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 26, 2010

I Am Ready To Meet My Maker...

Whether or not my maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

-Winston Churchill.

Alright Winston Churchill is now about my top rate, most favorite quote master of them all.  But a close second is Chuck Palahniuk, author of Choke, Lullaby, Survivor, and Fight Club just to name a few.

He said the following...

"All God does is watch us, and kill us when we get boring.  We must never, ever get boring."

I like that idea.  Why do I like it?  Pretty simply put, I hate the idea of a boring life.  However, after the last few years of my life I am beginning to wonder first of all what that means, and secondly is a non-boring life even a possibility in this society/culture we've created here in America today.

Just look at what we shoot for, or aspire to.  Everyone wants to grow up, get a good education, find a good job, work at it for 30 or 40 years and comfortably retire after we've raised our 2.5 kids, gone through our series of dogs every decade or so. 

Nowadays with the economy in the shitter and good, stable jobs not all that easy to come by you can see Americans in their boring way looking straight to their old Uncle Sam for help.  Extend my unemployment, craft hugely expensive legislation to create a job for me, pass another health care reform so that I don't have to do anything for myself.

Its all so terribly boring.

Gone are the days when things were left to be discovered, to be conquered, to be done.  Even our jobs are becoming the most mind numbing/boring things that could possibly be imagined.  We've gone from an economy where things were manufactured or produced, to an economy based on service jobs.  I would think (of course I don't know, because by the time I reached working age manufacturing was almost dead) that taking raw materials and then applying whatever process and turning them into something useful would be a pretty good way to spend a day.  Making something. 

Whereas now, there are more waiters than auto workers.

Life should have rights of passage.  Mine have been simple, basic training, college, marriage, divorce, combat, and the stunning realization that unless I do something about it the rest of my life (with little deviation) will be the same day in and day out for the next 30 years.  Pretty boring if you ask me.

And that boredom is a situation I shall have to remedy.  But how?

I think about that quote from Mr. Palahniuk all the time.  What if its not God that kills us when we get bored?  What if its our spirit that dies when you take away the goals?  Or the rites of passage?  Or maybe God does just zap us when he tires of watching us.

I don't know.  But I wonder if other soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines have the same issue with home as I do.  Is this or is this not some of the most God awful boring shit you have ever had to deal with after spending your time over there?

I spoke a while back about how the volume had been turned down on life by the war.  Well all I can wish for now is that I can find something...anything that could turn the volume back up.

Grip on reality slipping...

Later,

I love you Mom...

Mar 5, 2010

Netflix, Oh How I Hate Thee...

I can't think of one soldier that I know who wouldn't want to be Sgt. Will James.  They might say different, but everyone of us, deep down would love to walk right into the jaws of an IED and disarm it.  Every one of us would love to point a 9mm directly at a Haji's head and get his ass to back up.

Or at least that is what I'm thinking after watching the first few minutes of the Hurt Locker.  I was trying to avoid it.  But somewhere along the line I let this movie slip into my Netflix queue and it showed up in my mailbox yesterday afternoon.  Hence the title.

Why did I want to avoid it?  Well what self respecting soldier likes watching war movies?  Mental masturbation anyone? 

No soldier (at least ones that have been over there) really watches those movies for any kind of entertainment.  They watch them to find all the shit that the hollywood freaks did wrong, or they like to watch them with other people so they can talk about how horrible it was over there and what a badass they were, or they just watch them to see if all the hype is true and it really does take you back...

There it just happened..."Be smart, make a good decision."

Those were the words uttered by Sgt. Sanborn to the lowly Specialist Eldridge who had just seen an Iraqi with a video camera.  For those of you who don't know the Hajis like to videotape the bombs going off, and the GI's dying and all the carnage and put it on youtube or Jihad.com or wherever the hell they put 'em.  Maybe they send the tape along to Allah just to make sure he knows that he's gotta find 72 more virgins.  I don't know.

I always like those kind of orders.  They make sure that whoever gave them is pretty much in the clear if the person he gave them to screws up and splatters the gray matter of some "innocent" haji on the wall.

"Well sir, I told him to be smart and make a good decision, obviously he was neither."

"Going to war is a once in a lifetime experience (except nowadays, we get a whole bunch of deployments) it could be fun."  Well that's an epic quote from the Army shrink who I can only assume is meant to embody every POG that is or has been in Iraq and/or Afghanistan since the beginning.  I'm not even going to justify that quote with any kind of analysis other than...

As long as you are as sick and twisted as most of the soldiers I know, then he's absolutely right.

Random observation:  The young kid, the specialist that is with the EOD team.  When they are getting attacked by the sniper team and he is trying to clean the blood off the 50 cal rounds so they won't jam, he has a bottle of MRE tobasco sauce stuck into the molle hooks on his vest.  I kept my cigarette lighter there.  No big deal, just a matter of preference.  Who knows, maybe the kid's not a smoker.

Oops, now the kid went and killed someone.  Some haji was moving around in behind them and the kid saw him, told the Sgt about it, was told to "handle it" and he did.  10 or 12 rounds later there is one dead haji laying on the railroad tracks with a herd of goats standing around.  Nice place for a haji to die.

But how often is it going to be that cut and dry?  One bad guy, pointing a gun at you, you pointing it back, the two of you dance, and he loses.  I wish it was that easy.  If it was the wars would be over.

Now they just found the IED factory and the dead kid with his chest sewn up.  Doesn't take much to figure this one out.  Hajis slaughtered the kid because he was down with the Americans and they decided to turn his dead body into an IED.  I'll tell you what those hajis are quite an inventive bunch when it comes to hiding those bang bangs.

Well, I spoke too soon.  He pulled the bomb out of the kid and took his body out. 

I truly hated this part.  Remember that kid I told you about that we sent out to get some watermelon... 

Then somebody got Eldridge shot.  Or they might have shot him.  "We didn't have to go out looking for trouble so you can get your adrenaline fix you fuck."  That's what Eldridge said on the bird on his way out of Iraq.

"Every time we go out, we roll the dice, it's life or death."  That's what Sanborn says to James after some Iraqi gets blown up.  Pretty deep stuff there.  Haven't heard anything like that before.  Its only been said in one form or another about every single war since the beginning of time.  Hell that could refer to getting out of bed in the morning.

Cereal.  This one actually made me happy.  I said a few times that Afghanistan felt like another planet.  Which is true.  But there are times still now to this day, that I feel like I'm on Mars. 

Then he tells his wife about shit that's happening in Iraq.  Basically saying to her that he can't really function at home.  He needs to be out there where the action is.  I can understand that, American civilian life is exceedingly boring.  I think the famous Willie Sutton quote is accurate here (with some artistic license taken).  Why do you keep going to Iraq?  Because that's where the bombs are.

"The older you get the fewer things you really love.  With me, I think its one."  Those are the words that leave Sgt. James' mouth and meets his infant sons undiscerning ears.

And then he's back in Iraq for another tour. 

Did I like the movie?  Not so much.  I would have to think that any bomb tech that put his crew and other soldiers in that much danger would've been relieved of duty and sent for psychoanalysis.

Change of heart, so long as you can watch the movie for entertainment its pretty damn good.  Lots of explosions, lots of drama, some blood, some gore...all around a lot of fun.

The thing that bothers me about the whole movie is this...

I can't get around the fact that I would love to be Sgt. Will James.

Later,

I love you Mom...