indentured servitude. Unless they spiff you a big, fat scholarship.

One of the best things about ROTC was the fact that you got college credit for it, the classes were called, of all things Military Science - Military Science 101, 102, etc. The idea that there was anything scientific about it was but the tip of the iceberg as far as the absurdity of the military.

My free association list about ROTC:

  • I remember being so fucking proud getting my field jacket with a real Nametape, with my real name. I really felt like I was part of the Army. I guess this was the idea. I don't know how much this would impress me now, but at 18, I was jazzed.
  • When we would PT (physical training) - run in cadence, do low crawl, high crawl they would issue us these fake M-16's we all called "Rubber Ducks." They were weighted to have the same heft as the real thing. I remember thinking at the time, "Man this would have been the best toy gun ever!"
  • My MI, Military Instructor, the Major, would always ask everyone, "Getting laid, Cadet?" Now, in the chest-thumping culture of the Army, even the simulated Army of ROTC, the answer was always "Yes, sir!" Some of my more colorful fellow cadets would toss in, "Beating them off with a stick, sir!", which would produce the inevitable reply "I know what you're beating off, Cadet." I was the only one who was honest when asked this question: "No sir! zero action, sir!" This was always met with some variation on, "Well for Christ's sake, Cadet, get to work on that!" It was a routine that we would do. He would even quiz me in front of other cadets to see if I'd lie to save face. Finally, the day came when The Major asked, "Getting any, Cadet?" and I was able to answer with my shit-eating grin, "Sir, yes sir!" This literally stopped him in his tracks, and then - "Outfuckingstanding, Cadet, outstanding!"