Thursday, 26 January 2012

Johnny Comes Limping Home. Again.

Well, as you may or may not know, in Finland every man who turns 18 is drafted into the Finnish Defence Forces. Three years ago it was my turn and the visit was shortlived due to my knees failing. I spent 5 days trying to march with the pain in my legs, then 5 more days lying in bed of a temporary hospital in the garrison listening to some large metallic thing bang on the wall outside my room day and night. I was sent to an actual hospital where the doctors screwed up in a few ways and sent me back to the garrison too early. I was then released from service and driven to the parking lot of a hospital in my home city with only a modest amount of cash on me and a nearly dead cellphone.
Only things I got from that fun little trip were a haunting pain in my knees that has lasted over the years, arms badly bruised for weeks from literally more than a dozen bloodtests they took during the last 5 days in the all of them hospitals (4 times in a row at one of them because the nurse kept screwing up my social security number and had to redraw my blood every time) and a rather large hospital bill that my mother had to pay because I had no income. And I never got my pay for those weeks I did spend in the army because the clever bastards released me exactly 6 hours before the payday, so I wasn't in their system or eligible to receive the payment anymore at the moment they would've sent it.
There's lots that went wrong that I'll leave out from this post, but overall I can say that it was a shitty trip and I never figured it could get worse.

Well, three years passed and earlier this month it came time for me to retry this shit again. My class was lowered from A to B due to my knees so I thought I could handle it this time. Those in class B are supposed to have it slightly easier due to their physical conditions, you see. Well, on the first or second evening there a corporal came and told all of us that we shouldn't expect anything to be easier even with our class B papers, that it's just for publicity and in reality it has no bearing in the army. He actually said that, I could put quotation marks around that sentence.
Of course I thought "what the fuck?" and decided to ask about it from a doctor later that week and see if it's true. Indeed, when I asked about it the doctor said "yep, it's true, everybody goes through the same treatment the first two months before you choose you specialisations." Well, I didn' get through even one month three years back, how the hell am I supposed to get through it all now? The doctor told me to "just try" and sent me away.
Of course, over time the pain in my knees got worse and worse to the point that walking became difficult (again) and I had to go see a doctor about it (again), and I was again told to just try and finish my service anyway. I didn't get any painkillers or anything, and I had to still try to do the same shit that everyone else did that I couldn't have done even with healthy legs.

I got so pissed off that I made my mind and decided to quit the army and pick the alternative way to handle my duties as a Finnish person. Of course, it wasn't easy because at first the lieutenant asked me to rethink and go talk to the captain the next morning if I hadn't changed my mind. Of course I didn't change my mind, I was dying in there and I didn't get any help from anywhere, what fucking choice did I have? Stay there until I couldn't even crawl anymore and then get driven back home again to pay a few more hospital bills with no money?
The captain tried to talk me out of it as well, only he wasn't as nice about it as the lieutenant. I'm not even going to try and explain everything he said, but he's a stuck-up dick who doesn't seem to care about other people, and I'm not just talking about my situation. The captain was an overall jerk and tried to scare me to stay. What he basically told me, in a nutshell, was that he couldn't just throw me out of the army with bad knees and insisted that I at least go speak with a doctor (again).
Well, I'll skip the waiting and walking and talking even though it was a pretty rough day and just get on with it. The doctor at first didn't want to get involved because it's not his job to discuss with me about my choice to leave the army, but agreed to sign a paper that basically said that my knees would get better over time and that I would be able to walk normal and handle my civil duties someday (even though he doesn't really know that for sure). And then he fucked up and had my classification changed to "capable of regular military service", but nothing ever came from that so I won't dwell on it. And I still didn't get any painkillers or anything.
I finally returned to the captain who made another speech about how I shouldn't quit and blah blah, but grudgingly let me go and fill a form that you quit the army with because he had to admit that it's my right to choose and he couldn't keep me there against my will. It's one of the few rights people still have in this country, I do believe, but it seems to be a constant struggle to keep it. At least in my case it was.
Well, I returned the form but of course it wouldn't get sent anywhere that day because I was running stupid errands all day and apparently the big shots in the army like to stop working an hour and a half too early and since it was Friday my paper would't get processed until Monday, so I decided to go home for the weekend. This isn't the end of my day, though.

