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

Dec 20, 2011

1%ers...

“Everybody wants to support the troops until they have to share in the hardship and sacrifice,” I said. “Then all of a sudden that bumper sticker or that flag pin doesn’t mean anything anymore.” (Quoted from this ARTICLE)

Just got me to thinking. Of course, we all know where that leads. Oh and by the way, I think I am going to take and put to full use this time I have at work on the midnight shift to start writing again. I've got the time so hopefully they've got the money.

There are so many things that, if you were able to see the world through my eyes, would make you want to either puke or laugh. First thing I'm going to talk about is the whole "sharing" thing.

Americans don't do it well. Think about it for a few. When was the last time your neighbor swung by to borrow some sugar? Or when was the last time you drug your snow blower across the street to hit the driveway of the guy that doesn't have one? Or when was the last time you actually did something for charity? I'm not trying to get you riled up or piss you off...well maybe I am but whatever. The fact is that Americans once WERE the most generous people in the world. Now there's a very select few of the population that elect to give of themselves for the greater good.

They're the real 1%ers. Fuck the bikers. Bikers are like hipsters and high schoolers to me. "We want to show how non conformist and special we are by getting together and all doing the same things and wearing the same clothes." Absolute fucking brilliance.

I'm talking about the military and the fact that only about 1% of the population has served in the US military. There's statistics on this somewhere but I'm not about to go and dig them up, this isn't a term paper. So if I'm off by a couple points here or there, I'll betcha I'm pretty damn close. One out of every 100. Line up 100 people aged 18-35 and only one will step forward. Well a few more would step forward but they'd be found wanting for medical or mental health or what have you.

In any case, I think we should go to a Starship Troopers style society. The right to vote and hold public office should be reserved to those of us who served. Everyone else has all their rights, save for those two. In this day and age, with the stupidity/ignorance/lack o' common sense factor rising exponentially, I don't think that this is particularly unreasonable. Obnoxiously, I have created a society that benefits me. But hey, its a start.

So back to the beginning of all of this blather. "Everybody wants to support the troops until they have to share in the hardship and sacrifice." Its the truth. I've bitched about this before but truthfully speaking, what has America and the Americans in it (other than service members and their families) been asked to sacrifice? What hardship have they been asked to endure?

Now I could go on and on but the idea is pretty simple. All the hardship, sacrifice, work, blood, sweat and tears of the past decade have been borne and paid by 1% of the population. Everyone else has spent the past decade either at the mall or in front of their Xbox.

So what do we do about it? I've been asked about the whole compulsory service thing in the past and I'm not a big fan. In my mind it breaks down like this. I don't want to have to deal with soldiers that don't want to be there. It was hard enough dealing with the volunteers. The ones that signed up are a big enough pain in the ass, I can't imagine what the ones who were forced to be there would be like.

That's out.

What could be done to push people to pick up their share of the slack and pull their fair share of the weight?

Take something from them.

And make them earn it back, or live without it.

You want to pick your leaders? Earn it.
You want to be a part of the political process? Earn it.
You want to run for office? Earn it.
You want to have a say? Earn it.
You don't want to be told what to do by those above you? Earn it.

Its a thought.

Later,

I love you Mom...

P.S. (December, 21, 2011): I was thinking about what I had written, actually I was reminded (politely) by my girlfriend, that not everyone can serve in the military. A point I alluded to in the previous post. Some people for whatever reason, be it a medical issue or otherwise just simply cannot serve, and it is through no fault of their own.

Well one thing that a lot of people don't understand is that I don't think these posts through before I write them. That would actually defeat the purpose of writing them for me. I write for therapy and to get shit off my chest. So you'll have to forgive me if my arguments seem knee jerk and poorly thought out...mostly because they are.

Some cannot serve in the military, fine. Everyone can serve the country. There's the US Army, US Marines, US Air Force, and US Navy, US Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves, which are unavailable to some. So I say there should be an extra one. US National Service Corps. (or something like that) and they should be afforded all the same benefits accorded to the military. GI Bill, and all that good shit. The National Service Corps should be like a community college, they take everyone. Because with a component like that. I would like to see compulsory national service served by all kids in the US.

How about this, every single man and woman in the US (starting immediately) serves 3 years in some component of the National Service, military or otherwise and they are entitled to a 4 year college education courtesy of Ole' Uncle Sam. They'll be fed, housed, and paid (shit) for the duration of their service but when its over they've got a few years of maturity under their belt and they don't have to start their lives with a crushing student loan debt.

Think of the shit we could get done with a veritable army of dumb ass kids.

