They Said It Better Than I Ever Could...

These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? -Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Mar 31, 2009


So today was another eventful day. Pigpen got blown up...again. That makes two. He may be trying to set some sort of record. But I don’t know for sure. Pigpen and one other guy were in the truck at the time.

Either way, it made for an interesting evening. So I spent the last two hours sitting around with these two, just bullshitting and making light of a tremendously f’ed up situation. It’s funny the range of emotions that people go through when they have just had a life threatening experience. And by funny, I mean completely ridiculous, somewhat psychotic and infinitely entertaining.

We started with the first emotion. “Holy shit, I can’t believe that happened again!” Which encompassed these guys relating their version of events to me with gusto. Which was fun. Anyone exposed to that intense of a situation and the prerequisite adrenaline dump is bound to be lots of laughs.

Next we moved on to, “I want to kill someone for blowing me up.” For those of you who don’t know this is a completely rational and expected response. They went so far as to try to slaughter the moths that were populating our little sleep area. Ending one things life is a poor substitute for killing a Taliban, but in this case it was the best they could do. However, due to the aforementioned adrenalin dump, neither one of these uncoordinated pukes could even get close to any of the moths with their knives. At times it even looked as though they would stab themselves in the eyes before they got anywhere near one of these flying insects. Which, I have to say was fun for me.

The next stage in this emotional roller coaster that I like to call the “post IED blues”, is “I have to call my mom, so she doesn’t hear this from someone else.” Good call, I think. I still haven’t decided whether or not our dear old mothers need or want to know any of the fucked up things that happen to us here. But given the fact that my mother reads this blog I have made that decision already. Now I have to figure out if I did that consciously or unconsciously. Ah, who knows? No need to dwell too much on that tonight. Anyway, these guys made a B-line for the phones, called their respective mothers, girlfriends, wives and what not, and relayed the entire story to them after leading with the ever present, “Before I tell you this, I’m fine!”

Next in line, the “I want to eat a shitload of candy and bitch about all the goofy Army rules about what you have to do when you are struck with an IED.” This is hilarious because it is the only time you will see two battle tested soldiers acting like PMS’ing 15 year old girls. This stage can occur pretty much anytime in the sequence given that you never know when the Army is going to hit you with the rules. In this case it came quickly, because the command hit them with these rules pretty quick. So they had to go get checked out by the doctor. Or in our case the 22 year old medic who is in charge of deciding your medical condition and whether or not you actually deserve to go to the hospital. I guess that, given the amount of practice we supply them with, they are pretty good at this, irrespective of their age. So they had to do all these cognitive tests. Memorizing numbers, words, and letters and then either repeating them back to the questioner or repeating them back in reverse order. This would be a hilarious sight to see, given the fact that Pigpen probably couldn’t do this sort of thing stone sober after 8 hours of sleep and a Swedish massage, much less right after having exploded for the second time in three months. So as he relates this scene to me I can’t help but envision him standing there with the doctor staring at him, and writing these numbers in the air with his fingers and then asking, “What was the third one again?” Then there are the requisite pokes and prods, and looking into this orifice or that, and the listening to the heart with that ridiculously cold little disc thingy. You’d think with all this modern technology we could make one of those that was warm. But I digress.

Finally, there is the last stage. “I have had enough of this shit for one day, I just want to eat, shower, and go to sleep.” Fairly self explanatory and it comes on quickly. This is the stage they are in now, Pigpen is already snoring, and the other guy is in the shower praying for hot water. As I sit here listening to him snore, I can’t help but wonder if this will have any effect on him later. I hope not, but I am probably wrong. I don’t think you can do this more than once and come out the other end okay. However, in Pigpen’s case he was probably already screwed up enough that when it does rear its head and mess with him. No one will notice. Maybe that’s better, I don’t know.

These stages can be run through in any order really, will come back at any time, and will recede just as quickly and unexpectedly. I just can’t help but think, and once again I am probably going straight to hell for this...but “Better them than me, and I hope karma didn’t hear that.”

Either way, I am done now.


I love you mom...and I am...well you know.


  1. Glad to hear everyone is ok! Knowing how alike you and Pigpen are I can totally picture the little mental tests taking place and that mental picture will make me laugh all day long. Stay safe!

  2. MudPuppy...First of all, I am relived they are 'OK'. As a mom, this post hits my heart all over the place. I know my oldest son has already seen too much of this sh*#, and my youngest son has yet to deploy. And then I have my SoldierSon right there in the midst of it all.
    Thanks for telling of the process. I read all too often of the IED hits and wonder how one can walk away from all of this...and then to come home and fight for VA benefits to help heal their minds and hearts. Argh.......
    Stay Strong!
    Pray Hard!

  3. Mud Puppy,

    A little advice from an old guy. Pigpen is someone I would stay away from. Sounds like he is an IED magnet.


  4. Hi MP,
    It is good that you are there for your friends. I am amazed that you have been through this so many times that you can actually document "stages" that someone experiences after being blown up by a roadside bomb! As I see it, part of the problem is that getting blown up does become seemingly "routine." To find yourself being blown up by an IED one minute and then several hours later you are back to a routine as if nothing has happened, why it is just ridiculous. The stages allow you to blow off some steam, but, they also send you on a path back to your bunk or a shower, where the IED-ee is expected return to normal duty after what is truly a life threatening and life altering event of massive proportions! Just listening to your buddies has got to be therapeutic for them in some way MP. The rule should be IED = ticket home - no matter the degree of injury. I guess that would bring the troop levels down real quick now wouldn't it? Take care MP.