Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sergeant Murphy's Daycare Academy: A Personal Account

The first night's the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing shit they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell... and those bars slam home... that's when you know it's for real. A whole weekend blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.  And just when you are contemplating the gravity of it all Sergeant Murphy pipes in, ready to make your life hell for missing the smallest detail of what he was saying.

"You are the lowest form of life on Earth. You are not even human, fucking beings. You are nothing but unorganized grabastic pieces of amphibian shit! You will not like me. But the more you hate me the more you will learn. I am hard but I am fair. There is no racial bigotry here. I do not look down on niggers, kikes, wops or greasers. Here you are all equally worthless. And my orders are to weed out all non-hackers who do not pack the gear to serve in my beloved Academy. Do you maggots understand that?"

Sergeant Murphy goes on...

"There are rules around here, and punishment for breaking them.  Listen up, children or you will wish you had.  Them clothes got laundry numbers on them. You remember your number and always wear the ones that has your number. Any child forgets their number spends a night in the box. These here spoons you keep with you. Any child loses their spoon spends a night in the box. There's no playing grab-ass or fighting in the building. You got a grudge against another child, you fight them Saturday afternoon. Any child playing grab-ass or fighting in the building spends a night in the box. First bell's at five minutes of eight when you will get in your bunk. Last bell is at eight. Any child not in their bunk at eight spends the night in the box. There is no smoking in the prone position in bed. To smoke you must have both legs over the side of your bunk. Any child caught smoking in the prone position in bed... spends a night in the box. You get two sheets. Every Saturday, you put the clean sheet on the top... the top sheet on the bottom... and the bottom sheet you turn in to the laundry boy. Any child turns in the wrong sheet spends a night in the box. No one'll sit in the bunks with dirty pants on. Any child with dirty pants on sitting on the bunks spends a night in the box. Any child don't bring back their empty milk bottle spends a night in the box. Any child loud talking spends a night in the box. You got questions, you come to me. I'm Carr, the floor walker. I'm responsible for order in here. Any child don't keep order spends a night in the box."

This is your reality until Mom returns from that business trip.  And if you make it out, you are not the same kid.  Suddenly cartoons and sugary snacks just don't make you happy anymore, and in the back of your mind you hear the Sergeant's voice in your head.  So I guess this is where I tell you what I learned - my conclusion, right? Well, my conclusion is: Playtime is important, but so is naptime.  Dora the Explorer says it's always good to end a paper with a quote. She says someone else has already said it best. So if you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong. So I picked a guy I thought you'd like. 'We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

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