I was reading the article by Vice Admiral Jeffrey Fowler in the October Proceedings—the one in which the new Naval Academy Superintendent lays out his plan to tighten the rules governing meals, liberty, and extracurricular activities—when I experienced an unsettling flashback. Suddenly, it was 0400 on 9 December 1992, and the amtrac I was riding in splashed into the Indian Ocean from the USS Juneau (LPD-10) and headed for the beach in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia. I was wedged by the rear hatch, enjoying the ambiance, when water began to pour through the seal of the top hatch directly above me. In no time I was drenched. Like a jackrabbit in a hailstorm, all I could do was hunker down and endure a ride to the beach that seemed to last an eternity.
I was miserable. I readily recognized misery because I had spent four years being miserable at the Naval Academy. The crowning lesson of my matriculation there was: It doesn't take any practice to be miserable.