1. What is a “grocery store”?
It is, and forever will be, the commissary.
2. People ask you where you’re from and you don’t even try to explain.
“Nowhere. Everywhere. I don’t know.”
3. The clothes your parents bought you from the PX made you look like you were a time traveler from the 1980s.
But it didn’t matter because all the other kids on base wore the Exact. Same. Thing.
4. Every school mascot you ever had was The Eagles, The Screaming Eagles, or some variation on that theme.
By the time you graduated you’d been to 15 different schools, so you appreciated the continuity.
5. The first song other than the National Anthem you learned all the words to was a pretty hilarious and inappropriate cadence call.
“Your ma! Your pa! Your mean-ole-granny-got-a-hole-in-her-panty, got-a-big-behind-like-Frankenstein, now sound off! One, two! Sound off! Three, four!”
6. Being 10 minutes early for an appointment means you’re late.
7. You judge people who don’t know the phonetic alphabet.
C is for cookie? C is for Charlie. GTFO.
8. You’re freakishly good at bowling. And have an unhealthy knowledge of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service snack bar menu.
Bowling alleys and the snack bar: staples of every military base and your after-school routine for years.
9. Anyone older than you is “ma’am” or “sir.”
Forget that one simple rule, and your face instantly looked like this.
10. When you lived overseas, your non-military friends constantly asked if they could have things mailed to your APO/FPO address.
AA, AE, and AP are states, y’all. Domestic shipping rates apply.
11. You’ve had a regulation haircut and/or GI (birth control) glasses.
And you looked freakin’ sexy.
12. Your parent was called into their commanding officer’s office for reasons that included you being a troublemaker at school.
13. You’ve taken a few flights that involved sitting in jump seats, wearing your winter jacket at all times, and Humvees in the cargo hold.
Carry-ons in the military include armored vehicles.
14. The phrases “O-dark-30” and “1400 hours” make perfect sense to you.
Getting up at 0800 constitutes sleeping in.
15. AFN commercials will forever be the gold standard in campy public service announcements.
Do yourself a favor and go watch the Squeakers the Hamster series on YouTube.
16. You’ve eaten a major holiday meal in a mess hall.
Rite of passage. Sorry ‘bout it.
17. You always had some MRE’s around the house.
In case of nuclear apocalypse. Or camping trips.
18. Your dad has activated level 99 combat mode in response to a loud noise that turned out to be harmless.
Always not embarrassing at all when he destroys your water bottle because he thought it was a tear gas canister.
19. You blew up your favorite electronic device by forgetting to use a 110/220 converter.
20. You came back to the States after being overseas for a few years and didn’t understand ANY of the cultural references.
21. You immediately dropped whatever you were doing at 1700 each day for retreat to be played.
22. You freaked out when you turned 20 because it suddenly meant you only had your military ID and base privileges for one more year.
You may have strongly considered enlisting just because of it.
23. You’ve never had to explain to your non-military friends that you just found out you’re moving. Next week.
You’re also the most efficient packer you know.
25. But you are tough, adaptable, good at making friends, and wouldn’t trade your childhood for anything in the world.
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