And rich kids gotta go too!!!

Dec 19, 2011

Another Day, another 16 hours...

That's what I'm right in the middle of doing right now. Working a 16 hour shift. Started at 10pm and it'll be over at 2pm...Good times.

Haven't written in a long time simply because who wants to listen to some disgruntled GI who hates the life he came back to, bitch about how full of rage he is most of the time? I mean really, who the hell would want to do that?

So what have I been doing? Working. I bought a house with my girlfriend and we moved in there. And that's about it. Oh, and I started going back to the shrink again to talk about my "issues" we'll see if he can make any headway. Because I certainly can't. They've got me taking Ambien and Wellbutrin for sleep and mood problems.

Sleep problems = I don't.
Mood problems = I have a piss poor attitude about life and I hate everything, and I'd just really like to pour gasoline over all of it and light it up.

Its been fun observing the assembly line that the VA is. Come in, sign in, wait your turn, tell your problems, sign the paper, pick up your medications.

Pretty simple process really and you're on your way out into the wild blue yonder with a fresh supply of government issued happy pills. I even manage to get pissed off because of the pills. I actually get mad at them because I resent the fact that I need to take them just to get close to being normal. Actually, normal isn't the word. I have to take them just to not be in a constant state of extreme rage. And yeah, I hate the fact that I need them just to do that.

Then there's the Ambien that they give me. Its nice, but not in the dose that they're giving me. They let me take a half a pill a night. Or actually in my case a day, because I work all night, and sometimes all day too. But half a pill won't do it. Now a whole pill, that works just fine. Knocks me out for the duration. I can even sleep through the dreams/nightmares on this shit. However, I am given enough to take a half every night, not a whole. Which means I've kinda got to pick and choose which 15 out of the next 30 nights I want to sleep, until I can get back to the psychiatrist and ask him for more. We'll see if he gives them to me or if he starts to think that I'm turning in to an addict. Which I probably would, if the VA would give me enough to pull that off.

Then there's my wonderful job which doesn't help any of this. I mean, I suppose this would be a bit easier if I had a regular, "normal" job. But I don't. I get locked in a cage for 8 hours per day with a bunch of child molesters, drug dealers, and other assorted animals. I'm pretty far down the seniority list so my days off normally suck. About the best I can usually do is get one day of the weekend off. Perhaps a Friday/Saturday or a Sunday/Monday. But an actual weekend is probably another 6-10 years away. Plus, every 3 months I have to change shifts, and change days off. With the random 16 hour day thrown in for good measure. Plus, I volunteered (big fucking mistake) for an extra duty that I thought at the time would help me get a different job (because when you do this, different and better become synonymous.) I normally end up working one day shift per week. So I get 4 midnight shifts and one, sometimes two day shifts. Oh yeah, this is going to be wonderful for my sleep and my mood. My circadian rhythm or whatever the fuck they call that is going to be shot to shit.

Now I'll bring up the end with the thing that pisses me off the most. The thing that drives me absolutely fucking bonkers. And unfortunately for me and everyone around me its something that I hear over and over from so many different people that it makes me sick. I hear it from my mom, my brother, my aunt, my cousins, some friends (if I have any left), and my girlfriend.

"I understand"

I swear to God they say it just to drive me nuts.

I'll bitch about something, anything. And invariably somewhere in there, they say "I understand"

Fuck you! You don't understand. You can't understand because you weren't there with me. Maybe I am bitching about something that's going on here but do you understand that my head and my heart are in Afghanistan? No, you don't fucking understand that shit because while I was hip deep in Taliban shit and Afghani sand you were bouncing around here doing whatever the fuck. You think that I'm whining about things going on here, when I'm actually whining about the fact that I'm not with my buddies which is where I belong. You think I get this mad over shit that happens here, I'm mad because I know that there's guys over there right now that are hitting an IED. They're getting lit up from the mountaintop. They're dealing with another fucking round of rockets at night. And I'm letting another day slip away when I do nothing of value.

But I'm supposed to be nice and polite about it. They don't mean anything by it. They're just trying to help. So I bottle it up the best I can. Which isn't very well since I spend about 85-90% of my time seething with rage and hate.

So now I'm stuck. I've got my rage on one side and my hate on the other. And the only thing that can yank me out from between them is that stupid fucking pill that I'll take when I get home in the morning...oh wait, I shan't be home till the afternoon.

People have asked me why I stopped writing. I stopped writing because you don't want to hear this shit anymore than I want to write it.

To hell with it, I'll be following it forthwith.

