So you are a new high speed, low drag soldier who wants to have a successful and rewarding military career. The only problem is that you are lazy.


No “I can’t get out of bed without a personal pep talk from Richard Simmons” lazy, but more, “I’m not going to make my bed because I’m just going to ruin it tonight” lazy.

In the civilian world, that’s good. But in the military, you can actually get demoted for not making your bed. So how can you make your way through Uncle Sam’s Shooting Club with minimal effort? Easy. You learn to pretend (or if you have joined the sea services, to “skate”).

It’s a bit like that, but with less work. (Photo: US Marine Corps Lance Corporal Christopher L. Vallee)

Shamming and skating are the fine arts of doing little or no work while avoiding the friction and punishment of command.

The trick is to pace yourself throughout the day, to work only when necessary but also to give the perception of constant activity.

A high-end fictitious day begins with no physical training. The most obvious way out is with a Doctors Pass. WATM doesn’t encourage this… but here’s our guide. If you can get a day pass to stay in the barracks, your shamming is now in easy mode.

But call slips and vouchers are rationed, and staying on shifts too long can get you kicked out for “sham”. If you want to be promoted, you will have to be more creative.

First, always know who is giving PT classes in the morning and what activity is scheduled. If the CPS. McMuffin leads the pack on a slow jog on the main strip, just bite the ball and PT. But if Sgt. Creatine is leading a Crossfit running and circuit training extravaganza, so you have to volunteer for a work detail.

How Tolkien's war experience shaped 'The Lord of the Rings'
It’s not really fun. (Photo: US Air Force technician Sgt. Jorge Intriago)

But wait, wait, wait! I thought you said I ain’t gonna have to actually job?

Of course, volunteering for work can seem counterproductive. But doing a 12 hour shift on ammo in a field while you play the most recent Candy Crush level and taking turns napping with the other guard is way better than playing newspaper toss. with Captain America and then spend the whole day in office.

Speaking of office work, there are ways to simulate this if you get stuck in it. If you are always working in an office, the best thing to do is make it seem like you are always working way too hard to be interrupted.

How Tolkien's war experience shaped 'The Lord of the Rings'
Getting someone to take pictures of you from interesting angles can only help your cause. (Photo: U.S. Army Sgt Mike Pryor)

This can be achieved with several small green notebooks, legal notebooks, and an endless number of browser windows. Lay out legal notebooks and notebooks on the desk and fill open pages with illegible handwriting. Draw lots of arrows between the text boxes.

If someone asks you what you are doing, start talking a lot about HQ advice and how that affects the mandatory 3rd trimester training. There isn’t a non-commissioned officer in the world who will stick around.

When you’re only working in the office for the day, the best thing to do is offer to shred things and take out the trash. Nobody times these tasks, so you have plenty of time to joke with your friends or check your phone. You should take out the trash at least three or four times per day of normal duty.

And, once you volunteer to take out the trash enough times or do other errands, people will start to think you have to do those errands when they can’t see you.

Now you are in business. Once they stop watching you, start adding a 20 minute nap to every run and trash run you do.

Another place where you can take constant naps throughout the day is the motor park. Avoid emptying and recharging accessories by volunteering with PMCI vehicles. On each vehicle, open the front doors and lift the hood, then park in the back seat for a few minutes. Finally, declare the vehicle ready to go, close everything and move on to the next one.

How Tolkien's war experience shaped 'The Lord of the Rings'
This guy inspects the inside of the gas tank. Instead, look inside the gas tank as you fill it up and use the time you save during the inspection to take a nap. (Photo: US Army Pfc. James Dutkavich)

At the end of the day, there is always the risk that a happy platoon or a first sergeant will want to inspect the room of an individual so squared off.

Don’t worry – it’s easy to pass room inspections. The trick is to clear the barracks once. We are talking about perfection here. No dust anywhere, scrub the backs of devices, secure the bedspread with bungee cords, and glue the hospital corners in place. Tie up your roommate and hide him in the woodland.

Place neatly organized study cards next to your computer, which should have exactly one browser window open, regardless of your branch’s advice on promotions and accessions.

The platoon and the first sergeant will not believe their eyes. They will congratulate you on the training and talk to each other for days about your sophistication.

Then they will become complacent and they will no longer inspect you. They can come for pay inspections and the change of command of the company, but that’s about it.

The rest of the year you can walk around your room dripping marinara sauce on the floor, and no one will know or care.

How Tolkien's war experience shaped 'The Lord of the Rings'
Photo: Terminal Lance / Facebook

This barracks will become your dirt palace, and no one will be the wiser. In fact, they’ll be so impressed with this inspection and all those guarding details you’ve volunteered for that they’ll promote you before your peers until you get paid to leave the barracks – you won’t even get to get a contractual marriage with the first person you meet off base.

Congratulations, shammer. You arrived.

(Also, maybe get your roommate back from treeline at some point. He could legitimately die).



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