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The Road Less Traveled #8
Dr. Snair, BCGs, and improvised micturition.
Note to new readers: The Road Less Traveled was a journal I started at 17 (2009) to document my experiences at West Point. I wanted to remember as much as possible. On occasion, I’ll share these journal entries in original form here on Euphoric Recall—no edits. If you’d like to, you can read the first one here.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tomorrow I have a cross country meet; supposedly, it's very close to the statue of liberty with the NYC skyline in the background or something. Although I hate running meets (I hate running period, actually), at least I'll have something cool to look at this time. Our first meet was at West Point. West Point basically looks like it was carved out of a mountain, all granite. And it 100% looks like Hogwarts, it’s even isolated on its own little island of land and everything. The race route was basically the ski slope and the golf course, which are right next to each other. Here's a picture of the ski slope. Man did that suck.
The anti-war protesters were standing outside Ft. Monmouth again, waving their signs. "Honk If You're Against The War!".
My English teacher, Dr. Snair, is probably the most vulgar, crude individual I have ever met, and yet he's probably going to be one of my favorite teachers of all time. He was president of his class at West Point, has a few books written about business leadership, used to teach at NYU and Rutgers. And he’s hilarious. The other day as he was in the middle of imitating someone, his cell phone went off, and he talked on it for a couple of minutes in front of us. When he was finished taking the call, he told us that it was Lt. General Hal Moore, who wrote We Were Soldiers Once...And Young, which the movie We Were Soldiers is based on. Dr. Snair said that he called to ask if he could quote one of his books in the new book that he was writing, which, needless to say, I thought was pretty awesome.
The other day he told a couple funny stories and it reminded me of some things I forgot about that happened in late July/early August. This actually happens pretty often. I wish I had been able to write stuff down back then so I could remember other things, instead of randomly having certain scenes come to mind every now and again. I guess that’s sort of the whole point of this.
But I remembered this one day I was sweeping the floor in the cadre hallway with another guy. I would sweep, and then he’d slowly follow behind with a mop. As I came to the end of the hallway, I looked inside of the room to my left and saw this big guy bent over a waste basket with his back toward the door. It looked like he might've been puking.
But then I realized he was actually eating something, and then it dawned on me that this was another CC in a cadre room eating out of their trash. Ballsy. It looked like plain pieces of bread or something but I couldn’t really tell. Big guys - almost always football linemen - have it rough. They don't get any slack on physical standards, so they have to juggle being light enough to still pass an APFT every semester and all the DPE (Department of Physical Education) classes, like Military Movement (literally gymnastics on steroids - cartwheels, rope climbing, handstands, trampolines, balance beans, and all kinds of other stuff that I'm really not looking forward to) and Survival Swimming (they call it “Cow Drowning” because you take it as a Cow, which is what West Point calls Juniors…Freshmen are “Plebes”, Sophomores are “Yuks”, and Seniors are “Firsties”), while still being heavy enough to stand a decent chance against other D1 football teams that don't have any requirements. And yeah, it's hard to win a lot of games when you're always a lot smaller and worn down than your opponents, like the University of Michigan for example. That's why Army football is sometimes laughed at, which I think is stupid.
Not to mention all the summer training that wears you down and makes it like impossible to keep weight on. It's not like you can eat snacks or something whenever you want during field training, you get an MRE if you're lucky and then never more than 10 minutes to eat it. And it sucks so much to be trying to make it to the next meal and using it as a carrot to chase after only for it to be over before you know it.
I already admitted to drinking that apple juice out of the sweaty boot with Mcguire, remember. I craved candy a lot. And peanut butter with whipped cream. I would have paid $20 for a spoonful of peanut butter and whipped cream. McGuire and I would always fantasize about what we would eat if we were offered our choice of anything in the entire world. I always wanted something like my mom's apple pie or some kind of sweet food, and he was more of a Taco Bell/fast food kind of dreamer.
So yeah, my guess is that it was probably a lineman or another football recruit. I didn't say anything and just kept sweeping.
Another time, in the very beginning of BT (I think it was day four or five, but I'm not sure), as I was coming back to my room to shower after morning PT, I found Kyle doing something really weird. Kyle was my roommate but he quit, which really sucked because he was like my only friend before Mcguire, and we looked out for each other. He was a lineman recruit (he was like 6’4, 275 so a really big dude), so we had football in common, and he was from Texas and had a thick Texas-style accent, my first time hearing that.
I remember the very first night, when I got shoved into my room by Sgt. Duggar, and Kyle sort of stepped out from behind his closet door and was like “Hey…” First thing I thought was, “Man am I glad I don't have to wear BCGs”. BCGs are what they call the glasses they issue people who need them (you can't wear civilian glasses or contacts), it stands for Birth Control Glasses because they're so ugly that they repel the opposite sex I guess. Supposedly they're indestructible. Someone said even a tank running over them wouldn't ruin them, which I find hard to believe. But they do look bullet proof.
We shook hands and we both kind of shook our heads and were like, “Dude, what the f***!?” We were basically in shock mode, trying to make sense of the series of personal choices we’d made that led us there and what we’d been thinking. Kyle actually joined the national guard before coming here, and he told me that it was like a vacation compared to this.
But yeah, when I opened up the bathroom door after coming back from PT one morning, he was up on our sink, one knee propped up, one hand against the wall stabilizing himself. Then I realized he was actually taking a piss in our sink. When I asked him what the hell he was doing, he told me that our toilet was broken, and that the cadre had told him that we had to use the hallway bathroom until it was fixed.
When I asked him why he wasn't using that bathroom like they said, he said that there was no way in hell he was leaving the room if he didn't have to; they (the cadre) were out there "prowling like wolves, waiting to pounce on someone". I just laughed and told him I understood. And yeah, I may have also used the sink too…