The following is a leaked document given to staff non-commissioned officers and officers as a “leaders guide” for effectively understanding the meaning of phrases said by subordinates.
Troops are not very intelligent, but they are cunning. They often present a façade of discipline and instant obedience to orders, but what are they really saying? What are they actually thinking? Deciphering their secret language of millennial knavery is daunting at best.
In order to aid the 21st century military leader, we have compiled and translated some of the most common phrases used in what has become known as ‘barracks cant.’ This short list of phrases should provide significant illumination into the secret world of the subordinate underground.
1. “Private didn’t know…”
Translation: “I totally knew, but I’m going to ride this excuse all the way until my EAS.”
2. “Nobody told me…”
Translation: “I never made eye contact with anyone who may have said that, so technically I wasn’t ‘told.’ Besides, it’s safer to just say I don’t know and keep you from asking more questions I don’t want to answer.”
3. “I’m waiting on…”
Translation: “I’m not doing a damn thing about that task. Is it time to go home yet?”
4. “Ooh-Rah! – Hooah! – Yut!”
Translation: “I can’t even articulate with actual words how much I hate you.”
Translation: “I hope I said that with enough vigor so you’ll leave me alone.”
6. “Living the dream!”
Translation: “If my dream was to exist in an unending time loop of banality and institutional failure.”
7. “We’re working on the answer to that right now sir.”
Translation: “How in the world could you ask such a dumb ass question? Of course we don’t have the answer because it has nothing to do with what we are briefing right now.”
8. “I would be happy to, sir.”
Translation: “Happy to watch you gag on that coffee while I finish this meaningless task you could have done yourself two minutes ago. By the way, I brewed your coffee with toilet water.”
9. “We’ll have that for you by close of business.”
Translation: “We’ll have been off work for half an hour by then.”
10. “I’m trackin’!”
Translation: “I’ll say almost anything to get you to shut up right now.”
Duffel Blog intrepid reporters She-Ra and Danger Close contributed to this article.