Mail is to a recruit what a trip to the
ice cream shop is to a small child: pure bliss. etters are great,
pictures are better, and a package is orgasmic insanity. But
for every positive facet in bootcamp, the drill instructors
ensure that the Dark Side has its due. Such was the case when
The drill instructors must look through each package to
weed out any contraband that well-meaning friends or family
might send. They look for cigarettes, alcohol, weapons, candy,
coffee, pornography, small woodland creatures, and anything
else that might distract the recruit from the training schedule.
Because they see everything in the packages, funny situations
pop up every time they check.
I could never handle not knowing what time it was. Recruits
were not authorized to wear watches and the only way we knew
what time it was to check the small watch that the DI's had
taped to the duty hut. But I had a way around that. God helped
I guess I had seen too many spy movies but I noticed that
the one thing that the DI's tiptoed around was religion. So
I got the idea to have my girlfriend hollow out a small Gideon
bible and put a watch inside it. The drill instructors never
looked inside bibles so I got Carrie to do it.
The package arrived and I knew what was inside. Beads
of sweat covered by bald head as SGT Robinson tore open my
box. Of course it HAD to be SGT Robinson. He clumsily sifted
through the box and I saw him pick up the bible. For just
the briefest of moments I though he was going to open it but
Carrie had the forethought to time a ribbon around it like
a gift. "GOOD GIRL!" I thought.
That night, I opened the bible and there it was. It was
just a little refrigerator clock with an adhesive back. I
hid it where everyone hides all of the things they don't want
the DI's to find, even though I know they knew. I was on the
bottom rack and I placed it in the springs of the bottom of
the bunk above me. This way when I woke up in the middle of
the night, I could grab my flashlight and see how little sleep
I had left.
I thought I was James Bond. Even minor victories over
the system were considered glorious. To this day, I must have
a timepiece with me and have a way to tell the time during
the middle of the night. Luckily, I do not have to tear apart
bibles to accomplish this these days.