Later,

I love you Mom...

Aug 4, 2011

Everyone, CALM. THE. FUCK. DOWN. I got this...

The longer that I'm nuts, the more fun it becomes for me...

I know that's probably not the most healthy attitude in the world to have about my particular set of problems. But I just can't seem to help myself.

I swing back and forth, going from depressed to maniacally happy, to tired, to not being able to sleep for days. To taking a sleeping pill or 7 and sleeping for 14 hours and damn near missing work. I don't drink all that much, not because I'm averse to drinking, its mostly because I don't want to miss a minute of the lunacy!

Try explaining that to people! They'll probably want to have you committed. 

Try explaining half of what goes on in my head to anyone and after a few minutes they're going to decide that I'm so far off the deep end that I can't even see the bottom anymore. Which is pretty much fine with me.

Try explaining to people that the reason you hate the everyday mundane details of life is that you spent an entire year where pretty much every thought you had, every step you took, every word you uttered, every breath you drew, every bite you ate, could be your last. And not in the existential, modern day bullshit way that yeah I know everyone could be dead in the next moment but the fact is its not that likely. What I went through it was a distinct possibility and in the lion's share of my time a likely outcome.

Now people look at you cross-eyed when you tell them that you want to ride a bull. And that you want to run with the bulls in Spain. That you've generally got a psychotic need to follow in Ernest Hemingway's footsteps. Now he was a man if there ever was one.

Basically, it breaks down like this. I've spent all my time from the end of "that" until now trying to recapture that feeling. That state of mind. Its a wonderful thing. Every emotion was perfectly felt. The terror was perfect, the happiness was perfect, the calm was perfect, the longing was perfect, the sadness, the insanity, all of it...Perfect.

Slept like the dead.
Ate like a King.
Laughed like I was dying.
Loved like there wasn't another person in the world.
Thought, like a 9mm was about to find out if I could breath through my forehead.
Wrote like the page was my life and the ink was my blood.

And I don't understand why everyone seems to want me to stop trying to get those feelings back. I come back here to this soulless, lifeless, bloodless society and I wonder who's the crazy one?

Everything here is geared to increase comfort. Increase ease. Make your life easier. Compromise. Back down. Don't rock the boat. Don't make things hard. That's the mantra I keep hearing over and over again.

Get over these feelings you're having so you can get back to having a normal life. Hear that one all the fucking time. And I'm sick of it. I don't think that I'm the crazy one. I think you're the crazy one! You're the one who wants me to voluntarily give up my life and become another zombie. Go along to get along you tell me. Well I don't want to.

I want those perfect feelings back. Good or bad I felt those things from the top of my skull to the bottoms of my feet and from the base of my brain to the bottom floor of my soul. I want to run out into the world and find something, anything that will make me feel like that again. I want something, anything that will consume me to the point where I can be 100% in the moment. Something, anything that will remind me that I'm alive and that I may not be for much longer.

They say that I'm nuts because I embrace something as morbid as death. I don't embrace it, just so you know. I welcome it as a natural part of life. Something we're all going to do. Nothing to be afraid of, just the next rung in the ladder. Up or down, I haven't quite figured that part out yet. But I'm working on it. All it is to me is another chance to have those perfect feelings again...don't worry, I'm not going to rush it along.

Well, the prevailing wisdom here is that death is something to be avoided at all costs. With as much medical care as possible and as many pills as we can toss down your throat and on and on. Have you seen a hospice ward in a hospital? I have. Death is sweet mercy to those imprisoned there. I can only pray that when they shake off this mortal coil that they have that one moment of perfect feeling.

Over and over, I'm told that I have to compromise, that I have to moderate my thoughts and my actions to conform to the status quo that's been thrust upon me. I'm told that I can't live a good life thinking the way that I do.

The longer I'm nuts...the more certain I become that its you who is crazy.

So CALM. THE. FUCK. DOWN. I got this.

Later,

I love you Mom...

Jul 5, 2011

Can't Sleep, Funny story time...

First off, I don't know what's going on in my bowl o' crazy that is my brain but it bought you a funny story and some societal commentary so here we go...

Societal commentary:

The next douche that gets in front of me in line. Any line. Grocery store, gas station, McDonalds, Lobotomy...it doesn't matter. Who pays for anything that costs less than $5 with a credit/debit card is getting set on fire in a dumpster somewhere!

Get some fucking money! And stop holding up the line. Its kinda like those assholes back in the day who would pay for a candy bar with a check!

