Actually, technically, I’m not sure that I can really welcome you to the Boys’ Club. I’m clearly not in it myself, and even after nearly two years of riding last Sunday night trains alongside all the soldier boys, I just don’t get it. I think it’s fair to say that, outside of Switzerland, the name “Swiss Army” conjures up images of things like utilitarian army knives and Vatican guards and maybe, possibly, for those a little more informed, alp-hidden bunkers – by the dozen. Inside Switzerland, however, (and from outside the Boys’ Club) “Swiss Army” seems more likely to conjure up images along the lines of ….
Shrieking the 1st time you opened the closet door and an army-issue rifle fell out on your feet. Breathing only slightly easier when it is stored under the bed.
Beer. Cases and cases of beer … for the on-duty guys.
Late night Sunday train rides packed to the brim with frumpy soldiers returning to their annual 3 weeks of duty after a weekend off at home … all in uniform, drunk and / or drinking, most often singing or chanting, and occasionally on their feet in the aisles imitating their senior officers.
Involuntarily sitting squashed between all the above mentioned men in uniform, with your feet buried under a pile of rifles tossed haphazardly upon the floor.
Stories of unabashed rookie hazing ceremonies.
Summer camp, combined with an annual class reunion, and the realisation that you shouldn’t feel any too bad for them – this is nothin’ but mandatory national mens’ bonding time.
And last, but certainly not least, images of the honourable Swiss Army getting lost in the woods and wandering into neighboring countries …
And I’m supposed to think this is NORMAL??!