We aim to please. You aim too, please.

So I’m standing in the latrine washing my hands.  In comes a soldier, who proceeds to use the urinal and then abruptly leave the latrine.  I stopped him and said, “You need to wash your hands.”  The soldier said,”Roger.”  He began to wash his hands.  I look at the urinal, which I am beginning to realize he didn’t flush, and there is urine dripping down the side and onto the floor.  I get angry.

“Why don’t you clean up that urinal when you’re done washing your hands, re-wash your hands, and don’t piss on the side of the urinal again!  Damn, you didn’t watch what the hell you were doing?” I said in a very firm, even tone.  I was trying not to yell.

“No, I figure it always goes into the urinal, so I don’t look.  I’ve had twenty-three years of practice going to the bathroom.”  He smiled. “Besides, they have turbies who clean this shit up!”

I almost flipped at that point. “What did you say?  ‘Turbies’?  What the hell is that?”  Now, I’m not innocent of using slang, even mildly derogative terms, when talking about the third-country nationals who work on the installation, cleaning and whatnot.  In previous deployments, many of them wore blue jumpsuits, so we called them Smurfs or LBD’s, Little Blue Dudes.  Turbie, I just knew, was going to be an interesting explanation.

“And, since when is it okay to piss all over everything because someone’s going to clean it up after your dirty ass!?  First of all, you walk in here and don’t close the door behind you, so it’s swinging in the breeze, wide the fuck open.  Second, you don’t wash your hands after using the latrine, which is disgusting.  Third, you piss everywhere, because you don’t watch what the hell you’re doing and because you expect someone else to clean up after you!”  I’m yelling now.  Loudly.

The soldier looks down at his boots, sees what I assume is urine splatter, and mumbles, “Sorry. I was in a rush.  I’m late for a formation because I just woke up and I work the night shift.  I didn’t know about the formation and I have to be there in ten minutes.”  Turbies?  He explained that was what “we” call the guys who clean the porta pissers and the latrines.  Many are Sikh and wear their requisite turban as directed by their religious beliefs.  Okay, I had to laugh.  I thought it was original.  I’m not excusing the slang, but, like I said, I’m not innocent.  And it is a funny term.  Go ahead and write me and tell me I need another EO class.

Okay, let me tell you this.  I don’t give a damn!  Okay, you work the night shift.  Got it.  You were sleeping.  You were told about a formation that may or may not have been impromptu.  Got it.  However, it doesn’t take but a split second to shut the damn door behind you.  You definitely need to pay attention when you are pissing.  Unless you do the same thing at home and it’s acceptable, which it’s not, PAY THE FUCK ATTENTION.  IT’S DISGUSTING!  AND HE PISSED ON HIS BOOTS!  Just because someone cleans the latrine that’s not YOU does not give you permission to just trash it (or, in this case piss it) up and leave it.  Yeah, you dribble on the seat or the floor when you’re done, WIPE IT UP!  You have to wash your hands anyway when you are done.  Take a second and CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF!  Finally, wash your nasty ass hands!  A soldier will pick up a million filthy things on a daily basis, smoke, use the latrine, be a soldier, etc.  We get dirty.  We do dirty jobs.  Wash your damn hands when you have the chance.  I’m not saying after every time you do something with your hands, because that would be obsessive-compulsive and excessive-annoying behavior.  For yourself and those around you who need you to get shit done but have to wait because you are always washing your hands.  But you understand what I’m saying about washing your hands.  Do it when you get the chance.  If no time else, then definitely after you use the latrine and before you eat, no excuses.

I have many pet peeves.  Among them, leaving a door open that was closed when you opened it.  Slamming a door that doesn’t require slamming to close.  Peeing on the side of the urinal or anywhere not IN the urinal (or toilet), not cleaning up after yourself when you are done using the latrine, and not flushing are all pet peeves.  Yes, men, leaving the damn seat up on the toilet.  It’s a quick hand and arm movement to ease…EASE…the seat and lid down together when finished.  What the hell?  Then you flush the toilet.  The lid keeps the splash inside the bowl, and the seat being down keeps the woman in your life, and women in the world in general, happy.  Besides, it’s like leaving your mouth open when you walk around.  It’s not necessary and it’s definitely going to catch a bug.  And it makes you look stupid.  Sorry, folks.  I’m not a fan of mouth breathing.  Unless you just finished doing PT, the mouth should not hang open.  God gave you a nose, USE IT.  Unless you have a legitimate reason for breathing through your mouth, of course.  I have a friend who has a deviated septum to the point that when he breathes through his nose, you hear a 92-year-old smoker’s wheeze emanating from the middle of his face.  We are good friends so we joke about it occasionally, but I understand why he has to use his mouth to breathe normally.  Enough about that.

I know I got way off track there, but the bottom line is this.  It comes down to upbringing.  When I slammed the door when I was a kid, my dad slapped the back of my Jap noggin and made me go back through the door without slamming it.  When I left a door open, my dad would yell, “Were you born in a barn!?”  Being adopted as an orphaned baby, I might very well have and the court papers are wrong about me being born in a hospital.  You never know.  But my dad didn’t like smart-mouths in his house.  So, I’d turn back around and go close the door.  And duck to avoid the imminent cuff up side the possibly-born-in-a-barn noggin.  If I peed on the seat and didn’t clean it up, that was a two-fer.  I didn’t lift the seat, and I didn’t clean up my mess.  Two cuffs, please, sir.  I don’t want to give the impression I was abused.  I was disciplined by a former Navy Master Chief Petty Officer (Navy during WWII.  Yes, my parents were a bit older than normal parents.  Ask me some other time.)

It all meant one thing to me, after realizing why Dad was so strict.  You are responsible for you, that includes your actions.  My dad always told me to ask myself, “What is the right thing to do?”  After I would forget to close a door, and I received my cuff and born in a barn question, he’d have me ask that question.  Or, he’d just ask me.  He didn’t always yell or cuff me upside the very dense brain housing group, Made in Japan.

There are established norms in the American society, and definitely in the military.  They differ for every country, regardless of how modern or  primitive the country is.  Indeed, some of the most backward tribes I’ve been fortunate to be around in the Philippines have more discipline than many modern nations.  In the Army, you pick up after yourself, you right what you just wronged, and you don’t make excuses.  Day one at Basic Training, you start getting that drilled into you, even if you never had to be a responsible citizen back home or growing up.  Everyone gets the same amount of that drilled into them.  So, don’t tell me it’s upbringing now, you lazy ass.  You went through Basic Training, just like I did.  If it’s so different now, that the drill sergeants don’t make you be responsible at all, then it’s time for me to get out now.  I am not a babysitter, and I am not going to become one.

I’ve blathered on long enough.  The soldier received his ass-chewing, albeit abbreviated because I didn’t want to make him later than he may have already been.  He did clean up his mess and washed his hands, and he closed the door quietly when he left.  Right in my face.  I smiled.  It’s hard to explain, unless you’ve been the recipient of an ass-chewing, but I understood.  Regardless of how much you deserved it, you still are a bit angry or put-off by a lecture.

He was looking at me when he closed the door.  Ah, soldiers.  You can’t shoot ’em and you can’t…oh, wait, you can smoke their ass for a long time, though.  I didn’t.  I just let it go.

~ by kyodan75 on March 29, 2010.

One Response to “We aim to please. You aim too, please.”

  1. From a lone mama in a house full of boys, I LOVE THIS POST!!
    . . . I also enjoy seeing a man express himself in strong manly terms — not just cussing to prove you can.
    I’m printing this one out and saving it

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