Funny story:

Waltzing through the grocery store this afternoon (where do you think I got the commentary from?) And a little boy and his father are walking down the cereal aisle as I peruse the Rice Crispies and Count Chocula and the following exchange took place...

Boy: Daddy, do you have to work tomorrow?
Dad: Yep, its a weekday so I have to work.
Boy: Daddy, do you have to work every week day?
Dad: Pretty much, yeah.
Boy: Why? Mommy doesn't have to work everyday!
Dad: That's why I have to work everyday son.

Its these little occurrences in my day to day life that make it bearable! Gotta love that Dad!


Anyway, later.

I love you Mom...

Jul 3, 2011

God Bless Mitt Romney...

Besides the fact that his name is Mitt. Which is funny enough all by itself and he's a Mormon which just locks and loads all cannons as far as religious jokes are concerned, he said this

“It’s time for us to bring our troops home as soon as we possibly can, consistent with the word that comes to our generals that we can hand the country over to the Taliban military in a way that they’re able to defend themselves. Excuse me, the Afghan military to defend themselves from the Taliban.”

Thank you so much Mitt. I have a feeling that this presidential race is going to be absolutely hilarious.

Jun 28, 2011

Funny Story...

So I was driving to work this morning.

As I pulled out of the driveway of my apartment building, I apparently startled a flock of birds.

At this point the entire flock of birds jumped up and flew right across the hood of my car.

Unfortunately, one of these birds misjudged his altitude.

He flew right in the open window of my car and smashed face first into the closed passenger window.

After the aforementioned avian/automobile collision, the bird laid lifeless on my passenger seat.

To which I exclaimed, "Oh fuck me, I've got a dead bird on my seat!"

At which point the bird started to move. He then jumped up to his little feet and began to look around.

First at me.

Then at the passenger window.

Then at me, then at the window, at me, at the window...you get the idea.

I couldn't help but say to the little bird, "Ya alright?"

If I didn't know better I'd swear that the look he gave me said, "Yeah, I know I lost it there for a minute but I've got it back. Thanks."

Then he proceeded to do the tennis match look around from me to the window for a few more seconds.

Now here, I'm hearing this bird whispering in my head, "Can I get a little help here big guy? How about running that window down so I can get back to doing birdie things and you can get to that life sucking, soul killing job of yours!"

"Whoops, sorry bud. Here ya go. Let me get that for ya!"

I moved my finger from the wheel to the button for the passenger window and gave it a push. (Thank goodness for toll windows.)

A few more looks back and forth and the little birdie flew right out my passenger window.

And does it make me completely nuts that on the last look I swear I heard the little bird say, "Thanks pal, you be good now."?????

Later,

I love you Mom...

Jun 21, 2011

Dad Quits Job to Watch Son Pitch for South Carolina in the College World… - BroBible.com

Everyone should have a dad like this!

Dad Quits Job to Watch Son Pitch for South Carolina in the College World… - BroBible.com

Nothing Gets Done Until Someone Starts Moving...

Its a simple truth. Motion is life. In life, when something stops moving its dead.

Think about it. When you're sleeping, your blood is flowing, your heart is pumping, your brain is firing, your lungs are breathing. And that's about as close to immobile as people get prior to taking their dirt nap.

Now we can debate the philosophical idea of movement equals life till we're blue in the face but that's not what I'm writing this for.

I'm writing this for myself and for all my fellow brother and sister veterans who have and are dealing with the same shit that I'm dealing with.

PTSD in my case has led to a few things that are a royal pain in the ass. Listlessness, idleness, a general fear of running into any triggers which leads me to hide out in my apartment. PTSD is the catalyst for depression, and depression leads to sleeping alot, or in my case not sleeping much. But it would seem that if you didn't sleep much you would have a lot of time to get things done. Given that you've got 8 extra hours a day! But that's not the case, what happens is you spend all your time sitting on the couch watching TV and eating chips and shit. Or maybe you play video games...however in my case the video games start to wear on you because most of them are combat games. Which I don't have much interest in. For obvious reasons.

Thin and thick of it is this, and I imagine that a lot of my fellow soldiers felt this way upon returning home, after the honeymoon wears off you run into a general malaise that if left alone can come to dominate your life.

In my case it did.

Which sucks!

Now it came to dominate not only my mind, but my job, my social life, my family life, my education, my everything. 

Well that's just not going to fly.

But something as simple as can be can change your outlook on things.

Nothing will get better until you start moving. Moving against this thing that is destroying you from the inside out. Moving against everything trying to hold you back. Moving against everyone who hasn't helped, or can't help. Moving. Period.

