Monday, September 19, 2005

Fear and Loathing in The City

Already, Gary is far too busy to uphold his committment to this blog, so I have graciously accepted the responsibility...for the time being. I'm Vicki, the wife. I will be the one seen dropping and picking the kids up from school, doing all household chores, cooking all dinners and feeding all pets for the next 16 weeks. But enough about me...

So, today was Gary's first day in the actual Police Academy. He really got a taste for what's in store as the entire day was devoted to humiliation, unreasonable expectations and some (in my opinion) comical stunts aimed to frustrate these anxious recruits. Luckily, Gary is smart enough to recognize the rationale behind this -- to weed out the weak -- but he still found it quite jarring to be cast into this somewhat hostile environment. He was able to escape any yelling directed at him, but he knows his time will come.

The comical event I referred to above is that each recruit was assigned to write a 250-word essay. The content itself is the least of anyone's worries, for it is the idiosyncrasies of the formatting that will undoubtedly stump the majority of the recruits. The way Gary described it, the Sergeant announced that he would go through the formatting instructions. Everyone casually took pen in hand; however, what ensued was the Sergeant whipping through a powerpoint presentation like a rapid-fire drill. Example (to be read fast, like an auctioneer): On page one of your essay, indent three spaces and start on the second line down, and place your name in the right column if your last name starts with A-T or left if it starts with T-Z (new slide) Between the first and second paragraph, put one space, but between the third and fourth put two spaces unless it's the last page in which case put one space (new slide) Sign your name in all caps on page one, but upper lower on page 3 unless page 2 has three spaces in which case use all caps, etc, etc. Those, by the way, are not the real requirements, but let's just say they may as well be. Gary said everyone was going crazy trying to get it all captured. You know these Sergeants go home and have a good laugh when all is said and done.

Gary is stressing out on the time committment already. Here's what's in store for tonight:
-- Read two chapters from his police manual, which will undoubtedly mean a test tomorrow.
-- Write his essay, in the proper format :)
-- Stencil his name with black markers onto the back of 3 white t-shirts (they provided each recruit with an envelope of stencils, but lo and behold, Gary's packet was missing its uppercase stencils. And what are the instructions? That's right -- all uppercase. Hmmm....honest envelope packing mistake or a test of Gary's resourcefullness??? You be the judge. By the way, he had purchased stencils at the police uniform store in advance. Phew...)
-- Shine his boots (for those who know nothing about boot shining, this task actually takes forever. The goal, we've finally learned, is to see your reflection in the boot's toe. You'd be amazed at how difficult that really is! Hats off to shoe shiners everywhere.)
-- Iron his uniform (the least of his worries thanks to the many years at Vanguard -- by the way, when are you guys gonna get with the times and adopt business casual???)

This may not sound like a lot, but it's 7:30 and he's done only the essay and one t-shirt. Actually, I tried to do the first t-shirt but my stenciling skills proved lackluster as I made a lot of 'bleeding' mistakes. Gary is now correcting my mistakes with a clorox bleach pen. By 8:30, he'll have one shirt down, two to go...and then the reading...and the ironing. And they were told to be at the Academy at 5 a.m. tomorrow, with the caveat that they needed to meet as a group at 4:15 a.m. to sort their papers in alphabetical order, with the caveat that they needed to meet their carpool partner at 3:45 a.m. to ensure they can meet the group on time. So, Gary will be getting up well before the break of dawn -- 3:15 a.m. And no, that's not a typo.

Wish him luck. More to come...


At September 21, 2005 7:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow.....You have taken on quite a task Gary. Have they said anything about you being so short????.....LOL Good Luck. Wells

At September 22, 2005 4:38 PM, Anonymous Howard Rentschler said...

Sounds like my days before Basic training at Ft. Bragg. The stenciling part brings back memories. At least your head is already shaved :) Good luck. Howie


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