The military’s a strange place. They make you dress alike, wake up at 0530 every morning, and endure years of horribly produced safety videos. So, it only follows that strange people, lured by the prospect of free juice and unlimited salad bar in the chow hall, would find military life appealing. Below are the seven types of oddballs that cause well-adjusted privates everywhere to ask themselves, “What the fuck am I doing here?”
The LARPer considers his brief military career an epic struggle between himself — a High Elf of Ulthuan — and the orcs, trolls, wood elves, and dark elves (yes, there’s a difference). In the field, he’s often seen clearing the wood line of goblins while honing his fighting skills with a breaker bar. In garrison, he spends most of his free time in the barracks drinking mead with the rest of the LARPers over a 17-hour game of Warhammer. Unfortunately, his command of the Silver Helm Knights leaves little time for actual training. Thus, he usually bombs the PT test, gets flagged, and is eventually chaptered out of the military.
You swear you’ve seen him, maybe even passed him in the chow hall, but the truth is that you’ve never had a conversation with the Ghost longer than three syllables. He’s on the company rooster, gets a monthly leave earnings statement, but — barring the laws of physics — doesn’t technically exist. In garrison, the Ghost is always on a work detail, staff duty, or company quarters, but you’ve never seen him in the supply and arms or battalion HQ. On deployments, he’s always running missions with the supply sergeant; yet, you can’t recall the last time he dropped off chow or MREs. Not much about the Ghost is known, except for the fact that you envy him.
The Porn Addict
At first the porn addict seems normal enough; soft spoken, a firm grip, and well-moisturized hands. When he deploys, however, his packing list resembles the inventory of an adult bookstore: 12 vintage porno mags, two three-ring binders with high-gloss photos in sheet protectors, and tubes of both silicon and water-based lubricants. In garrison, his tech is all bookmarked with Pornhub, Red Tube, and Xhamster web addresses, ready to be accessed at a moment’s notice. The main difference between the Porn Addict and the Barracks Rat — both of whom rarely leave their rooms — is that the Porn Addict doesn’t steal furniture from the common area.
The Conspiracy Theorist
Did you know that that the invasion of Iraq was a pretense for the Illuminati to secure the Babylonian ruins for Satanic rituals? How about the moon landing being produced at a nondescript studio in the San Fernando Valley? According to the Conspiracy Theorist, it’s all true. On deployments, the Conspiracy Theorist frequently lectures his squad about the dangers of television and satellite radio, both of which are used as a form of Illuminati mind control. During his free time, he’s rarely seen in the barracks, preferring to spend his nights in the freezing New Mexican desert tracking UFOs while posting updates on his conspiracy blog in ALL CAPS. But hey, at least he has an active social life.
Hailing from an obscure town in Yorkshire or the Balkans, the Foreigner wants you to know just how pussy-whipped he thinks the U.S. Army is. You see this is the Foreigner’s second time around, as he’d previously served in his own country’s military where — claims the Foreigner — they play hot potato with live hand grenades and break each other’s ribs for fun. In garrison, the Foreigner can easily drink anyone under the table, even E-9 alcoholics. On deployments, the Foreigner often complains about the coffee (not espresso) and the use of a clearing barrel (why bother to safety your weapon?). But late night traffic checkpoints, shit-burning details, and 12-hour guard shifts? You’ll never hear a peep from him.
The Top Chef
Did you ever wonder what that wonderful smell was at 0430 in the morning? That’s the Top Chef whipping up a caramelized onion and prosciutto frittata. Why he opted for airborne infantry over culinary school you’ll never know, but the Top Chef is a great friend to have in garrison, especially when he’s attempting duck confit on his barracks hot plate. On deployments, he’s often seen harassing the company interpreter for locally sourced produce and artisan cheeses to use with his fusilli, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers (which he packed in his rucksack in lieu of his wet weather gear). But ask him to eat an MRE? He’d rather starve.
The Prophet’s name needs little explanation. Vague about his upbringing in a religious compound just outside of Biloxi, the Prophet feels called to convert his fellow enlistees away from their false religions to join him in his worship of the “Leader” — who’s currently under investigation by the FBI. In garrison, the Prophet frequently complains to the chaplain about the Army’s failure to accommodate his Sabbath holidays, which always seem to coincide with training and field exercises. On deployments, the Prophet spends most of the time proselytizing to the locals, who don’t understand a word he’s saying. But that doesn’t stop the Prophet, who’s confident that his message of eternal damnation “transcends the limits of tongues.”