Get up, get out, do something, do anything. Stop voluntarily wasting your life. Take up the guitar, start writing, don't worry if anyone reads it, just write it. Clean your apartment, stay off the fucking internet, confine Facebook and all that shit to an hour or two a day. Which is probably too much. Buy a bike, motorcycle or pedals, join a club, join a league, get off your fucking ass and do something.

You'd be amazed at just how much better one can feel when they've spent the day moving as opposed to hiding from the world and staring at the walls.

Regardless of the problem, PTSD, TBI, crabs, unemployment, AIDS, cancer, homelessness, debt, war, or anything...Nothing gets done until someone starts moving!

Later,

I love you Mom...

NFL lockout: why I'm rooting for no pro football this year - chicagotribune.com

An interesting counterpoint to Christian's take on the NFL Lockout.

NFL lockout: why I'm rooting for no pro football this year - chicagotribune.com

2nd Annual "Support Our Veterans" Pub Crawl

Something that if you're in the Chicagoland area you should definitely try out!

2nd Annual "Support Our Veterans" Pub Crawl

The Art of Manliness | Men’s Interests and Lifestyle

Another one that all the boys should see. And girls if you want a little insight into how our brains work, this might help. Then again, it might not...because you are in fact, Nucking Futs!

The Art of Manliness | Men’s Interests and Lifestyle

theCHIVE

Definitely something that everyone should see...especially the guys!

theCHIVE

Jun 17, 2011

NFL Owners Don't Care About Red People...

Welcome. I am glad you got to read this. First off, if you are one of the five people who actually read this blog, then I will be a familiar ‘character’ in some of MudPuppy’s prior posts. I am known in digital print as ‘Spray Tan,’ a name I cannot stand. I was given this horrible moniker because of my ability to tan quickly and very dark. It is in my heritage. Well, Mr. MudPuppy (who has the complexion of a bowl full of mashed up egg shells) accused me of smuggling spray bronzer into Afghanistan to maintain my tone. I think he was chewing on too much of what the locals imbibed constantly. But I digress. He and I had a very special relationship (and no, not in that DADT way…). He would insult me, and I give it right back. Still happens almost daily. Even when he is at home trying to decide which socks are clean, dirty, and which ones should be deposited in the biohazard bin at the local hospital. We still get our daily jabs in one way or another.

I don’t like to talk about politics (M-P will classify me as a Glenn Beck loving conserve-a-tron, which is not true, I am HIGHLY moderate), religion or anything of the sort. I am a big sports guy. I enjoy talking about sports.

This damn NFL lockout is really irritating me. The issue at hand is that the owners and the players cannot make an agreement on a new contract. The Owners are making record profits and are not supplementing the income of the players like they should. But whatever. I don’t care if they pay Joe Quarterback 12 million a year to sit on the bench or 1 million. I could care less. I just want them to play.

Sundays during football season are my favorite days of the week. I enjoy watching the games, doing fantasy football, and chatting about the games at work on Monday. It makes me very happy. If I can’t get away from my shitty life for one day and have a beer and watch my favorite sport, I am going to be very whiny, and you don’t want to see me whiny. So, NFL owners and players, please get your crap together and salvage this season. Otherwise my girlfriend is going to be very upset with me, and I won’t sleep well on the couch…for 16 weeks.

DOGSPEED.

Looking For Contributors...

I figure that its about time that we get some opinions and words other than my own.

If you have anything you would like to say, please let me know and I'll get you registered as a contributor.

Let's hear it from the peanut gallery!

Thanks,

I love you Mom...

The Death of Macho | NewAmerica.net

I'm blogging this article because I'm working on something. I want to know what everyone thinks about the current state of gender politics. Sexism, Men Vs. Women that sort of thing. I'm working my way through a book called "Manning Up" and going to write about it.

Just want to take the pulse of this topic before I do. Don't worry, regardless of response...I'll do it anyway.

The Death of Macho | NewAmerica.net

Jun 15, 2011

Quote of The Day...

I can tell you with absolute sureness, though, that if you choose safety over the potential risks that come along with choosing freedom, you will never be truly fulfilled in your life. You will always think in the back of your mind that you have missed out on something “special” about life. And as you get older, not only will your willpower to turn things around weaken and eventually vanish altogether, your regret will deepen and your heart will sigh with heaviness and sorrow.

Jun 13, 2011

The Joyous Art of Insomnia...

I don't know if its particularly accurate to call insomnia an "art" but I think that over the course of that past few months if it were possible to develop something like insomnia into an art form, then I have most certainly done it!

