In Korea, being a man requires some obligations that no healthy and normal person could dodge. Among them is to serve our nation through mandatory military services for two years. So I did, as most of my colleges, join the military in 2009 leaving all my friends, family and secularistic ways of life in college behind. Now that I'm writing an essay on my desk after a couple of years since I finished with the service recalling the memories happened in the Korea-America military base in Yongsan, this particular memory fleshed through my head, which probably will never be forgotten for the rest of my life.
It was a Friday night in early 2009 when I endlessly awaited in my barrack for the day I will walk out of the army base and do whatever I want jettisoning all the army regulations and creeds injected into my head. Since I, then, was a sergeant, meaning that, at least in the barrack, I enjoyed a colossal amount of power and authority over enlisted soldiers. Plus, as a KATUSA, Korean Augmentation Troops to the United States Army, relatively relaxing culture on the weekends lay in front of me. Then, my fellow American soldier knocked the door and suggested to go clubbing at Itaewon, the place of dazzling neon signs, bars and clubs, the motherland of youth and passion. I followed his suggestion with great alacrity and picked up the best civilian clothes in my military closet and headed to the subway station. Until then, I had no idea what a terrible thing would happen.
My colleague led the way to a club with a long-standing ticket queue wanting to spend the most fabulous night in Friday. We entered the club, ordered a bottle of tequila and started soaking up the booze. The music at the club was so laud and I got a little bit tipsy, leading to more booze and dancing. I probably drunk almost a half of the bottle after that or maybe not. Mysterious remains it still today since in the night I got totally blacked out. The more daunting is that when I woke up the next morning, I was in a military hospital with a patient gown and headache consistently pierced through my brain. All my seniors and fellow soldiers in my platoon came to visit my ward and later my parents also came with a special visit card. I felt like I was stuffed in a bird cage inviting visitors to examine my entire existence. It was so humiliating -and painful- and, after all, I couldn't stand to imagine that a cascade of corrective action by my seniors would decorate my latter year in the army. This embarrassing memory of mine persists in my head and serves as a wake-up call whenever I found myself drink too much.