Monday, June 28, 2010

Snap That Towel Linus

This time of year always makes me think of cadet camp. Truly one of the most fun times in my life. You bond so quickly with people in your 'Flight' or group. Each flight is named after a famous Canadian aircraft as we were Air Cadets and opposed to army or sea cadets.

One of the most fun things to do after lights out was to sneak up to another floor to play pranks on people. The barracks staff were pretty good at keeping a tight watch on us but when they went outside for a smoke we could take our 'Mertles' or our 'woggies' and lead raids on other floors. You would go into someone's room and bash them all a few times before running away.

A 'Mertle' was a very tightly wound wet towel that you could snap at people with great ferocity. We would say that 'Mertle' only spoke with one word - and like a Pokemon could only say her own name - "MERTLE!" (I can only hope that Linus in the above illustration would have the prescience of mind to wind himself up a 'Mertle' out of his security blanket and snap that cephalopod in the eye when he realized he was threatened).

Now a 'woggie' was the weapon of choice and was created by pushing one of your wool socks down the other wool sock and tightly knotting the end. This gave you a weapon that got longer the more the sock was stretched. It also was a good thumping weapon that really didn't do more than give you a wicked circular bruising when the heavier weighted end hit you.

One night in Junior Leaders we planned a raid on the guys who occupied the floor above us in the barracks. We thought we were so smart as we crept silently up the stairs. However, when we got to their rooms. (that had eight beds each) we found nobody was in bed. Where were they? It was lights out.

I will never forget in that moment of silence when we all collectively realized that it was a trap and suddenly everyone on that floor came screaming at us from both sides of the hallway swinging their 'Mertles' and 'woggies'.

It was like the movie '300' with everyone swinging away till we all were too tired to swing anymore. Guys were being dragged off to rooms to be towel snapped and woggie bashed by groups of people. A few of us tried to make a stand in one of the rooms by taking turns at the narrow opening while others behind us rested but we couldn't hold the 'pass' or doorway for long. It was a hilarious battle and the next day we all wore the bruises of our epic conflict.

I always wondered why were weren't punished for that but years later I realized that the higher ups were waiting for something just like that to happen. It was harmless fun but really bonded us together as a unit. We respected each other group because they gave as good as they got.


Wings1295 said...

Gotta let the kids have some fun, yeah?

And I am guessing that was the last known photo of Linus?

Budd said...

You guys had already punished yourselves.

Neil said...

There's something to be said for male bonding rituals - they do a heck of a job of building that close group spirit. If your "battle" hadn't happened, the leaders would probably have arranged something similar to get the result.

Megan said...

My god, can you imagine the lawsuits today? One bruise and that cadet's mamma would be on CNN...