I remember a while back when I was either on my way home from the suck or I had just gotten home I wrote a post about how the volume on life had been turned down. How not much of what qualified as problems in the states meant much of anything to me anymore.

Now insomnia has struck! Is it from the war or from PTSD? I don't know, but probably.

Insomnia, if looked at from the proper perspective can be quite funny.

I do believe that on my way home from work the other day I saw a pink deer run out in front of my car.

If I try to focus on an object for more than a few seconds my eyes start to rattle back and forth like a guitar string that has just been strummed.

My American attention span, which was limited to begin with, is even shorter now. So I'm basically in dire need of some ritalin.

However, my ability to lie still, in a bed, with my eyes closed, in a dark room, without moving is unparalleled. I can do that for upwards of four hours at a time without falling asleep.

My balance is fun to watch. I don't know if its from the lack of sleep but when I get up from a bed or a chair it usually takes me about 5-10 seconds now to actually have my balance. In the meantime I do a W.C. Fields sway and try not to fall and bust my ass.

Sleep for me is normally limited to a few restful periods (not sleeping) and perhaps an hour or two of actual sleep a night before something comes alive inside of me and will not let me sleep no matter how hard I try.

My body fought through the consumption of an entire bottle of NyQuil without falling asleep.

My body fought through 9 Tylenol PM's without falling asleep.

My body has fought through regular, average every-day living for 3 days without sleeping.

While impressive, those feats of will were not at all intentional.

Now back to what I was talking about before, the volume being turned down on life and problems in the states not mattering all that much to me. That was a nice way for things to be. You could walk up to me when I got home, smacked me in the face and pissed on my boots and...well I would've kicked your ass into the middle of next week but I would've done it with a smile on my face and I wouldn't have even gotten riled.

Nothing could faze me for those first few months home. I was truly Embracing the Suck. That's when I wrote that post about using those words as a philosophic pillar in my life. Nothing at all could get my blood pressure up. I was impervious to pretty much anything.

Then I kinda stopped sleeping.

At first it was sporadic. I wouldn't sleep for a night or two, then I'd knock off for about 14 hours and I'd be fine.

Then it got a bit worse, I'd end up awake for 3 days or so and then I'd be able to sleep for maybe 3 or 4 hours which I suppose kept me from actually having a psychotic break.

Now I'm at the stage where I don't sleep for about 4 days but I do manage to catch about an hour here and there, plus I do the whole zombie thing of laying in the bed for hours at a time, perfectly still with my eyes closed and just lie there.

This not healthy nor is it particularly fun. Not to mention the fact that I'm starting to have some Nightmare on Elm Street type micro-naps. I don't know of any other way to characterize them. I'll be sitting at my desk at work or at home or sometimes even in the fucking car and just out of no where my eyes will kinda flutter and then I go blank for a few seconds.

That's it, blank. Nothingness. I don't remember any of it. I remember hearing that if you have insomnia sooner or later your body has to shut down and rest itself. I remember them being called micro-naps on Nightmare of Elm Street. So that's what I call them.

Now its not the constant nagging exhaustion that bugs me about this. Its not the sore muscles and bones from not ever truly resting them, its not the pretty much unending dull headache that I always have. None of that really bothers me anymore. You'd be amazed at what you can actually get used to.

What is killing me about all of this is the fact that while my experiences in AssCrackIstan turned the volume down on the world. This insomnia shit is turning it right back up, and sending the decibels into the stratosphere.

In any case, I can't let the simplest things go now. Things that used to just roll off now stick in my craw for days and days. Things that used to not even register now send me into a psychotic rage. Things that might have made me slightly perturbed are now causing me to wallow in anger and hate for days, sometimes a week or more.

But I'm not here to bitch about what's happening to me. What I want to know is what can I do about this shit? Anyone got any suggestions to knock my ass out? I'd give my left nut to sleep for 6 hours straight right now!

But that's what's happening in Mud Puppy land.

We'll be moving on tomorrow.

Later,

I love you Mom...

Jun 7, 2011

Mr. Weiner's Weiner...

First and foremost I'd like to thank Anthony Weiner (D-NY) for the seemingly endless amount of entertainment he has been providing me with for the past week or so.

Funny Picture Break...


Now I thought that a story such as this, with its obvious humorous potential, and its complete and utter lack of substance (in my mind) I thought it needed to be embraced here at ETS.

Let's just recap the thin and thick of what I'm writing about here.

