The Days: A Tradition from Long Ago, When Men Were Men and Sheep Were Scared
Every single day, we had to know exactly how many “days and a butt” it was until certain significant yearly events. The butt, I assume, meaning part of a day, much like the butt of a cigarette is part of a cigarette (yes, this is a long time ago, not quite into the time when you got cigarettes in your C-Rations, but we did get C-Rations).
So every day we had to know how many days until:
Army beat Navy (which was optimistic thinking even back then)
Ring Weekend (for the juniors)
Graduation (for the seniors)
Spring Break (for everyone but plebes back then, because, hell, I don’t know why we didn’t get spring break. I went into West Point on 7 July and didn’t leave until the Army-Navy game, when they bussed us down to Philly for the game, let us get drunk, then back on the bus like around midnight to go back to the Academy—I can tell you that was not a pretty bus ride, and there we remained until Xmas).
And a whole bunch of other events I don’t remember, because I am officially an old grad and can bitch about how easy those young whippersnackers, whatever, have it now. (Actually, from my recent visit, I’d say the Academy has grown up considerably and is doing a hell of a lot more realistic and better job at producing leaders for our Army, something we should all be proud of).
So, back in the day, an upperclassman could stop a plebe who was ‘squaring’ his corners in the hallway and demand they recite the days. Of course, they could demand the plebe recite a whole bunch of other stupid stuff like “How’s the cow?” although technically that happened when we were braced at meals. “Sir, she walks, she talks, she’s full of chalk, the lacteal fluid extracted from the female of the bovine species is highly prolific to the nth degree.” Nth being how many little cartons of milk were on the mess table, because that stuff was, like important. And, no BS, I just wrote that purely from memory.
So here’s my challenge for this blog: How many gallons in Lusk Reservoir? Huh? Eh? The first to post the correct answer gets a copy of the eBook of The Line (which is about West Pointers) in whatever format they read eBooks in. And really, you should have it memorized, not google it. There’s no googling in Plebe knowledge.
Here’s the funny part. Some of the time you just made the number of days up. Winged it. It wasn’t like most upperclassmen were walking around knowing it too. Except, of course, there were some who did (aka anal). And then, you might end up on a Magical Mystery Tour, which I’ll blog about some other day if someone reminds me.
So, in the name of tradition, I’m going to start counting The Days, to really important stuff, ie publication. I’ve got three books coming out in the next five months, and, yes, you are going to see me tweet every single day the countdown to the pub date of each. So, clearing throat, bracing against the wall of my office (not), here we go (leaving out the butts and other stuff because it’s got to fit in a tweet):
77 days until publication of The Green Berets: Chasing The Lost; 105 days until Burners; 161 days until Nightstalkers: The Book of Truths.
Whew. Made it by 2 into a tweet.
So we’re starting some traditions here. With each blog, I’ll post a question and the first correct answer gets either a free eBook or audio book depending on the giveaway.
Also, we’re revamping and revitalizing my newsletter (there is also a link to the newsletter on the sidebar). It will be sent out no more than 8 times a year, promise, and each will contain discounts, free stuff, nifty neato keen information like “How’s the sheep?” which you don’t want to know, and a picture of Cool Gus. You can’t buy that kind of stuff. Some people who subscribe will also get free, early beta reads of various books, starting with next month’s newsletter where six people will get a copy of The Green Berets: Chasing The Lost, in electronic Advanced Reading Copy. And, if any of those email back with comments, corrections and suggestions, before upload date, you’ll get your name (if you wish) listed in the acknowledgements.
Nothing but good times ahead.