Monday, December 8, 2008
What Not To Do In The Army
Here's the schedule of what happens when you're drafted into army. This is the order of where you come from and go to:
1) Civilian Life
2) Trom (processing stage)
3) Gdud (actual unit, actual commanders, actual guys you're with)
So, when you're placed in your brigade (Golani, Paratroopers, Givati, Education, etc) you have about a week and a half of being in trom, a stage where the soldiers and commanders and barracks are all temporary. You're on your base, but this stage is just a period for paperwork and processing and waiting for everyone to arrive (there are always late comers for various reasons). Nothing is set at this point except your brigade.
That being said, most of the commanders during trom are special forces guys that basically are getting a two week vacation to yell at newbies. A little fun for the veterans, if you will.
The first day of trom was a Sunday, but the group of immigrants I was with didn't arrive until Wednesday. We went home Thursday afternoon, and had to come back Sunday morning. The commanders told everyone to have fun, but not do anything crazy on their Thursday night back with all their friends from home. FYI, Thursday is the big party night in Israel.
Sunday came all too quickly, and before I knew it I was standing in formation in front of the barracks. A special forces commander who just happens to always have his hands down his pants (Commander Pants) stood up front staring at us, pacing back and forth, a devilish look on his face. He wasn't angry. He wasn't annoyed. I just couldn't tell what his expression was. He was the nicest guy, but he looked like he was up to something. Finally he stood still, and then he looked at one very short Canadian in the end of the line.
"Brad, come up here and tell the group about your weekend."
Brad looked down at the ground, smiled, and then laughed nervously. "Really," he asked.
He made his way up front, turned around, and put his hands in his pockets. He looked over at Commander Pants, smiled, laughed again, and then looked back to the group. Commander Pants smiled slyly, but then instantly wiped it off his face. Brad took his hands out of his pants and started to tell us about his weekend.
"Well, I got home Thursday night and went out to a bar with a few friends of mine. We had a beer or two, nothing serious, and we talked about the army. There were some girls with us, so that was cool."
"Get to the good part," pushed Commander Pants.
"Ok. So my friends wanted me to call my commander, you know, for fun. I told them 'no way,' and that was that."
"But then we left that bar and went to another bar. I drank more at the second bar. And then this girl that was with us, an American girl, said she wanted to date an Israeli army officer. I told her that I have a really cool commander, and since I drank a lot of beer..."
"Since I drank more beer I called Commander Pants."
"What did you say?"
"You answered, and then I told you that I have a girl for you. A nice American girl that wants to date a cool Israeli army officer."
From our formation a random guy shouted, "What'd he say?!" We all were cracking up by this point.
Brad looked at the group, a smile from ear to ear, and then looked back Commander Pants.
"He said... nothing. Silence. And then he hung up."
We were in hysterics, and Commander Pants, with two hands down his pants, was also smiling widely.
"First of all, never call your commander for anything other than emergencies," he said. "Secondly, Brad, idiot, I already have a girlfriend. In fact, believe it or not, she's here right now." Commander Pants was looking over top the group, looking behind us, when he yelled, "NO ONE LOOK BACK! She's very shy." Another commander had disappeared behind us, and then Pants told him to bring her out.
The second commander walked around the formation and up to Commander Pants. He was carrying a full-size cardboard cutout shooting target of a human body. One side is the target, and the other side is blank cardboard. A surprisingly realistic female face was drawn on, as well as skimpy clothes and oversized breasts. Yellow paper was stapled on her head for hair. On her stomach was written "Golani," our brigade.
"Now," Commander Pants shouted over the laughter, "since I already have a girlfriend, the army, I'd let you share in on the fun. For the rest of the day your girlfriend is to be with you. You are going to run with her, hold her hand in the dining hall, she'll sit on your lap when you eat, help her in the bathroom, and of course she'll sleep with you tonight. That's what boyfriends and girlfriends do."
"Seriously," Brad asked.
"Yes, seriously," Commander Pants smiled, "Now put your girlfriend on her back."
Brad placed her on her back on the ground, and then looked to the group for confirmation that this might be the funniest thing ever to happen in an army. It was.
Commander Pants leaned over to Brad and told him to do 10 pushups. Brad started his pushups overtop his girlfriend, and then halfway through Pants interrupted.
"Give her a kiss!"
Brad gave her a kiss on each downward movement of the pushup position, but then Pants yelled, "FRENCH KISS!"
...Yes, trom isn't so bad.
Look out for the post after next, which is another funny story about Commander Pants.