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

Nov 26, 2009

Happily Ever After Afghanistan...

So today is happy Thanksgiving!

I was supposed to write this a long time ago. But I've been exceptionally lazy with all my writing lately. Between work and well work, I just haven't been able to find the time. Excuses, excuses. If I really wanted to, I would've made it happen but I didn't. So take that for what its worth.

So how has life been for me since I came home?

Different to say the least.

I've said it a thousand times already and this is one of the few good things. Is that, all the volume on so many things is turned down. I don't really get as riled up over things as I used to. Don't really take things as seriously anymore.

Like this, I burnt through $5,000 the other day furnishing my new apartment. I even bought a gigantic television along with the stereo surround sound. Before this deployment that would've bugged the shit out of me. Spending all that money and since they are running those specials, "24 or 36 months no interest, same as cash" I put it all on credit. Which, previously would've made me absolutely batty.

This time I looked at it all, looked at the bills and said, "Hey, its just money. I'll make more."

Relationships are another thing. I've been trying to figure out what of this deployment I should tell everyone about. I mean the shrink told me that I needed to find someone to talk to about all of it and share with them as much as I could. I wanted to tell him that I told the world about most of it. 505 pages of psychotherapy courtesy of the internet.

But it doesn't change the fact that you tell people things about what went on over there and you can't help but see that somewhat blank look in their eyes. And you wonder to yourself, "Am I not explaining this well enough, or are they just dumber than a box of shit?"

It strains things a bit, because I want to tell them. God knows, I've always had a lot to say. But I haven't figured out whether or not to tell them the shitty things. Will they look at me differently, will they just think of me as damaged goods now? I mean the funny stuff is easy to tell them, everybody likes a funny story. But how far do I go? Haven't figured that one out yet, that's a work currently in progress.

Work? Is a snap now. Between the hours we worked in Afghanistan and the difficulty of some of that work over there makes a job (any job) seem pretty inconsequential. Most days I work an 8 hour shift, some days I get stuck with or volunteer for overtime and that takes me up to 16 hours. Well all things considered, in Afghanistan some of my shifts lasted around a week, 16 hours is nothing. Not to mention here no one is trying to kill me.

I went public with the blog again. So we'll see how long that lasts. I don't really think there is anything in there that could get me into any real trouble so we'll just see what happens. But I'm sure that some of you would like to see what happened after I went private. So its all there, minus a few. But don't worry I've got the whole thing saved.

Lately, I've been commenting on the differences between life over there and life here. I couldn't help it, its the lens through which I look at the world now. So I think there's some good stuff in there. But I troll the newspapers and find something I want to write about and then throw it out there.

I've rekindled some old friendships since I've been back. I started regularly speaking to my buddy "J". He's the guy if you can remember this, that I wrote the "copenhagen jerk" story about. He's been keeping my mind as focused as possible. He's just one of those guys that I can always talk to because he knows what it means to be a soldier and he knows me about as well as anyone.

I'm even heading back to school. Either in the spring, but I may have to put it off until the fall so that my GI Bill has time to go through. I found out that since I deployed and I used up all my previous GI Bill entitlement that I get 12 more months of benefits. Sweet.

But here let me tell you how retarded the military and government can be sometimes. The old GI Bill had 36 months of entitlements. And I think that the new one has 48. So if you used the old one then you can switch over to the new one, but here's the catch. If you used say, 30 months of the old GI Bill, you can only use 6 months of the new one for a total of 36 months. However, if, like me, you used all 36 months of the old one, you can use 12 months of the new one. For a total of 48. Well you can always count on Uncle Sam to make perfect sense.

Oh, another good one. I applied for my retroactive stop loss pay. $500 a month for the 7 months I was stop lossed. But of course, something went wrong. I applied, sent all the paperwork in. Filled out all the forms online. Then a couple days later I received an email that said that my paperwork and the months that I said I was stop lossed were not in agreement. Of course not, why would they be. I was only there, I wouldn't know what months I was stop lossed or anything. So stay tuned we'll have to see how that goes.

So I think that's about it. Life has successfully returned to something resembling normalcy. But its always there. A little bit of Afghanistan sneaks into my life at the weirdest or most inappropriate times. I was standing outside a bar one night. Some kid set off a firecracker and I just about jumped out of my pants. I was walking through the mall and I saw a little girl with a hoodie on and my mind saw that little Afghani girl with the burned face. Just the other day I flushed the toilet, and then I flushed it again. Just cuz I can...

So anyway, that's pretty much it.

I'm going out to my cousin's for dinner. Should be a blast, I even found a pair of jeans that are way too big so that I've got room to expand. I could go into the whole remember to be thankful thing, but I figure that when you see the copious amounts of food on the table today. You aren't going to need to be told that.


I love you Mom...


  1. Thank you for the gift of a new post for Thanksgiving. I worked today - taking care of those who would rather be somewhere else and in a different situation - the hospital. I dutifully clicked on your site - as I do daily and joy - a new post. Glad you are coping with this crazy world. Take care and I love your mom too. lorraine

  2. Hi MP,
    Sorry I haven't commented lately. I have been reading though. I have had some issues of my own to get under control. I do have some thoughts on your dilemma of "who do I tell" and "what do I tell," but, I think I will email those to you rather than go into it here. As you can see by the date on this I am just a little behind on life in general. As far as some of the changes in your attitudes towards things, I don't think you can be a soldier in a war zone without getting your perspectives on life altered! Give yourself time to adjust, it's a marathon, not a sprint. As long as you can keep a handle on what's important and what's bullsh*t you'll be doing OK. Hang in there MP.


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