Add to the drinking game:
5. Take a drink whenever Doug messes (or thinks he is messing with) the occult.
In Which Doug Goes to Military School
Content note: Child physical abuse, suicide, the occult.
Every time I got in enough trouble at school, mom would bail me out… in 9 years I attended 14 schools.
Reading this sentence, You get the feeling Doug never really had to face the consequences of his actions when he was younger. It sounds like his mother was enabling his behavior.
Doug Batchelor was born in 1957. I get that he would’ve been in elementary school in the 1960s, but seriously, at no point did anyone in his life consider that he possibly needed professional help? At the very least give him someone to talk to about all the anger in his system?
I am not saying that Doug has a mental illness. I am not a professional and even if I was, you can’t diagnose someone by the book they write. However, I still think a professional therapist would have been very helpful for Young Doug. At minimum, it would have given him an adult he could talk to about the trouble he was getting into and why.
In any case, a friend of Doug’s mother takes Doug and his brother, Falcon, to visit a military school in Upstate New York. Doug enjoys the tour so much he decides he needs to attend. He tells us we has been in a military school before, at age 5.
They let 5 year olds in military academies?
I may have been out of control…but I knew what I saw was the result of discipline, obedience, and structure. Something inside of me cried out for this kind of order in my life.
Why, because it worked so well when you were 5?
That night, as they sit around the TV smoking pot and eating ice cream, Doug begs his mom to let him to go military school. His mother is reluctant. Doug seems to think that this is because of his history of getting into trouble, but I think his mom sees Doug as a free spirit, who wouldn’t do well in such a highly controlled environment. Doug suggests she call his dad and discuss it with him. Sounds like a solid plan to me. But Doug’s mom has a better idea! She’s going to consult–
A Ouija board.
I’m not kidding.
This, right here, is why I thought for the longest time that these were serious tools of the occult. I have since been told that they are games for teenagers and that no grown up uses them.*
Although she (Doug’s mom) had no religious beliefs, she leaned toward the occult. Many of her friends were into astrology, palm readings, and seances.
Because everyone in Hollywood is totes in bed with the debbil, ya’all!
Doug, his mom, and his brother ask the Oujia board a few warm up questions. I’d like to know what those warm up questions were. It would be a way for Doug to insert details of his background without being too clunky. What year is it? How old is Doug right now? What business is Doug’s father in?
In any case, the Ouija board tells the little family that Doug should absolutely go to military school.
It didn’t seem very supernatural to me, because I had given [the indicator] a little nudge.
I have to give Doug some credit here for admitting that.
Doug’s mom then asks if Falcon should go to military school with Doug. The indicator moves toward “No,” then goes up to the alphabet and spells out “guns.”
No, Falcon should not go to Military school because of the guns.
Doug can’t figure out a way to explain what just happened. It’s almost like the thought never entered his mind that someone else might be moving the indicator. His mother, for instance, or possibly his brother.
I would not have expected Young Doug to know about the ideomotor effect. I would expect Older Doug, looking back on this experience, to have read about it. I think it’s a bit misleading of him not to include it.
In any case, It’s not clear what the problem is here. Can Falcon not have guns because he is a person with violent tendencies? Is Falcon’s Cystic Fibrosis so terrible that he has suicidal thoughts? Is Falcon the type of careless person who would forget to turn on the safety?
A quick google search gives mixed results about people with CF being able to join the military, anyway. I guess it would depend on the severity of the condition.
Doug’s mother calls Doug’s father, who agrees to finance Doug’s military education.
Doug talks about life at the military academy, briefly describing the hazing rituals of the newbies, the incredibly insane rules about how you organized your belongings and cleaned your room, and the ungodly hour at which the day began.
Doug then talks about how the school used corporal punishment –and it wasn’t administered by a corporal. We’re going to pretend he never wrote that groaner of a joke and move on.
