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A Shout From The Attic: Card Schools

...There was a rich vein of humour among the soldiers. Probably the humour got us through the hard times. It was observed that the Army was always ‘getting a grip.’ That meant tightening up on discipline. It could be perceived that our lives were getting harder all the time. In reality, the only way to stop things slipping backwards is to constantly keep tightening up...

Ronnie Bray continues his oh-so-readable autobbiography. To reach earlier episodes please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

Ridicule … the language of Erasmus

The social life was good, apart from the card schools. Week after week, soldiers lost their week’s wages at pontoon. What took 168 hours to earn could be lost in half an hour’s card play. It was pathetic.

There was a rich vein of humour among the soldiers. Probably the humour got us through the hard times. It was observed that the Army was always ‘getting a grip.’ That meant tightening up on discipline. It could be perceived that our lives were getting harder all the time. In reality, the only way to stop things slipping backwards is to constantly keep tightening up.

Our perceptions, however, are superlatively real because they are psychically perceived, and what we perceive psychically is our reality – at least, the only reality we can be sure of. We laughed at each other, but most of all we laughed at dramatic militarism, and the seriousness with which it took itself. Ridicule was the language of Erasmus. Our ridicule was not so intelligent, but it provided us with a safety valve.

Some of the lads were expert in parody and mimicry. These kept us amused when otherwise we might have despaired.

The time came when we got our heads around the Army and after that there was little that happened that seemed disastrous. It is not that we had altered our mindsets, just that we understood the Army’s, and that gave us power to manipulate it without being manipulated. We had become soldiers.

Sundays could be problematical for Christians in military service. I was never stationed near a branch of the Church, so whenever possible I went to any Christian church in the vicinity of the camp. Many ministers were kind and generous, and I never received any insult to my face. They were kindly disposed to the young Mormon in their midst.

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