Prior to head'n out to Tulsa, Oklahoma to impress the Sooner state with the idears and sells pitches of the world’s finest Navy I was a 4.0 squared away Crackerjack coming off five illustrious years of Sea Duty onboard this ol' canoe clubs finest ship, the USS Rainier. Being challenged with the choice of Bootcamp Company Commander or Navy Recruiter I thought Recruiting as the lesser of the two evils since I had no one to mentor me otherwise with any real clear-cut knowledge of either field.
So there I was after six months “on the bag” try'n to sell America's Admiralty like a cheap whore collecting as much clientele as I could possibly muster. No, this was no walk in the park. This was Navy Recruiting at its best, or worst depending on how you look at it. I came to Tulsa with an up beat demeanor believing all that brainwashing bullshit they programmed into me while in Pensacola learning to be a five minute salesman. It took me somewhere's about six months to deprogram that peanut in my 'noggin' and come to the realization I must've had "BOHICA" tattooed to my forehead. Yes they can teach you how to sell ice cubes to Eskimos but can they teach you how to live with yourself afterwords. I saw a side of things I was naive enough to think never existed. It was a shady way of business and though legally acceptable it was undoubtedly morally questionable.
Yes this branch of the ol' canoe club was built on the ideology of the “Good Ol’ Boy Network” and the premises of not necessarily lying but just not telling the whole truth. Let’s just say we relied on the auspices of selective hearing by prospective recruits. But you’re never gonna believe the shit you learn about people when your out there look’n for that golden nugget to keep you from roll’n a nut at the end of the month.
Hell, the first bone I ever rolled out to boot camp was a G.E.D. graduate or 'HP3' as we use to call'em. This guy was a real keeper. When we sat down to do his paperwork he kept making this tick'n noise in the back of his throat that sounded somewhat condescending. I just thought he was being your typical smart ass off the street. Little did I know he would be coming back home diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. I never would'a figured on that one coming. Hell, til that point I did'nt even know what Tourett Syndrome was... It wasn't like he had one of those severe cases yelling out the "F" Bomb every five seconds!! His Bootcamp Commander finally sent him to medical after relentless push-up sessions to set him straight. What a way to start off your recruiting career.
Then there was the fella I pulled outta class with a 99 ASVAB that I was sure would be a true winner. This guy was a walking shit sandwich. He was in some fantasy gamer club as a zillionth level dungeon master with chocolate cake smeared all over his guadamned face. But was he qualified? Yes he was... and I put his nerdy ass in the Navy. But rest assured he showed up to his first Delayed Entry Program (DEP) meeting with dog shit on the backside of his shoes smearing it all over the frick’n gaudamned carpet in front of the station. This was my problem child for four months before he finally shipped off.
After six months of putting in the long hours making at least a hundred cold calls a night with a guy who likes to smoke the herb a little too much... another who needs to lose 1% or 2% body fat... another who can’t get his speeding tickets paid off... and a near miss divorce with my wife, I was at wits end. While closing in on the end of the month and about to role a big fat doughnut, my wife needed me home to watch the kids on a Saturday afternoon... my RINC wasn’t having any of it. I tell him my situation and how I really needed to be home with my kids and he says,
“Your wife and kids didn’t come in your Seabag so I don’t wanna fuck’n hear it!”
I mean “WTF”….over!! I reached across his desk and grabbed a hold of his collar before the Chief grabbed me from behind and restrained me from ending my Naval Career. I was just about to put an end to that ever loving bastard’s life if the Chief wouldn’t have stopped me. I’m sure the rest of the guys in the station wouldn’t have minded a good strangle hold on that asshole.
I ended up tak'n a trip to the District office and spending a session with a shrink! The Doc ordered me to go to marriage counseling though my wife declined since she wasn’t in the Navy and said the Navy couldn’t order her to do shit! Somehow through a miracle we weathered that storm as well as recruiting as I managed to get selected for Chief that same year and get selected as NRD Kansas City Nuclear Recruiter of the Year!
“Damn the Luck!”
But it was just the way the recruiting game was played... a numbers game, pure and simple. It doesn’t matter what a good sailor you are but how many bones you can role each month. You make the numbers and you’re a star recruiter. If you fail mission then your career's at a screaching holt!!! What a scary proposition and one that pressures good guys to make bad decisions doing unethical things.
In the end I was glad to be done with the game never to return. Do I regret it??? No... I lived and learned and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I remember making that untimely decision back on the Rainier as to go Recruiting or Bootcamp Company Commander. If anyone were to ask me that question today, take my advice, go back to Bootcamp... It’s far less agitating and probably more rewarding for most.
Thanks to all that telemarketing “Phone Power” I still can’t stand talking on the gaudamned phone! Besides... I’m just glad to get rid of that Super Salesman mentality and be a normal human being again. Recruiting aged me at least ten to twenty years and helped me pack on about forty pounds in the process. SHEWWWW…….all that down home BBQ!!!
Oh……..and one more thing!!!!
There is a reason people live way out in the country... far from the ocean...
They hate the frick’n water and they don’t like being bothered!!