On the day that I left for naval boot camp, I departed from the Fort Totten Army installation in Brooklyn, New York. I arrived at the Fort Totten Military Enlistment Processing Center (MEPS) for processing at 0700 (7am) and did not depart for the Naval Basic Training Center in San Diego until approximately 2100 (9pm). Throughout the day at Fort Totten we filled out an endless stream of government forms, and were subjected to various kinds of physical evaluation to in order to determine if we were going to be in need of repair at any time in the immediate future. The military did not want us suffering from any injury or trauma that they had not elected to cause themselves through proper training.
At one point in the process I was directed to a group of prospective recruits who were standing in a long line that terminated at a pair of closed doors along the same wall, approximately ten feet apart from each other. We had been standing in lines all day and we usually didn’t find out what the purpose of a line was until we reached the end. It could result in filling out more documentation, or culminate in another type of physical test or examination. I did notice, however, that after a short period of time the door on the right would open, a prospective recruit would exit, and an elderly gentleman wearing a white lab coat and a stethoscope around his neck would beckon the next man in line to come inside. At the same time I noticed that in approximately the time it took for three individuals to enter and exit the room on the right, the door on the left would open and a prospective recruit with a horrified look upon their pale face would exit the room. A stout, middle aged woman with an agitated look upon her face would then summon another individual from the end of the line. I observed that each individual called to enter the room occupied by the angry looking female physician had a mortified expression on their face, as they were beckoned from the end of the line. It was also evident that that each person exiting the room inhabited by the female physician was walking as though they had just ridden a bull steer for a hundred miles. I continued to observe the pattern of the two doors opening and closing as I progressed through the line. The man on the right was still seeing about three times the amount of patients that the woman on the left was processing.
When I reached the middle of the line I heard someone ask “Does anybody know what we are in this line for?”
I then heard a shaky voice reply, “Rectal examination.”
Immediately my mind began to race as my butt cheeks clenched. “They have a line just for rectums?” I thought. “What is the angry looking woman doing in there that is taking so long, and why does everyone look so repulsed afterward?”
As I advanced closer to the front of the line I began to watch the doors more intently and count the number of individuals in front of me, in an effort to calculate my chances of being taken into “the room of uncomfortable intrusion.” Before I knew it I was second in line and the door on the left swung open. The formidable looking woman gazed into the eyes of the poor soul in front of me and announced in a commanding manner “NEXT!!” All that was missing from the image was her snapping a rubber glove around her wrist. I exhaled deeply as I thought “Yessssss!” I felt slightly guilty as I watched the man in front of me walk towards the doorway being occupied by the woman’s ample frame, as if he were a prisoner being called to the gallows. He appeared to be on the verge of tears. Shortly after that the door on the right opened and I gladly accepted the man’s invitation to come inside.
The male doctor seemed like a pleasant enough fellow. He was tall and had kind blue eyes which were offset by a really worn and greasy looking, brown toupee. The hair piece that adorned his head looked like someone had dipped a piece of road kill in corn oil and then slapped it on top of his skull. He introduced himself politely and without missing a beat quipped “Yowsers, drop ya trousers!” I had some quick flashes of thought regarding aliens, anal probes and holding on tightly to the soap in prison.
The doctor requested that I spread my cheeks apart, turned on a small medical flashlight, and in a matter of fact manner he stated “Say ahhhh.”
As I was laughing silently to myself about his comment, the doctor was focusing his light like a spelunker preparing to enter a dark cave. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “How funny would it be right now if I let one rip and blew that dead animal right off his noggin?” Then I thought better of it. Besides… the guy was a proctologist, and from his appearance he had quite a few years under his belt. I figured that at some point in his career someone must have gassed him, whether it had been accidental or otherwise.
After a brief look-see the doctor rose to his feet and asked, “Have you had any trouble back there recently?”
“Not that I’m aware of”, I replied.
The doctor pulled off his rubber gloves and said, “Have a nice enlistment.”