Visiting a military processing center for testing is about as enjoyable as teaching twenty-eight kindergartners in a recovery district in New Orleans.
I stood/sat in lines for fifty minutes for an eye exam, seventy-eight minutes for a hearing test, sixty-one minutes for a doctor's debrief, and forty-five minutes to extract a blood sample. Apparently my veins are as easy to find as my toddler self. When I was one and a half, my mom walked into the living room to find my dad asleep on the couch, and no Kara, his ward. After searching the house like monkeys foraging for bananas, they ascertained I must have wandered outside, so they contacted the police. Someone located me hours later, asleep under a pile of toys in the corner of the living room.
Those military center blood-drawing needle-wielding fiends needle-raped me twice with needles the size of horse tranquilizers before locating a vein on the third attempt. Even then, the needle pricked the edge of my vein without fully affixing. The nurse, aka Hellion, shouldered it into my upper forearm with the tenderness of Lucifer. She ground it into my vulnerable skin and bayonetted it around the inside of my arm to persuade the blood to withdraw more briskly.
The other incumbents varied from the ages of seventeen to twenty-five. While awaiting the depth-perception test, I met a seventeen-year-old, graduating in four days from high school. I asked him his name, and he replied, "I will be a Navy SEAL."
"Ok..." was my penetrating response. "But what's your name?"
"I am a Navy SEAL."
What felt like nineteen hours later, a Petty Officer drove myself (as the only female, I procured shotgun rights) and four males in the back-seat of a Toyota Corolla to the hotel. He missed the correct freeway turnoff and we crusaded in circles. Within five minutes, future SEAL sniveled, "My legs are dying. One's asleep. I don't think the other is going to be able to move for a few days. I won't be able to take the physical tomorrow. My knees are going to shatter."
"Ok Navy SEAL, I'm sure we'll be there soon," I answered, looking sideways at the driver.
"No, I'm serious. My goddamn knees are breaking."
One of the other back-seat passengers wisely noted, "You want to be a Navy SEAL and you can't even take a little discomfort in the back-seat of a car for five minutes?"
SEAL growled like my dog does upon sensing a raccoon. "I choose to be a SEAL and whatever pain that comes with. I do not choose to break bones in a car because we're lost."
My teeth painfully masticated together as I forced my face to not replicate the hilarity my brain was undergoing. Petty Officer did laugh. SEAL glared with the abhorrence I exude when someone steals my food or alcohol.
"SEAL seems happy," I later mentioned to the Petty Officer.
"I think he has some mental issues," he replied. "Maybe I should suggest he go into the Army instead of the Navy."
"Maybe you should suggest he get cleared by a psychologist first. You know, just to make sure he doesn't go around eating baby fingers or something."
"Or to ensure he doesn't obtain a gun. I feel like he'd be dangerous with a gun," the Petty Officer continued.
SEAL later informed me that his high school graduation present from his parents was a tattoo. The tattoo was to cover his entire arm (sleeve-status). It was to be a lizard wrapped around a heart. It was complete with a sword piercing the heart and on the heart, the tattooed face of Kiss frontman Gene Simmons.
When I asked him the significance of the tattoo, he responded, "Cause it's fucking cool," accompanied by a scowl that would make my cat Punk's hair stand on end. Punk just might fall over after being blitzed by such a glower. SEAL was apparently under the impression that he was cool.