I had such great posture when I came out of basic training, but the years have slowly pulled my shoulders forward, and sent my gaze back to my less than confident gait.
I could blame my downcast eyes on the frozen and slippery tundra, but I remember that the Naval Station at the Great Lakes, during winter, doled out plenty of icy marches.
Our heads were still up, but our eyes would do the tedious work of making out the slippery patches. If you were really good, you could step so perfectly across the black ice that the recruit behind you would get over confident and end up on his ass in the snow.
Laughs were rare out there, so we took what we could get.
Remembering this made me wonder why, after all these years, I don’t still walk with that stature. It’s simple really.
I’ve been lazy.
If you think about it, it is more difficult to over reach your eyes than to drop your head a little bit.
That’s the thing. Back then it was never about how difficult things were. It was about how right they were.
The body is a slave.
It is either a slave to compulsions, feelings, or intents. We all learned this through boot camp, where our bodies were slaves to demand.
When reveille rang, every recruit would be hard at work tightening their sheets and situating their bunk area in anticipation of the Petty officer entering for inspection and first orders.
Once your morning duties were complete, there was one simple thing left to do.
Stand at attention at the foot of your bunk and wait.
Shoulders back. Chin up.
If our bodies were vehicles, that was our neutral. Parade rest was perhaps park.
This is just one of the things I have tried to retain after all those years ago. What they were putting us through back then is exactly what we all need to put ourselves through once in a while.
Life is easy when there is someone doing all of the organizing for you; when there is nothing else to do but what is demanded of you.