I well remember the first time a teacher told me to bend over my desk. He drew back his army belt, complete with metal grommets, and walloped my posterior with all his strength. My desk and I went flying into two other desks. I let out a yelp, and the room exploded with laughter. I was only 11 years old, but the teacher kept saying, “you’re a man now, you’re a man!”
At the beginning of chapter one, Doug was 13. Now he’s suddenly 11 (drink!).
Doug goes on to explain that the teachers didn’t always use belts. Sometimes they jerked you around by your hair or whacked you on the head. He says the officers pampered no one, not even the wealthy kids.
So if anyone ever wanted to know if Doug has a history of physical abuse, the answer is “most certainly.”
Doug goes straight from this line of thought to talking about his troubles with religious service attendance. It’s not clear if this is just another example of bad writing, or if he’s trying to distract himself from what he just wrote.
Doug was one of those kids with a Jewish parent and a Christian parent. He needs to attend both services in order to keep both parents happy.
Hang on, Doug just stated his mother had no religious beliefs. He did say in chapter one that she was proud of her Jewish heritage, but being proud to be Jewish does not necessarily translate to “getting upset that my kid won’t attend synagogue every week.”
Doug says he tried attending a catholic church once, but he didn’t like that the priest smoked cigars during the service.This was the 1960s, but even so, was this a normal thing for the time period? It seems very disrespectful to me, and I’ve never heard of someone doing so as they were preaching. Drink, because I kind of doubt Doug’s memories are clear on this one.
Doug talks about how he didn’t like God as a child because of the whole hell is a current, ongoing, forever and eternal punishment doctrine. He is pleased, as an adult, to discover that this doctrine is not biblical. Whether or not it is biblical is not something I will cover in this post. The only thing that matters to me right now is that Doug does not still believe that. Doug sees God as loving because he doesn’t torture them forever, he tortures them for a while and then kills them permanently afterward.
That summer, Doug goes to summer camp, which he describes thusly:
I was bitten by a spider and almost lost my leg from the infection, and then tried to steal a sailboat and run away to a deserted island. Otherwise, it was a normal summer.
Why did the camp not send him packing after he tried to steal a sailboat? If he almost lost his leg to an infection, why was he not helicoptered to the nearest hospital? Why did he not spend the rest of the summer in said hospital? How was he able to continue summer camp after not just one but TWO of these events?
Doug’s second year at the military academy was very enjoyable. He somehow managed to acquire some authority, and talks about how good it was for his free spirit. He now had an excuse to be late and go wherever he wanted. He tells us he did his job well, one sentence after telling us he saw his job as an excuse to be late and go wherever he wanted.
His grades skyrocketed, he won lots of awards in many sports, was asked to teach others how to polish their shoes and belt buckles to regulation standards.
Doug is now a golden child of the school.
Unfortunately, this school is lacking one thing to make Doug’s life perfect: Girls. Even the 8 and 9 year olds talk about girls.
8 and 9 year old boys were talking about girls? I find this kind of hard to believe. I could believe 8 and 9 year old girls would talk about boys (or other girls) but most 8 and 9 year old boys are obsessed with making their farts as loud as possible. Perhaps they were just imitating the older boys, but even so, I find this only slightly believable.
Otherwise this rings very true for me. I’m not sure atm if Doug is supposed to be 11, 14, or 15. If it’s one of the latter two, Doug is at an age where his hormones are beginning to kick in. This is normal and happens to almost everybody.
So it makes sense when Doug finally decides that girls are more important than anything else int he world, and resolves to transfer to a school where he can get some vagina.
*Except 3 young adults who went to the hospital [the priest refused to do an exorcism] a few years back after playing with one. As they responded to medical treatment, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume they weren’t possessed. The ridiculous tangents I get into when writing these things.
** I keep getting told that these things are for kids because my freshly atheist self wanted to get ahold of and play with one, but nobody will play with me. They will, however, play with the tarot cards. They have also informed me that the word “tarot” does not rhyme with “parrot.”