"What's it like?" is a question sometimes best answered by describing the little things. Its always the little things that provide the humor, frustration, or happiness that make any experience what it is. Here are a few signs that you've been deployed (for too long).
1. You have used the word "POO" in a sentence with other adults and no one started to giggle. I mean, seriously…doesn’t anyone review our acronyms to ensure that we don’t sound like 9 year old boys on a bathroom break? It means "Point of Origin".
2. You have stood on the outside of a code-entry door, vainly punching in one of 362 number combinations, hoping that one of them actually works. The likelihood of this happening is usually inversely proportional to your need to use the facilities.
3. The armpits on your t-shirts are hardened to the point of qualifying as an addition to your body armor.
4. You think nothing of your battle buddy standing next to you in the bathroom, glancing at the color of your urine, handing you a bottle of water and ordering you to "hydrate". In most other places, this conduct would be a Misdemeanor.
5. Few things make you happier than walking in to the DFAC for breakfast to find that they have bananas. If the Army knew how happy this makes me, they would likely ban and test for bananas.
6. When someone refers to important people, Very Important People, and Very Very Important People, you understand exactly what they are saying and who is in each category. These terms were borrowed from a Middle School activities committee.
7. You actually understand what other Soldiers are asking for when they grunt, waive and play charades in the chow line in order to tell the non-English speaking server that they'd like more of that stuff right there. No... not that one. The next one over...yeah, that stuff.
8. You have walked in to the PX and browsed the exact same items 27 times without making a single purchase just for something to do.
9. You have pondered the culinary train wreck that occurs when you have cooks from Nepal making Mexican food with Kuwaiti ingredients served in an American dining facility in Afghanistan to Romanian soldiers. This is how you get a taco bar with no taco shells and spaghetti with enchilada sauce.
10. You begin thinking the 5 roll toilet paper dispenser is pretty neat and would look like fine in the master bath at home.
11. Your first thought when the recorded British girl comes on the Big Voice to tell you you're under rocket attack is that she sounds attractive.
12. When you hear the term “weather”, it no longer means rain, thunderstorms or wind. It means dirt. “We’ll have lots of weather” = “We’ll have lots of dirt in the air”.
13. You can tell who's in the other shower stalls because you recognize the underwear draped on the bench outside the showers.
14. Though you understand when your FB friends post things about missing their spouses since they’ll be gone for a week or two on business, you secretly want to punch them in the throat and scream “suck it up buttercup”.
15. Breakfast is the best meal of the day. It tastes like breakfast. It is really, really hard to screw up breakfast.