Saturday, October 14, 2006

The army

No, no, I'm not enlisting, folks. I'm already fed up with the situation in Iraq as it is.

Rather, it's the second time in my career that my gym class had a set of Army drillers come in. I expected the day to be just walking to increase our endurance for the big stroll down the bike path to the shopping centre, which I had done last year (and walked the entire way while others had to stop and board the bus for transport; luckily the bus driver kept a canteen at ready hand). Alas, no — it came right out of the blue that three recruiters were in the room we called the gym, although it was small and cramped with the large exercise equipment taken into consideration.

We had the recruiters before; however, we were advised to eat a large lunch beforehand. This time, there was no notice (although I did eat some breakfast). We briefly shook hands with the recruiters and then were sent to the back of the gym room. The recruiters had the girls form two rows in the front and had us boys form two behind them. Once we were filed in, we went to the instruction of posture (attention was arms bent vertically with elbows to the back and shoes to 45-degree angles; normalcy was standing with arms held behind the back) and then to a set of exercises that, the recriters claimed, was performed four times out of the week upon rise.

Many of these exercises involved the upper body (raising the roof, overhead clap, and jumping jacks). Since I do not swim often and do more walking than lifting, in which case that was just packages of water, I tired halfway into the period but was determined to go on in order to allay embarassment. I would rest when there were no recruiters pacing near me, and sometimes when we performed exercises that I was structurally weak at, they would have to correct me manually, an example being bicycling, in which it was nearly impossible for me to hold my legs straight six inches above the ground.

Then, after we had been sprayed with enough sweat to fill a drinking glass, we were led out. It wasn't that cold, but it was enough to dry our faces. Nevertheless, we started sweating even more once we were compelled to do the '30-60': we sprinted for thirty seconds, walked for sixty, sprinted again, and so forth until time was called. Then the last three were 100 feet of bowlegged walk and sinking stride, and then a continuous sprint once around the traffic island.

I don't find it amazing that two of my classmates are enlisting in the armed forces and were used to this sort of stuff. I, unfortunately, wasn't. Luckily, I only have to work this morning, and I should have recovered enough from the ordeal to at least hold a pack of Deer Park above the counter.

Update: Turns out one of my friends likened the drill to Nazi imperialism, accusing it of being a recruitment in disguise. Trust me, if three people in the class have decided on the armed forces before the Army came in last year, it's probably not. Sorry, Matt.

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