Starting Day 1 in the army, toranut (תורנות) is simply a part of life. Toranut is the overarching term to describe various types of bitch detail that each base requires. According to Google Translate, toranut means service by rotation. In reality, it means either additional or pointless work put on us because others simply won’t do it. The types of toranut one can be sentenced to (from worst to best) are:
– Sergeant Major
– HQ Platoon
Before jumping in any further, it’s important to note that being sent to toranut was not always the worst thing in the world. During basic training, one could be sent to work in the kitchen or pick up trash while his friends were crawling through mud and thorns. If that were the case, he was given several endearing nicknames by his friends that they shouted at him throughout the duration of his toranut. Son of a bitch and evasive asshole (it sounds better in Hebrew. Oketz Manyak – עוקץ מניק) were favorites in my platoon. I can still imagine the shit-eating grin on one friend’s face when he was picked for toranut during a particularly unpleasant day of basic training.
Since we’re now out of training, toranut is considered the worst thing possible. All night jeep patrol? Great. Twelve hour shift as the radio room runner? Sweet. Week-long deployment in a small camp where you sleep in a converted shipping container, don’t shower and go to the bathroom outside? Sign me up. Toranut in the kitchen? FUUUUUUUUCK!
Working in the kitchen is by far the worst. For starters, you wake up two hours earlier than everybody else. The Sun is just coming up outside and you’re already in the kitchen, cursing the day that lay before you, praying it goes by quickly. But you know that it won’t. You spend the majority of this 12 hour hell washing all of the cooking utensils. We’re not talking about a few plates and bowls. Oh no. We’re talking about all the stuff required to feed a base of 300 people, three meals a day. Fine, whatever. I’ll throw my earphones in, listen to some music and make it pass. If only it were that simple. The cooks seem to get some demonic pleasure out of just being absolute pricks. All of this together, makes that day go by slowly.
Going through toranut in the kitchen once, makes you never want to do it again. When you hear your name called to be in the kitchen, your mind starts immediately looking for excuses as to why you can’t go. “Ok… No, I’m not puking. I don’t have diarrhea. I have no cuts on my hand… Shit! What else? How can I get out of this?!”
Working for the Sergeant Major is slightly better because you don’t have somebody standing over you the entire day. It’s easy to slip away for twenty minutes here and there. Like the cooks, the guys who work for the Sergeant Major seem to evoke the same amount of pleasure from being absolute assholes. The overwhelming majority of these guys used to be combat soldiers until they were dropped to their present position as a form of punishment. Lucky for them, that “punishment” includes working a week, having off for a week. Why don’t these guys just do the work that they make us do instead? I wish I had an answer.
Working for the HQ Platoon is, by far, the best form of toranut. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still bitch work. But you’re working inside your own company. Your personal reveille isn’t too much worse than that of the other guys. And, best of all, you’re treated with respect. Nobody yells, nobody threatens. “Hey, I need you to get this, this and that done. Once you do, let me know. You can have two hours off.” A lot of that work can be setting up for Company Night or various other enjoyable things that we do.