Sunday, February 21, 2010

Observations on Soldier Life

The life of an Israeli soldier is...

Sleeping on the floor of a public intercity bus while 50 cozy civilians enjoy their seats;

Discovering that hobos are smart, in that cardboard really feels like a mattress when trying to sleep on a concrete slab;

A 101.2 temperature is no reason you can't pull guard duty;

Having a runny nose and no tissues - well, they're combat pants, aren't they?;

Discovering a new use for mil-spec night vision goggles: stargazing;

Realizing that no matter how much you dream for weeks while on base about the simple pleasures of civilian life, like dipping cookies in milk, or drinking a Corona with lime, your imagination will always be infinitely more potent than reality;

Scanning the newspapers for your exploits, only to find misinformation and truncation;

Not being embarrassed about foot fungus - you try not taking off boots, at all, for two weeks straight;

Finding that scientific rules do not pertain to the army, like the pack-a-day smoker who is the best runner in the platoon;

Waking up exhausted in the middle of the night to falling Kassam rockets but not giving a damn, and certainly not enough to run to a bunker;

Watching red tracers light up the night sky but thinking about fireworks with your family on the Fourth of July;

Experiencing unrivaled joy when having to eat kosher Spam plain but miraculously finding ketchup;

Being called a 'hero' by a stranger on the street when all you really did that week was work in the kitchen;

Finding that you hate your enemy most not when they attack, but rather when they take away from valuable sleeping time;

Ignoring all the cool weapons and tanks and APC's you dreamed about seeing before the army because all you really want to do is be at home, in bed, watching an action movie;

Wondering what real girls look like, since the ones that work around infantry bases resemble armored Humvees more than anything else;

Conversely, chatting with pretty Arab girls at checkpoints because, eh, that's the real challenge;

Looking in the mirror in full uniform and feeling ten feet tall and bulletproof.


Zack Katowitz said...

What a great post. Everything you said is so 100% true, not matter which gdud you serve in, it's all the same monotony, it's not quite what like jarhead or black hawk down when you are tzair in the pluga and doing 4-4 at the shin gimmel with mitbach in between and matalot all day long. the best part comes when you go home after having been on a maatzar all night and having left at the crack of dawn and you sit on the bus and look at people and just think to yourself that because of what you and your friends do, these people are still here enjoying their lives, doing whatever it is they are doing. keep it up.

DanielC said...

very inspiring. soon the challenge will be adjusting to civilian life. good luck, stay safe and get some sleep.

Adi said...

Hey, new reader, been lurking for a while. This is a great post--I especially like the reference to the 4th of July.

Stay safe.

Anonymous said...

Great post.
I can feel your sense of pride. You deserve it. What invaluable memories you will one day have. Mom

Daron D. Fraley said...

I follow about 50 blogs for various reasons. Most of them have to do with writing, publishing, etc. Because there are so many, I don't always have time to read the entire post of every blog. Many times I just skim through, and if something catches my eye, I start over and read the whole thing.

But, I have been following your blog for more than a year now, and I can honestly say that I rarely skim your posts.

You have a talent for writing, and the experiences you write about are fascinating. One of my goals in life is to someday visit Israel and tour the country, so reading your posts make me feel like I am getting know a little bit about the area.

Thanks, Danny. Keep it up. When your tour of duty is over, you need to write a book. If nothing else, use one of the "blog - to - book" services on the internet, and have your posts turned into a memoir for you and your family.

Best wishes to you. May you continue to be protected by G*d in your service.

Daron Fraley

Oren said...

dude that second to last line is pricesless, u dont know how right you are

Anonymous said...

I condone your work. your posts are getting more interesting...

Not as boring.

Anonymous said...

Great insight Arabic girls are really pretty

Rafael said...

Hey, great post. I have question, what is exactly the challenge chatting with pretty arab girls? I was guessing the language, right?

Oren said...

Dude, are you going to write any more posts about the west bank?

Safety first said...

