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 19, 2010


For the questions, and here are the answers...more posts to follow because a few of these warrant that kind of attention.

You have changed, to say the least. What is your life like now that your are a civilian again? Night sweats, nightmares, short tempered...the PTSD stuff. I pray that you don't and that you are dealing well.
Well coffeypot, the PTSD in my case has been relatively mild.  I don’t have any nightmares anymore.  I had them for a while after I got home.  Woke up scared half to death all sweaty and shit (suppose that’s night sweats) Then I’d spend the next day trying to come down off the high level of alert that I was on.  I don’t really know how my mind could confuse suburbia with Afghanistan but it pulled it off on more than one occasion.
Short tempered...with some things.  I get really pissed when I hear people waxing political about the state of affairs in Afghanistan.  I mean like murderously pissed.  I hear so much shit about pulling out and ending the war and yada yada yada.  
Do I want the war over, of course.  But I think the difference between the way that I feel about it and the way others (especially those who haven’t been, along with fobbits) is that the war and its costs are real to me.  The people of Afghanistan are real people to me.  I knew them, I gave them all those warm clothes you guys all sent me, I gave their children candy, I played with and took care of their dogs, I lived right along side them, I even paid one of them to help us tear down a building and construct a bridge over shit creek. (Remind me to tell you guys that story later.)
Hell, some of them I consider my friends.  But when I hear people hear talking about it, I can’t help but thinking to myself, “Hey Asshole, you do realize you are speaking about living and breathing human beings? People with families and lives and loves and all that shit, just like you! And if you had to live like they do you’d certainly want someone to come along and save your sorry ass.  However you live here so you can feel free to run your mouth all you want.  Oh and by the way, you’re welcome for that privilege.”
I have very little tolerance anymore for arrogance...wait more accurately ungratefulness.  Most Americans don’t realize nor do they ever even think about how fucking good they’ve got it.  Homes, money, cars, clothes...a country where you don’t have soldiers in the street.  You don’t have bombs at every corner.  You don’t have to contend with mortars on your way to work.  And all that sort of shit.  So any kind of ungratefulness gets me murderously pissed in a big hurry.
As yet, I have not ended anyone’s life.  Which is probably a good thing.
Oh! And do you ever see a time in your life that you might become a Cubs fan?
I could answer this with a long, drawn out diatribe about my hatred of all things Northside, but how about this instead...
where you'd like to live if the job was available there geographically.
I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but here.  Chicagoland is home to me.  Its what I know, its where my family is, and I don’t belong anywhere else.  I’ve lived all over the country and all over the world and without fail, no matter where I went, I couldn’t wait to get home.

and what we should do now in Afghanistan. or what we shoulda done. 
(this is a whole post unto itself.) which I’ll write very soon, but I gotta get organized.  Can’t shoot this one from the hip.

Love your writing!
Airman Mom
Do you have a desire to return to Afghanistan? 
I want to go back every single day.  It was the last place I’ve been where things made perfect sense to me.  Here, everything seems to be a gray area.  There, everything was a lot easier to make sense of.  Plus, the chore that is dealing with you standard spoiled, obnoxious, narcissistic American is something that makes me want to swim back!

Where do you see yourself in ten years? twenty years? 
I’m still trying to figure out exactly where I’m going to be in 10 days, or 10 minutes for that matter.  I got a lot of other things to sort out before I tackle those questions.  But I’m going to keep on working and going to school and serving until I get my mind right and then I’ll make a move or two.

Have you considered teaching as a profession? 
Actually yes, but History teachers are a dime a dozen and its hellaciously hard to get into teaching here in Chicago right now, unless of course I wanted to teach in the inner city which is probably just like Afghanistan if not worse. (Well that could kill two birds with one stone, get a new job and a good one, and go back to Afghanistan.  Or at least something similar.)

How did your visit with your dad go this week?  Good, I’d tell you about it, but that’s one of those things that I’m going to keep to myself.
How do you feel your life would have been different, had he been 'with you' growing up?
Another post all unto itself.

Write your own Eulogy.
Didn’t I do that already.

Write an acceptance speech for your nomination on any level of Political victory.
Not gonna happen...I would never run for office.  I could never kiss that much ass, nor could the soft ass American public deal with some of my no handouts!
Who is your best friend and why?  Don’t really have one.
If you could meet anyone in this world (alive), who would it be and why?
I’d want to meet any Spartan male.  I’d like to meet him at 7 and watch him till he was 18.
Give me a few minutes to think about this and I will come up with more...this just spilled from the top of my head. :)

Have you heard of this Website - Vantage Point. You might like to submit an "opinion". Alex Horton is a part of did you eat more than pizza last week? Did you go for a walk around the block?.....Looking forward to reading your replies to all the submitted questions.
- marian
Marian, I have heard of it.  Not quite sure how I feel about anyone signing up to be a cheerleader for the VA but if he can do some good for soldiers from there then all the best to him.
I have started working out and eating better.  Dropped 8 pounds this week alone, but that’s kinda like chipping an icicle off an iceberg.  Sure it weighs less but it doesn’t look any different.
OK...more questions (I'll save some for next time!!!)

