What's some common slang/jargon a veteran character might use in civilian life? Thank you!
I think it varies significantly depending on what part of the army you were in and how much you absorbed the lifestyle, but here’s a few I still use on a regular basis. Some of them might actually be fairly common irl ones; I can’t even tell the difference at this point.
• Hooah: I can’t help myself. I told my husband at one point to spray me with water if I said “hooah” and I just can’t stop. It’s just such a convenient word that replaces most forms of communication to something akin to a grunt and that’s great when you’re me and you hate talking.
• Hurry up and wait: the army wants you to hurry the fuck up and run your ass ragged only to stand around for literally hours doing nothing. We have to wake up at four a.m. to pre-preassemble at a location where we’ll preassemble before we actually assemble at. Like. Eight a.m. Sometimes it feels like the real world is just as ridiculous with its timing.
• Soup Sandwich: A fuck up of epic proportions. It feels like everything’s a gd soup sandwich these days.
• Voluntold: When someone “volunteers” for something but in fact they were told to volunteer for it, making it more of a demand. I ask myself this all the time when I see businesses doing giveaways or protesters/public speakers and shit, when I pick my passengers in my car who say they do volunteer stuff like that, I want to ask if they actually volunteered or if they were voluntold.
• …and a wake up: A unit of telling time in the military we learn in basic training to help us get through the weeks of training. It cuts down on your days left by one with the reasoning that if the final day is just a ceremony or something as equally easy, the final day doesn’t count because the hardest part is waking up on that day. So instead of saying we have fifty-six days left, we’d say we have fifty-five days and a wake up. I still say shit like that to my husband. “We have an appointment in three days and a wake up.” Yes, it’s pathetic.
• as you were/as I was: Return to your prior task/I’ve made a verbal error, please disregard the last thing I said. I often sometimes just say “disregard.”
• Roger: yes, confirmed, heard, understood, you got it, I’m on it, roger-fucking-dodger bro.
• skillfully acquire: steal. Literally just steal.
• high speed: good shit, A+, 10/10
• the crud: a common cold, especially one with fluid leakage.
• Charlie Foxtrot: a clusterfuck. A complete and utter fuck-up.
• MIA: missing in action. Applied to literally anything that isn’t where it’s supposed to be. “I can’t leave ‘cuz my damn keys are MIA.”
• Stay in your lane: this one is common in the civilian world nowadays, but when we used it we meant it quite literally: on the range we each had our own lane, and when the range was hot (guns being fired) you don’t cross over to someone else’s lane because people are literally shooting weapons why would you put yourself in that situation. Also used in the same metaphorical sense civilians use nowadays, aka “you do not know about or understand this so stick to what you know.”
• The real world: civilian life, non-military life. Every day I wake up and am grateful I now live in the real world.
• Zero dark-thirty: too goddamn early in the morning for this bullshit
• Beer-thirty: it’s socially acceptable for me to get fucked up thank god
As you can see, most of these I still use because they apply to both the real world and the army. We wouldn’t use most of our slang here because it normally wouldn’t apply. There is no need for me to tell a fuzzy to grab a donkey dick so we can juice up the 5k.
Some soldiers are REALLY hardcore about keeping their personal life and their working life separate and they go to great pains to avoid slipping in military jargon. Others just really don’t care at all. It’s okay to have a character be either of those or somewhere in the middle, but I recommend trying not to overdo it on jargon, such as the above example I gave. You can’t expect most civilians to be able to know what most of these slang terms mean, and you’d be holding up your story having to explain them so often. I recommend keeping jargon relatively sparse, using only when it’ll have the greatest effect. Using jargon just to show off will always drag down a story.
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