dont touch the cake

there are so many things i dont know.  last night after we turned out the lights, lesley and i giggled and chatted, pursuing every tangent that flew through our consciousness.  and we followed a line of thought that started with flavored medicines and ran us into lesley’s time in basic training.  apparently at every lunch and dinner, there would be a table of desserts: cakes, sweets of all sorts.  and no one touched them.  or rather, it was understood that you weren’t supposed to–it was a “discipline” thing.  and anyone who did give in to the sweet temptation would be punished, but in such a way that everyone was punished and the offender led the extra exercises needed to cancel out their fat intake.  in this way, the cadets became self policing and no one got to eat cake.  i laid in bed in horror.

and then the beginning of the tangent, the flavored candies.  apparently to ease their hankering for sweets, they would make up maladies that required cough drops.  and cough drops became currency.

and i know there are lots of twisted ways we create to control each other, to make order.  but for a woman with an undeniable sweet tooth and no self control, the idea of displaying dessert only to teach self discipline and self policing is a microcosm of the stupid evils we commit against each other.  and it is not shocking that it came out of basic training.  *shivers*


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. paxus
    Feb 08, 2011 @ 06:22:12

    we are two steps removed from this thinking actually.
    Like the man said who accused Kate of wanting to have her cake
    and eat it too – because she was polyamorous.

    The only appropriate response is the say “i like cake!”


  2. Jeffrey
    Feb 12, 2011 @ 18:34:38

    In response to this post, It is my stance as it is Army Regulation that no cadre member can stop a person from eating what is set out for them. It is also against written regulation to punish anyone for that. It is taught that Soldiers should be educated about the choices of healthy eating to create healthy bodies and minds through nutrition classes. Drill Sergeants leading by example i.e. eating healthy as well should reinforce this mindset. Denial of a temptation or threat of punishment for comsumtion is not a vehicle to create long lasting behavioral change. Intrinsic motivation to change your own behavior through self discipline is. That is what is taught at my institution which supplies the cadre that teach Basic Combat Training. I apologize for the horror that you felt through Lesley’s story and I understand what Lesley went through as I endured the same thing. Does it make it right? Not in the least, quite often my students think that in order for somebody to be transformed from civilian into Soldier what was done to them must be revisited upon the future of our Army. This is called hazing and NOT TOLERATED. Many Drill Sergeants are sent to prison for this offense, based upon the severity. As I look across my classroom I see alot of potential in the goodness of my candidates. They are not robots though and fall to temptation as well. As a realist I see that many of them will be lead into a downward spiral of frustration and will make poor decisions as a leader. I have made many of my own. I emplore you to please not think of that treatment as a standard of living in the Army, please think of it as result of the human element. We are all infallible.


    • Sara Tansey
      Feb 13, 2011 @ 21:33:29

      jeff, i appreciate your response to this post and your humane analysis as a drill sergeant. i can certainly own that i hooked onto the idea that such a horrifying practice–in contrast to my own dessert appreciation–was inflicted by basic training. it fits my paradigms and politics. and i am relieved that it is not a universal practice. that some cadets get to eat their dessert, that they are allowed some indulgence within their healthy eating.


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