With the end of Labor Day and schools opening to the howls of protests of kids everywhere (save those Jason Fox types who actually enjoy going to learn), it might be time to look back on (not quite so) fond memories of Skyler being constantly shuffled off to Military training bases instead of regular Summer Camp where he could afford to laze about, rather than be shuffled into strenuous exercise. No such luck. Surely the new Army Basic Training place would make past excursions Camp LeJune, Parris Island and Cherry Point look like tourist retreats.
In this instance however, unlike past experiences, he actually wanted to go to Boot Camp, just so he could join the first Iraq War. Oh kids, you and your patriotism! What are we going to do with you?
So Skyler gets ready for his usual bout of sadomasochistic torture, being constantly harassed by an ironclad doctrine system that refuses to explain itself, surrounded by hulking macho guys vying to be Rank Number Alpha, or whatever hierarchy works in Military terms.
But first, he has to endure the bus trip there, and right away, the experience seems slightly different from what he's used to.
Turns out all those years, the big secret in avoiding being sent to a Marine base was to formally request an invitation to go there.
Skyler is now venturing that murky realm of Catch-22 and Section 8 regulations. If you actually want to fight, you're deemed an insufficient soldier with mental problems, and need to be relocated elsewhere where you'll do less harm.
While past camp experiences showed Skyler handling rifles and aircraft carriers, this is probably the only instance where he's shown to be actually firing a weapon without fear of being bounced back from the recoil. Also an instance of doing Archery before it was cool.
Turns out attending a Military Base multiple times against your will doesn't do much to raise awareness to your surroundings being innocuous and harmless events, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Obviously there must be some underlying conspiracy hiding behind that curtain, because no one could possibly be that content and happy without some underlying corruption just waiting to be revealed, right? Right???
Perplexingly enough, right in the middle of the storyline, there were three unrelated comics, one of which showed Skyler standing right next to Cosmo Fishhawk watching television, without any sense that he'd returned home.
And then, three days later, he's back at camp like nothing ever happened. You'd think Jeff MacNelly would've chosen his preselected comics more carefully.
When the most dangerous thing you've got to deal with is worrying about a surveillance threat that'll never come, there's not much to write home about; so Skyler puts his renown essay practice techniques to use.
So, having survived another unruly Summer at a camp, Skyler is left with memories of his training that'll doubtlessly help him later in life.
After such a harrowing experience, coming back to civilization comes as something of a culture shock.