We were released 1 hour 40 minutes AFTER the last bus for the day had left and our garrison is in the middle of nowhere, so of course getting back home was going to be a teensy bit tricky. Thankfully I got to know some great guys in the army who offered me a ride to the bus station of a nearby city so I wasn't left just standing there in the snowstorm, but unfortunately what none of us knew was that this city is apparently a shithole and has no busses going to my home city. Yup, great, now stranded in a slightly larger place in the middle of nowhere, at night when it's cold and snowing.
Well, long story short (too late), I took the next bus to a completely different city where I then caught another bus home and when I got back here I had to take another bus from downtown (dubbed the "drunk-train") to get all the way home. I arrived home at 05.30 Saturday morning, and I had left the garrison 17.30 Friday evening. 12 hours of traveling with a fever and two legs I can barely walk on. I ran out of money paying the bus fares and only barely made it home, by the way. And the army doesn't compensate for those rides either. They would if I had only taken one bus, but since I had to take several they won't. Kind of a shitty situation to be in.
I spent the weekend at home and then on Sunday evening went back to the garrison for one night to wait for my paper to get processed, and indeed the next morning I got the word that I was getting out. It was a rough day, running back and forth carrying loads of stuff around, but I got through it with the help of a cruch and loads of painkillers I took from home since, once again, the army didn't provide me anything, and at last I were a free man again. Still not quite the end of the story.

I missed the last bus home. Yup, I had very slowly walked to the nearest bus stop in the middle of nowhere and missed the last bus to anywhere for the day. I actually got to see it as it drove past me as I had gotten to the stop, which is much more infuriating than missing it by 20 minutes or something. And it was again cold and snowing, and I hadn't eaten all day. Well, nothing else to do but walk about 5-6 miles in the middle of dark woods I don't know to the nearest "city" I've never been in (it's a smaller place than the neighbourhood I live in, not much of a city). Took me several hours and several stops for moments of silent crying, but I pushed through. Probably mostly thanks to the painkillers.
Once I finally found my way to the "city" I had a quick bite in a local fast-food joint and then sent a message home regarding my current whereabouts. Of course this "city" was the very place where all those "last busses for the day" leave from so now I would've been promptly stuck there for the next 10 hours. Thankfully my sister claims to be wealthy (she's only doing better than me and my mother) so she called a taxi to get me home and paid for it.

Now I'm home, unable to walk and I'm told I have bronchitis. At least I didn't lose 20 kilograms like last time.
That's the story of Johnny in the Finnish Defence Forces. I'm never going back there!

By the way, walking 5-6 miles in pitch black woods in the middle of nowhere when you're sick, have two busted knees, are dehydrated and haven't eaten anything besides painkillers is a really fucking stupid idea and I can't blame the army for that. Though as far as I'm concerned, they now owe me about 330 euros for all the expenses.



  1. I'm glad to hear you're back but take it easy for a while sir! I enjoy your commentaries and videos a lot as I have told you but your health is significantly more important. But welcome back, it's good to have you!

  2. Great to see you back, and wow didn't think it would have been that rough, bronchitis! Also really fucked up bus system.

  3. Thanks guys. Yup, apparently there aren't a whole lot of busses moving around in some sections of Finland.

  4. But there are some limping Johnny's with bronchitis! ;)


  5. Wow jonny sad to hear you went through all of that. The finish army sounds like it sucks! But its glad to have you back! I enjoy your videos on youtube and your blog so yeah WELCOME BACK DUDE!

  6. Unlucky buddy...

    Good to hear that you're back in (more or less) one piece.
    Take it easy for the next few weeks - don't worry about the YouTube or anything.

    Just take loads of rest. That was really depressing to read - I'd just collapse on the spot if I had to take all these fuckin' busses and extra crap at very late times. It actually makes me feel happy that the bus system in the UK isn't as fucked up.

    Just one question: do you guys need to return to the army in 3 years time or have you had your time there?

    If you ARE done, are you guys required to find another job?
    If so, are you gonna get a job and in what field?

    Once again, take it easy and get some sleep. The FDF seems like a shithole :/

    - Derek
    (Yes, I know I haven't been active for many months but I myself, like you, am back)

  7. Thank you guys as well.
    I'm personally done with the army for good. In a year or two I'll have to perform civilian service, which means stopping all school or work I may have then in order to spend a year doing free work so at the moment I don't have any plans for the future.

    I would like to worry about YouTube since it means just sitting here at home and occasionally glancing at the site, but there isn't much there to worry about. Only thing on my mind right now is buying a new PC so I can start producing higher quality videos. I've earned just enough from the YouTube partnership to buy a really good one for once, but I need to wait and see if I can even get my earnings to my bank account. Then I have to hope they don't try to end the partneship prematurely just for laughs.

  8. Good to hear...

    Technically, you ARE employed seeing as you're in a YouTube partnership so does that count as a full-time job?
    Surely, now you're employed...

    - Derek

  9. That's what's actually been bothering me a lot lately. I have no idea how the taxation in Finland works when you get money from a job like YouTube partnership. I don't get nearly enough income from this partnership to be eligible to pay any taxes IF the company paying me was in Finland, but since it's an international thing I don't know how much the government wants to take from me.
    I have to go talk to someone in the Finnish Tax Administration about it and I'm absolutely scared shitless.