1. Weiner tweeted a picture of his weiner.
2. To some broad he was trying to bang.
3. He got busted.
4. Women came out of the woodwork to accuse him of sending them dirty text messages (check out the transcripts) and pictures and what not.
5. He apologized.
6. That's about it.

Now let's start with number one. You've pretty much got to be an epic weiner to tweet a picture of your weiner in the first place. (Anyone picked up on my joy at using the word "weiner")

Number 2. Do I fault the guy for trying to do the hippity dippity with some woman? Nope, not in the slightest. It seems to me that if this guy wants to galavant around town knocking down every piece of strange he can find that's fine with me. So long as its fine with the women.

Here's where this thing gets sticky for me. My opinion of #2 is contingent upon one fact. That the Weiner is question is single, unattached, NOT MARRIED.

But this Weiner is a married Weiner.

Interesting aside: According to a USA TODAY article, 30% of New Yorkers think its common for politicians to send lewd pictures of themselves over the internet! (Click here if you think I'm kidding. ARTICLE)

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not above sending a dirty picture or two to my significant other. (She doesn't mind.) Nor am I above looking at your random dirty picture on the internets. I mean c'mon, I'm a guy and a soldier to boot. I've seen a few naked women in my life.

Here's the question I have. What in the blue hell was this chump thinking? How could he not think this was going to blow up in his face?

I can only imagine how the conversation that led to the picture being posted went.

Weiner: I told you I'm a congressman!
Woman: No you're not!
Weiner: No really, I am. I'll tell you what, just think of something that only Anthony Weiner could do and I'll do it to prove I'm a congressman.
Woman: Okay, put a picture of your junk on twitter so I can see what you're working with.
Weiner: Way ahead of you, I already got the picture. I'll be posting it in a minute!

I mean really, how else could that one have gone?

Either way, if nothing else the way this whole thing has played out says a few things about good ole' Mr. Weiner. He's either a complete moron, or he is easily one of the most arrogant little shits on the face of the earth.

In any case, this is not a man who should be making laws.

Why Mud Puppy?

I'll tell ya why. Here's a guy who has been given a position of great power. A man who has the public trust.

Woops, there it was that evil word for politicians. TRUST. Now you could ask any woman on the planet whether what this Weiner did is cheating and you may even find a few who think there's nothing wrong with what he did. However, every man who reads this knows that he may not have actually physically cheated, he was well on his way. No one sends a woman a picture of his junk without the expectation that depending on her reaction to said photo, she may be willing to let you put said junk into...nevermind.

But you get what I'm saying. The problem for Mr. Weiner is that there's a Mrs. Weiner. Still can't quite figure out why she would marry him. I mean if I were a woman and I knew that my name would one day be Weiner I'd be running to find some guy named Gaylord or something. But I digress.

In any event, the trust issue still remains. He broke a bond. And with more than one woman. Not like its okay even once, but ya know you can kinda get over one indiscretion, but not a whole bunch. One indicates a lapse in judgment, a bunch of them is habitual.

Here's another point I have to make about these rich and powerful guys. I don't get why they get married. I really don't. Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, and now The Weiner. It doesn't make any sense. The fact of the matter is this, women love rich and powerful men. There's no way around it. Women throw themselves at men who have a lot of cash, and they throw themselves at men who run shit!

So I don't get it. What's the point of getting married if you're just going to use your money and power to knock down every skank that crosses your path? It just doesn't make any sense to me. If Tiger Woods or Bill Clinton or this Weiner had done what they did but done it when they were single no one would've really cared. And there would've been no reason to lie about it.

Weiner could've got up there and said, "Hey, I'm a Representative in congress. I run shit. I make a ton of money and yeah, I decided to try and get me a piece of ass! What of it?" He could've said that if he were single.

But he's not single. He's a married man. As such, in my humble opinion. If he's willing to throw his junk around when he's got Mrs. Weiner waiting for him at home and he's willing to destroy her and his family for some chick, then what does it say about us if we are willing to tolerate this kind of bullshit?

That's just my opinion, and I could be wrong.

Anyway,

I love you Mom...

May 30, 2011

The Battle In The Brain...

So, as you already know, I've been taking some happy pills and talking to a shrink lately. Its been helping. Obviously not as much as I would have liked since the only thing they could've done that would have satisfied me was give me a magic shot and it was all over and better. I mean the mom helped out with her magic bullet, but its not a permanent fix.

I told the shrink about the war going on in my head and he asked me who was winning. I told him, "The wrong side" He couldn't help but chuckle. You know when you get in those shrink's offices its a very uncomfortable place. I mean we're talking about government shrinks not those high priced private ones.

