Two weeks after we got there they took our cots away from us. That is to say that we had the dubious pleasure of folding them, carrying them four miles, and stowing them in a warehouse. By then it didn’t matter; the ground seemed much warmer and quite soft — especially when the alert sounded in the middle of the night and we had to scramble out and play soldier. Which it did about three times a week. But I could get back to sleep after one of those mock exercises at once; I had learned to sleep any place, any time — sitting up, standing up, even marching in ranks. Why, I could even sleep through evening parade standing at attention, enjoy the music without being waked by it — and wake instantly at the command to pass in review.
I made a very important discovery at Camp Currie. Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more. All the wealthy, unhappy people you’ve ever met take sleeping pills; Mobile Infantrymen don’t need them. Give a cap trooper a bunk and time to sack out in it and he’s as happy as a worm in an apple — asleep.
Theoretically you were given eight full hours of sack time every night and about an hour and a half after evening chow for your own use. But in fact your night sack time was subject to alerts, to night duty, to field marches, and to acts of God and the whims of those over you, and your evenings, if not ruined by awkward squad or extra duty for minor offenses, were likely to be taken up by shining shoes, doing laundry, swapping haircuts (some of us got to be pretty fair barbers but a clean sweep like a billiard ball was acceptable and anybody can do that) — not to mention a thousand other chores having to do with equipment, person, and the demands of sergeants. For example we learned to answer morning roll call with: «Bathed!» meaning you had taken at least one bath since last reveille. A man might lie about it and get away with it (I did, a couple of times) but at least one in our company who pulled that dodge in the face of convincing evidence that he was not recently bathed got scrubbed with stiff brushes and floor soap by his squad mates while a corporal-instructor chaperoned and made helpful suggestions.