A Villain, but Loved

October 19, 2009
6:00 AM, January, Culver, IN

The ear-splitting clamor from the twin-bell alarm by the bed goes off, and my hand automatically reaches for the snooze button. Resisting the temptation to enjoy the warmth under the covers for another five minutes, I sleep-walk towards the shower. The chilly wind coming from the window slightly ajar stings like bees, and from the window, a glimpse of moonlight amidst the gloomy winter sky in Indiana shines into the barrack, making my own breath visible. After appreciating the hostility of a cold shower, I follow the familiar routine: checking the rank and unit brasses on my Duty A shirt and the belt buckle and shoes shiny enough to reflect my image.
6:30 AM, January, Culver, IN

“Notice sirs! Notice sirs! Artillery C sirs! Reveille has been sounded sirs! Duties are now sirs!” Cadet Holler bellows out for reveille in the halls, and with an attendance sheet in hand, I decisively stride out the door towards the new cadets hall.

At the dawn of each day, fiend is what I become. Checking of the names on the attendance sheet, meticulously delegating and ordering work duty to the new cadets in my unit, assuring that all work is completed before breakfast begins, I become the source of evil and cruelty to the eyes of yet-to-be trained new cadets. After all, I too, remember the days as a new cadet and how much I had abhorred the morning brutalities. Nonetheless, I now stand as an Operation Sergeant, the object of hatred and viciousness, delegating new cadets to sweep and mop the hall ways, to clean the bathroom including the “honey buckets”, and to scrub the shower stalls while people still inside, all at six thirty in the morning. I am officially hated.

Frankly, I do not know exactly why I had accepted the most irksome position you could ever get in your entire Culver Military Academy career. Perhaps at first, I sought an opportunity to be promoted by taking on the responsibility as an Operation Sergeant. Yet, accepting the position for the second time around, I suppose, I began to enjoy my role as a villain. It is a challenge bigger than anything I have known, and forcing myself into the position of discomfort, I have learned and shown that a villain too, can be respected. Following the Golden Rule, treat others as you would have them treat you, working alongside the new cadets in the hall ways and bathrooms rather than ordering around, respecting and being fair than degrading, every morning I work to change the perception of being an Operation Sergeant. Being a leader is to serve not to control is the invaluable lesson that I have since learned. After all, it is only easy to be a Batman, the hero whom everyone reveres and loves. But I have chosen to be a Joker, to grow, to mature, and to learn.

6:35 AM January, Culver, IN

Knowing from experience that Cadet Holler’s reveille has not taken much effect in waking up the new cadets, I gently knock on the door five minutes later. Rather than kicking and hollering out of spite, instead of striping off the blanket, I sit by their bed and say “It’s time guys!” I motivate by working by their side, and through example. I am not above them, but below them. I am not a hero, but a villain. I enjoy my moment as a Joker on the cold winter morning in Culver, Indiana.

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