Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wetting Down a Commission

Speak of the devil, a Navy recruiter called my home today and asked to speak to my seventeen year old son about his future plans.

...and my son addressed this recruiter as "sir" over the phone.

Holeee Shee-at.

This Navy recruiter who called my house sounded...I dunno...manly.  Masculine.  In UNIFORM.  Ironed and starched underwear manly.  He kept my son on the phone for fifteen minutes which is a longer stretch of time than my son has given anything besides anime cartoons and showering.  He made an appointment to stop by our house tomorrow afternoon.

I'd like to look at this recruiter but I'm taking the younger kids out, mostly so they won't use the recruiter as a jungle gym and so he won't get asked mindless questions, like, "Have you ever seen a gay dolphin?" or "If you fart in a submarine, does it echo?"

Oh, you thought my kids were going to ask those questions.  No, those questions are mine.

I just had a random thought.  I gave away my virginity to a sailor.  Oh god.


If any of you readers and other hangers on could satisfy my curiosity, I'd appreciate it.


  1. That's some scary shit.
    I would let neither an LDS missionary nor an army recruiter near my phone line, my sofa, or my door step while any of my children were minors. Some life decisions are too big to be made by an 8 or even an 18 year old.

  2. I'm going to be referencing that video clip for years to come. Bjorge Queen likes.

  3. So my 85 year old local JW wouldn't be allowed to come to your door and keep you in a fresh supply of Watchtowers? I'm nice to her and that is my downfall.

    Then I have a habit of feeding missionaries. They get told to leave their triple threats and their programming at the door. Let's just eat. They are more than happy to eat and act the age they are.

    My husband is an Army vet. Joined at 19. He'd say that's one of the best decisions he ever made even though the 85 year old JW wanted to convince him otherwise. He wasn't nice to her.

  4. I have mixed feelings. I know about the history of the LDS church so I wouldn't have a problem friending the missionaries because I know they would not get past the brick wall of critical thinking I have built up. But what worries me is the peer influence that my children will experience in years to come. Will they be willing to be fellowshipped into a church because it means more social acceptance or dating opportunities?
    As for the navy, I don't mean to come across as anti-military. I think that for some personality types it could be a great thing. But I wouldn't want my chidren to get information about the military from a recruiter anymore than I would want them to get their information about the LDS church from a missionary. I would prefer that when the day comes, if they're interested, they speak with somebody who has actually spent a good amount of time in the military. Somebody who understands the commitment and what the military will and won't provide and whose livlihood isn't dependent upon going into high schools and talking to kids who aren't even allowed to vote or drink yet. I would, at a minimum, want them to get the straight scoop. Maybe this is so "Michael Moore" of me, but I've heard stories of kids not getting the straight scoop.

  5. Yeah, you don't get ALL your info from a recruiter.

    But then, Dad told my kid this morning about a hot Navy nurse that took care of him during a bout of food poisoning. Compelling stuff.

  6. 1st: eww and if it did echo I'd be more worried about the smell! Where does it go down there? Oh, and I'm a Military brat, married a Military mbr (now out), been in myself going on 14yrs and I have to say for ME: awesome and best decision BUT I do know that it's not for everyone. Some get in and hate it; some get in and love it; and some get in and realize that it's just not the best thing for either the Military or them. But ultimately though it will be his decision b/c if he really wants it and you don't he'll wait till he's 18 and do it. All you can do is hope he asks all the questions he can think of, is as informed as one can get, and knows that if he does join it is a major decision. Best pieces of advice from me are the few things I did love that my recruiter told me: go in guaranteed (this way you get the job you want vs one you don't), don't be first (you'll look like a suck-up) and don't be last (you'll look lazy). Whatever his decision is: good luck and hope this helps a little:)

  7. Oh, and I did want to comment on one thing the other commenter said though. The part about her "rather having a kid talk to someone whose livelihood isn't dependent upon going into high schools and talking to kids who aren't even allowed to vote or drink yet" kind of got to me b/c those ARE folks who have been in the Military for quite some time AND have spent their career doing things other than recruit. From what I know they volunteer for that job and do it for so long before going back to their primary job. So they do have some life experience in the Military as they go and talk to those young adults in the high schools. Whether they deserve it or not, from the person who joined or their families, sometimes recruiters do tend to get a bad reputation and I think it may not always be deserved.