What scares you?
I’m terrified of being buried alive.  Its just a thing with me.  About the only thing that makes me nervous is the idea that something may have passed me by, or I missed my shot.  I can’t help but want history to remember me.  Trouble is, I don’t think it will. 

Favorite Christmas memory...1999 or 2000 I was stationed in New Mexico, and the mom and my kid brother came down to visit for Christmas.  We ended up having Christmas dinner in their hotel room and opening presents there.  Just the three of us.  Best Christmas yet.

Since you are a Soldier...if you could step back in history, which conflict would you choose to be part of and why?
The American Revolution.  I’ve thought about this a lot.  Was going to give it a long drawn out, well crafted answer.  Then it dawned on me, I would want to be a part of that one because its the only American war that created something.

Should Marijuana be legalized?
Yep, without a doubt.  Cigarettes and booze are legal and are scientifically proven to be a lot worse for you than weed.  Its just a bunch of political, puritanical bullshit.

Would you rather have wealth, fame or romantic happiness?
Romantic happiness, the other two mean next to shit to me.

If you could go to lunch with anyone on Friday...who would you ask?
Living-Mickey Ward (Boxer) He’s the guy that new Mark Wahlberg movie is about.
Dead-My Dad.

If you had to be interviewed by one person, who would you choose?
Chet Coppock, legendary Chicago sports writer.  He’s about the only guy I can think of in the media that would throw me some real hard ass questions and be able to sort out all the bullshit.

When was the last time you cried?
When Buckets died...

OK....these may keep you busy for an afternoon :)

What advise would you give someone deploying to AF now?
Same as I always have...keep your head and ass down, keep your mouth shut and your eyes and ears open.  Its better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6, and the only mission you have over there is to bring you and all your boys home breathing.  Bottom line, don’t go looking for trouble.  Its going to come and find you soon enough.

I guess I'll have to read old posts and see WHY you aren't a Cubs fan. ???(It only hurts during baseball season...)
Well Wrexie, the fact of that matter is that if you are familiar with Chicago you will understand this reference...
Boys town and Dyke land hooked up and had a kid and they called it Wrigleyville.
I love you Mom...


  1. I've just recently discovered your blog and wanted to take a second to let you know how much I appreciate your honesty. It's refreshing, very interesting and you know what? The truth never, ever gets boring. Each post sheds just a little more light on what it was like to serve in Afghanistan and what it's like for you today. Your Q&A post I've just read is the perfect example of everything that I've just said in one freakin' blog post. It's priceless insight as far as I'm concerned...Keep it up and Thanks.

  2. good answers, strangely i have the same affection for the Vietnamese people that you have for the Afghans.

  3. Great job...I look forward to reading your follow-up(s) as well.

    I remember your Eulogy from many moons ago...just wondered if there was an updated version.

    I do wish you and your family a Blessed Thanksgiving.


  4. Was seated next to a soldier last week in a trng class at work who's leg shook nonstop and who never spoke to anyone..heard me talking mil to someone else. Later told me his 1st deployment is coming up -to AF. Volunteered. New MOS. So I talked to him awhile. I tried to help him with what I knew..but he left the next day.
    ...that's why I asked. Thanks for responding.

    Then there's the Cubs..haha you made me laugh today.
    looking forward to future posts..

  5. Thank you ! Thank you for answering all our nosy questions. We care about you, and love tapping into your wisdom.

    And Wrexie's comment made me think of my son. His leg giggled before he went to Afghanistan, but it drives his Captain nuts. So, now he is self conscious about it. Probably gets it from me. I figure it just burns more calories--which I desperately need to burn!

    We will be driving north three hours to spend Thanksgiving with our son's wife at Fort Sill. We love to spoil her while James is deployed. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And thanks again for answering our questions. Please keep writing.

  6. Mud Puppy,

    Haven't stopped by for a while but by your most recent post you seem to be perking right along. My son has been home from Iraq for about 18 months and still has PTSD symptoms. I am referring him to your blog for some good counseling! Just got done clipping my toe nails and it made me think of you getting a pedicure in the sand box. Funny how things stick with you. Had any pedicures since you got home!

    G-d Bless you,

    Pops @ Conservative Outrage

  7. when people asked me if I had bad dreams I'd say the same thing my dad told after he came home from Nam.

    "I had a dream I ate a giant marshmellow!

    I woke up and couldn't find my pillow."

  8. VirtuaMom checking in to make sure my SoldierSon is doing ok...been kinda quiet round here.
    Miss you.

  9. Just checking in....

    ...and would like to wish you a Merry Christmas!


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