The Sandbox

GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.


January 22, 2008

Name: Eddie
Stationed in: Iraq
Posting date: 1/22/08
Milblog url: EightyDeuceOnTheLoose

"Laughter is an instant vacation."
                                        -- Milton Berle

There are many things that we have experienced here, some of them good, some of them bad, and some of them, well, just there. But there's one thing about being with a group of guys that have become like brothers, and that's the ability to just have a good time despite whatever situation you find yourself in. That is one of the greatest things I've noticed during this deployment -- that we can be in a horrible situation (combat-related or not) and just make the best of it. I can honestly say that the last two days I have had some of the best times here in Iraq, not because of anything we have done mission-wise, but just having a good laugh at the expense of myself and others in our platoon.

It all started on the last patrol I went on. We had our First Sergeant and his driver, a mortar guy who used to go out with our platoon a lot back in the day. He's a great guy and a part of me misses the good times we had when he was along (**tear**).  Hahaha. Anyways, he's a smoker and normally smokes Marlboro #27 cigarettes. I smoke Marlboro Lights, and while we were smoking he gave me a pack, saying he didn't like lights. I thought it was an awesome gesture, and of course I took the free pack.

I lit one up and immediately there was a semi-loud SNAP as the end of the cigarette exploded. I'm not going to lie, it scared the piss out of me, and for some stupid reason the first thought in my head was "Sniper!" I know, it's dumb, but that's what I thought, though it passed quickly. After everyone got their laugh, he proceeded to tell me that every single cigarette in there had been rigged to explode. Alright, well now I'm going to have some fun with this.

It became my personal mission to get as many people as I could with one of the exploding cigarettes. I managed to get a few people while we were still at the outpost, but eventually everyone knew I had them. That's when I decided to give one to one of the Iraqi Army guys. It was pretty funny, and he refused to smoke the rest of it. It was in good fun, so don't worry -- we both were having a good laugh from it.

Later, while out on a dismounted patrol, we had finished and were waiting around for the trucks to come back and pick us up. One of the guys in my squad wanted a smoke, but had left his in the truck. Here ya go, I've got one for ya! He totally forgot I had those, and when he lit it up, he was startled by the POP like everyone else. The best part was there were about 15 Iraqi kids around us. We started laughing and pointing and all the kids started doing the same. He must have felt like an ass! It's always great to see others suffer.

I can't recall how many people I got, but it was pretty close to one for every cigarette in the pack. And just now as I'm writing this, my grenadier finally smoked the one I snuck into his pack on the cigarette break we just took. GOOD TIMES!!

A while back I was viewing a video sent to me, and it was one of those where suddenly, out of nowhere, this Exorcist-looking chick pops out and there's a loud screeching and it scares the piss out of you. I showed it to my good buddy, but before doing so cranked up my sound system. Let 's just say it scared the piss out of him too. He yelled and jumped up, punching in front of him.

Another guy introduced me to a maze game. As you go through it, it gets hard and you really have to concentrate, and then out of nowhere that Exorcist creature scares you. Well, we then began tricking everyone, telling them that we'd give them $20 if they could beat this level in the maze, and we'd talk it up. It was just hilarious. We ended up getting four or five people good, and the last one was the grenadier in my team and there were probably about 15 people around him watching. Again, another great laugh at someone else's expense! I can honestly say I haven't laughed that hard in a long while.

Another bit of fun has come from something we now refer to as the "Cornbread Challenge." It started off as a punishment from my grenadier to my automatic rifleman, who had secretly ashed a whole cigarette on my grenadier's head. To make up for it, he had to eat five pieces of cornbread from the chow hall. I figured that he couldn't do it, and he bet me $20 he could. We gave him 20 minutes, and he couldn't throw up until it was all down. He could drink or do whatever he wanted to the pieces, though. He made another $20 bet with another guy.

He almost made it -- four and a half pieces -- but ended up running out of the chowhall, puking as he barely made it out of the door! After that, people began saying they could do it, and the Cornbread Challenge was born.

For the next contestant we changed the rules a little. If he could do it in 10 minutes my grenadier would give him $60. This was a big guy and I actually thought he'd do it, but at four and a quarter the cornbread got the best of him, and he went to the trash can and began regurgitating it through his mouth and nose! He had done it on a non-empty stomach, so we amended a final change to the Challenge: six pieces in 11 minutes, $60. We wrote the Challenge up on our platoon board, listed the failures so far and posted a signup list. We had our first taker that night.

Given the popularity of the Challenge now, people were beginning to want to watch, in hopes of seeing someone fail and puke their guts out. Our in-house video guru was around for the next challenger, along with eight of us that were not out on patrol. We were now going to videorecord each attempt in hopes of catching more and more destructive failures.

The next participant was someone that was going to give this challenge a run for its money (literally...$60) and we were a little worried he might do it. He went to town, but again, like the rest -- just after finishing the fifth piece and with one minute left on the clock -- he couldn't handle it and the cornbread came back up. The best part was another guy made a $10 bet with me that he would do it, and of course he lost. So this is now $30 I've made off side bets on the Cornbread Challenge. As it stands, three men have entered and none have come out a victor. The Challenge still stands, and we may have contestant number four tomorrow. Hopefully loser number four!

The last bit of hilarity came while we were eating at the chow hall. Just as we were about to finish up, the warning sirens came on for incoming mortar rounds/rockets. Well, we have this new unit that is here in large numbers, and I don't know if it's what they've been told or trained on, but when that siren went off half the chow hall dove for the ground and were hiding under tables. The rest of us just kind of sat there.

This was my cue to get up and casually walk over to where the to-go boxes were, and grab one to put the rest of my food up so I could take it back with me. As I'm walking there, people are diving in the front door, hitting the ground as I'm trying to step over and around those huddled on the floor. I got a good kick out of it. Afterwards we headed out and back to our rooms, laughing most of the way at what we had just experienced.


Thanks for the chuckle. I am not sure what that says about the talent of whoever baked the cornbread however.

Wow, you guys really have some fun at eachother's expense! Id love to see what you would do with more jokes up your sleves. The worst Ive done is a fake lottery ticket!

I got a video from some bored Airborne guys about something similar called the Copenhagen dare...I'll say no more. What was in that cornbread?!

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