Israeli army nixes raid after Facebook leak -radio
03 Mar 2010 11:36:56 GMT
Source: Reuters
JERUSALEM, March 3 (Reuters) - The Israeli military called off a raid in Palestinian territory after a soldier posted details, including the time and place, on social networking website Facebook, Israel's Army Radio reported on Wednesday.

The soldier -- since relieved of combat duty -- described in a status update how his unit planned a "clean-up" arrest raid in a West Bank area, the radio station said. Facebook friends then reported him to military authorities.

The Israeli military spokesman's office had no immediate comment.

Israel says raids in the West Bank are aimed at detaining militants suspected of planning attacks on Israelis. Palestinian officials say the incursions undermine efforts by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority to enforce law and order in the territory. (Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Louise Ireland)

Tim Curtiss said...

Brothers, if you posted details of the raid on Facebook you will work KP until your discharge.

Tim Curtiss said...

Brothers, please don't talk to Arab girs; do you want to be responsible for an Honor Killing?

Israeli by Day said...

Tim - yeah I'm not stupid. there are some really dense kids in these units. they just don't understand the gravity of words, really.

Oren - i've got one coming.

Rafael - well, they hate you. so, when someone hates you, trying to flirt is pretty discouraging! i'm just nice and courteous and once in a while they smile. that really makes your day, 'cause they showed a little bit of friendliness.

anonymous - again, if my posts are boring, don't read them.

daron - thanks for your comment. that really means a lot to me that out of so many blogs, mine gets a little more attention. in terms of visiting israel, you should know it's not that difficult! it's a first-world country, with all the transportation and sleeping options of any european destination (from hotels to avis and everything). so, just get the lonely planet guide book and come on over! it's that easy, and i guarantee you'll enjoy it. thanks again.

zack - thanks for the comment. we had that inspection yesterday, and i happened to volunteer for kitchen duty. worst mistake ever. it was torture. then when i got back, we had a misdar paroos that lasted until 2:00, went to bed at 2:30, then got up at 4:30am. but, i'm home, so it was worth it. sleeeeep.

adi - thank you

d-rose said...

Danny, I've always wondered how you manage to have an apartment. Does the Army subsidize your apartment in Jerusalem? If someone wanted to make aliyah and join the IDF, but did not have family or a house in Israel, how would one afford a place to live?

Keep it up - your courageous service and excellent blogging. I'll keep reading. I may start my own blog soon, you are inspiring.

Ruanne said...

It's universal man. Baghdad in 2006,I used to sleep with noise isolating earphones just to block out the incoming rockets and mortars and the .50 cal going off on the perimeter. If something started hitting REAL close, I'd just get out of bed and sleep on the floor next to my cot, so that I wasn't directly under the window. Bunker? Yeah, right. Only if someone saw that I wasn't in one and ordered me in. ;)

But that armor don't make you bullet proof, Danny, keep your head down.

Ruanne said...

For what it's worth, I can't enjoy fireworks anymore. A little too real. It's almost okay as long as I can SEE them. But if I close my eyes and just listen to them, it's not good at all...

I spend my 4th of July with the same noise isolating earphones, and loud music.

Israeli by Day said...

d-rose -- you get 795 shekels for rent, plus other monies for bills and stuff. it's doable. my situation is even easier because my apartment mate is a civilian, and takes care of all the details.
but you can live anywhere.. an apartment the army gives you, a kibbutz, with a volunteer family. plenty of options.

ruanne - man, keep the iraq war stories coming. i'm obsessed with america's involvement over there. ever read the Kaboom blog? way better than mine. his book is coming out april 1, too.

Kipp Adler said...

excellent, bro, and too true!

Anonymous said...

Pah....It's the same in British Army, I know only too well this sense of ennuie and monotony...Maximum respect for guys like you Danny. I always have to defend IDF over here; people always forget its 19 yo Jewish kids who form the first line of defence for Westerners.

Terence said...

Very interesting and awesome information.