  8. Yes!
    Its true that the style of a navy recruiter is very unique. They are very disciplined in every field of life. I really like your post and thank you for sharing.

  9. Well, I'll be the first to admit that a large amount of my knowledge comes from watching Army Wives and Michael Moore documentaries. So maybe I'm not the most educated person on the topic.
    Here's kind of where I'm coming from: At my new job orientation several months back, I had a union rep lie to me and tell me that I could leave the union at any time. Several other new hires and the training supervisor heard her say this. It was absolutely untrue. I signed on Saturday. Over the weekend, I learned that my dues were twice as much as my husband's even though his yearly salary is twice mine. And since I work part time, more like 4X what mine would be. All of a sudden, I felt kind of robbed. I also learned that I would have virtually no union protection with my temp/contract status. It seemed shady that they would even try to recruit us knowing that we couldn't benefit from membership. The following Monday, 48 hours later, I tried to withdraw. My rep avoided and wouldn't communicate with me. She wouldn't return any messages even though that violated union rules. I wrote tons of letters and even provided a list of witnesses who heard her lie. She readily admitted that she gave me false info (claimed she wasn't aware of the policy- yeah right) and the local union president just didn't care. Too bad so sad. I signed the contract. So I'm stuck for a year minimum before I can withdraw and it's a $400 life lesson. What I learned from this experience is that you can't always believe what people tell you. People will protect their own interests first. And since I got to the age of 34 without completely getting this (which is embarassing for me to admit) I worry about some of the recruitment techniques that are used on 17 year olds. I don't believe recruiters should be allowed on high school campuses during school hours and I don't think they should start recruiting without a parent present to ask the important questions. I'm faced with the unfortunate truth that fewer recruits might lead to a draft. It's unpleasant to think about. Very soon after 9-11-2001, I started mentally calculating how long it would be until my four brothers and even my husband would all be past draft age. At the same time, a draft might make some of the policy makers who have children think a little longer and a little harder about when it is prudent and when it is not prudent to go into battle.
    I hope I haven't seemed too disparaging of the military. I'm grateful for those who enlist but I feel that it is a huge commitment and one that a person should make fully prepared and educated, having received full disclosure.

  10. My son watched Full Metal Jacket.

    I kid.

    I took my younger kids to the park today while the recruiter was here with my son and my husband and then got home right in time to shake his hand and say goodbye. I've seen slicker salesmen. Not that he had much selling to do. My husband already knows military ropes and much of the BS. There were no promises made.

    What I did notice is that my kid stood up straighter. He gave straight answers. He had resolve, which is something he's never ever had any claim to. He was respectful and polite. He went from 17 going on 12 to 17 going on manhood...not there yet, but closer. As frustrating as that kid has been, and having to push and push and push him to do anything of value, this change in him was remarkable.

    I have no logical reason to feel this way, but I feel better about the Navy than I do about the Army, and about the Marines for sure. I think my son has a brain that thinks the way they need 'em to think, and that's going to be good for him.

    It's going to be hard to let go. And it scares me. But unprepared about the realities of it isn't something I'm worried about. Dad is a Desert Storm war vet, 30% disability, and he's been honest with his son about this decision long before the kid took his ASVAB. We'll continue this next year being honest about it. The recruiter might only be useful for filling out forms.

  11. sounds pretty promissing then. Anything that gets a 17 year old boy to act like a man has to be a good thing. :)

  12. My older son has been in the Navy for 15 years. He obviously plans to make it a career although I think he will get out not long after he completes 20 years. He has had some amazing experiences including a tour on the ground detailed to the Army during Desert Storm II and just a couple of years ago one in Afghanistan with the Navy Seals. Now he is trying an assignment with Navy Air for his first time with them.

    I will send him the link to that Muppet clip. He isn't fond of the originators of that song but I think he'll like the Muppets doing it.


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