+27 82 685 8896 marcus@marcusvanwyk.com

A Chameleon In A Smarties Box

My corporal in army basic training was a fair but hard character. I hated his guts at first, as did all the other lads in the platoon. For the first week, he did nothing but call us names, make us run to who-knows-where, call us names again, do a million pushups and situps, call us names again, and made it clear that our lives were HIS. We were scared of this guy, and he only stood five foot five. The only other person that I was scared of was my mom. She didn’t take any of my crap either.

My corporal also had his moments of madness. He once instructed me to ‘make love’ to my rifle and say to it, “I love you, darling” in front of my mates after I dropped it at the shooting range, nearly shooting him in the ass. I never dropped my rifle again, ever. Mostly because I never wanted to make love to a piece of steel again. He got us fit, disciplined, straightened out, and most of all, thinking about staying alive in the heat of battle. The thing was that we did everything he asked us to do — run, jump, shoot.

What a great, wise leader he was. He got to know us and we got to know him. We eventually acted on instinct with him. Not many leaders of his calibre still around today. He had the oddest sayings. One day he was barking a variety of orders while we were in training and I somehow got disoriented and lost the plot altogether. At that moment he said to me, “Van Wyk!, you’re as confused as a chameleon in a Smarties box”. Standing up, I started laughing as this was the funniest thing he has ever said to me. He was right, and he made me run in the mud with full gear for four hours. Lesson: Nope, no idea. I am sure you can find something in it to take home.

Have a great day, Marcus van Wyk

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