It’s a joke but a cautionary tale to honestly ask yourself, “Is spending my formative years in the military worth a mass-produced Dodge car?”
Waste enough time on social media not working on your project car and sooner or later you’ll come across a specific type of military meme.
The meme often shows a young soldier looking depressed or in a stressful situation with the caption reading “All this for a Dodge Charger?” or “You sign six years and you’ll get that Dodge Charger you want.”
Other cars often in place of a Dodge Charger include Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro.
Here are some of the ol’ classics.
All this for a Dodge Charger 😐 pic.twitter.com/fG1R3s7kui— Yatclub (@YouGottaLaugh_) September 23, 2019
all this for a Dodge Charger https://t.co/vKx8KQAnrS— . (@_KeishaK) February 28, 2021
1. Find oil 2. Shoot anyone defending it 3. Marry a 19 year old you met last week 4. Dodge Charger https://t.co/v1M9YZmV5P— brown boy (@A55_E4TER) November 25, 2018
All this for a Dodge Charger pic.twitter.com/UcJMFADh03— Varios (@SaveBillCosby) November 11, 2019
These memes are popular on car enthusiast social media groups because they point out an all-too-common occurrence of how many young men and women acquire their first new car, by joining the military.
This is my train of thought of how I understand, and by extension, hopefully you can better understand this meme.
There are certain instances where joining the Army makes sense.
For example, many young men and women feel a call to be a soldier, so the army is logically the next step in life.
And, for a large majority of new recruits, the military represents opportunity where they gain valuable life skills, get to travel, learn a trade if they so choose, get to serve their country AND get paid doing it.
This meme is not for them.
There are a few of young men and women (but mostly men) where, whether they admit it or not, owning a sick car, like a Dodge Charger, is thee goal.
Cheap power, freedom to travel, and a ticket into the car community, muscle cars is where it’s at and right now, career be dam*ed, a Dodge Charger is all that matters.
Muscle cars are affordable, but not exactly cheap.
Dodge Chargers start out at $32,500 and Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Camaros are even cheaper at $27,205 and $25,000 respectively.
For a young person with no job, no money, and no direction, you’re telling them they can legally “own” (get a car loan) for a new Dodge Charger in a matter of months because, by joining the army, you have proof of steady income?
Of course, any young teen who dreams to have a new set of wheels will sign up.
According to Indeed, newly enlisted soldiers typically earn between $21,000-$24,000 a year. That increases as you level up in the military.
If you finance these muscle cars over the typical 60-month loan, what’s a $400 loan payment when you’re getting at least $2,000/month?
You’re only eighteen or nineteen, are getting paid, have your own keys to a fast car, and maybe you’re in a relationship.
Life is good.
But, let me emphasize, we’re talking about the military; your entire military experience, from the first day of boot camp to your discharge, is highly physical because, on some level, you’re being trained to defend, and quite possibly kill, for your country.
On top of that, those years of active duty can be literal hell on earth resulting in life changing injury, years of trauma (PTSD,) and even death.
This is the origin of those memes, often showing beleaguered and depressed soldiers re-evaluating their life choices that brought them to this new low.
Common thoughts for people who joined because of that muscle car siren song include…
*shortly after getting word of their first tour of duty “Is a new Dodge Charger worth literally risking your life for?”
“There has to be a better way to get a Dodge Charger besides risking getting shot at by enemy combatants “
“Maybe I should’ve gone to Junior College for two years or went to trade school, instead. Sure, I’m not getting paid yet, might have some trade school loans after, but, at least I’m not getting shot at.”
For a large, arguably majority, of military recruits, they’re going to have an OK time. America is in peacetime, war is rapidly changing away from literal boots on the ground, and chances are you’re going to make it out alive, healthy, and without injury.
But, for another slice of military recruits, who went in thinking a new Dodge Charger is the goal, their military experience at some point in time just plain sucks.
This meme is about them.
For the record, not every young guy or girl coming out of boot camp and into active duty is making a beeline straight to a Dodge dealership.
But, a lot of them are, they’re driving around base, you might actually know a few, and it’s hard not to make a meme about it.