In any event this guy is pretty much an authority on PTSD. I'd put him as an expert for no other reason than he's a shrink at the VA. I think he sees a few more PTSD cases than your average shrink. After all the review of what I had told all the different doctors up to this point and we went over mine and his biography, we got down to the nitty gritty and started talking about the war.

Where were you? How many times did you take fire? How many IED's were you involved in? How often did you take indirect fire? How many in your company were killed or wounded? You know the usual.

During the course of the conversation we got to two things that really jumped out and grabbed me by the throat as what's been happening to me.

(Shrink's words, not mine) Emotional Numbness, and Disconnection. Followed by a general malaise characterized by not being able to find meaning in your civilian life.

Well. Talk about hitting the nail on the head. Blam!!! He nailed it. I suppose there are other symptoms and shit, but for the most part that is exactly what's been bugging me.

Being disconnected is pretty much why my writing fell off to nothing shortly after I came home. Even writing this is kinda me forcing it. I mean how can you really connect back with all these people and all the things here after you did that shit for a year?

Roads are paved...but something inside of me is still bouncing down a dirt road in AssCrackIstan.
Wal-Mart is open...but I still think about guys in the shithouse PX in Waza Khwa.
Beer is cold...but there is no booze in Afghanistan.
I turn on the AC...and remember how hot it is in the summertime.
I feel the comfort and warmth of my bed...and remember sleeping on the ground, or the hood of a truck, or cramped in the truck, or...you get the idea.

Its kinda hard to connect...er, reconnect when something inside is pulling you away all the time. Its a constant wrestling match to keep my brain here, where it needs to be. When, frequently, and normally at the most inopportune moments my brain has flown away to southeastern Afghanistan for an afternoon trip.

Well, we haven't quite made it to sorting that out just yet. It'll come. Right now I'm happy to say that the happy pills are taking the edge off. They haven't quite done what I hoped they would do. Which is magically cure this, overnight. But they are having a noticeable effect. Talking about it helps to a point. I just wished that I had someone around who knew what the fuck I was talking about. But I'll take what I can get.

Then he laid a few other fun things on me. He wants me to go in for a sleep study because I don't sleep well. He's wondering if lack of sleep is causing a lot of this. I told him that he's brilliant and should immediately win the Nobel Prize for figuring that one out. But then he explained to me that sleep has a huge effect on mood and cognitive functioning and energy levels. Once again, Brilliant! But he went on to say I was a prime candidate for sleep apnea. Wonderful. Now I'm going to have to be hooked up to some machine and sleep while people from the VA watch me! That won't be uncomfortable at all...

So that's it. That's where I'm at right now. It sucks that this doesn't move along quickly at all! Gets on my last damn nerve. But I started this and now I have (for my own sake) to finish it.

Plus he told me to get a hobby to start occupying my mind during down time. Too much time to think is a bad thing he says. (I told you he's flipping brilliant) So I went and bought a guitar. Gonna learn how to play that. I'll let you know how that goes...

Later,

I love you Mom...

May 19, 2011

Have you ever thought about harming yourself or someone else?

Well, I've been away for quite a while. Not exactly sure how long but I know I've gotten more than a few emails, comments, and pokes reminding me that I haven't written anything in a long time.

But oh so much has happened since then. First things first gotta talk about Bin Laden getting croaked. Now was I ecstatic when Bin Laden got offed? The puritan in me was certainly excited. I mean he was the guy who was, by his own admission, responsible for 9/11. So when they gave him his two in the head I was pretty stoked.

Now the realist in me was a bit more docile. I mean, one life for 3,000 or whatever it was that died in the world trade center. Or you could look at it from a completely different point of view and say that vengeance was already had when we went into Afghanistan, totally fucked up the Taliban's world, kicked them out of power, and sent the country into 10 years of war. That's my personal way of looking at it. See I am not the kinda person who believes in measured response, or in the inherent fairness of the world or the people in it. For lack of a better term, I like the idea of using a nuclear missile to kill a mosquito!

So anyway, now that I've said my peace about that. What else has been going on? I don't know if you all knew about this but I've been diagnosed with PTSD by the wonderful VA hospital near my home. So that was fun. Answering the same questions over and over again from 5 different people was fun.

Case worker, social worker, counselor, and psychiatrist.

Okay, so I guess I only had to answer the same questions 4 times. The funny part of the whole thing was, one of the questions they always ask. Without fail, always ask is...have you ever thought about harming yourself or someone else? and they do not respond well when you tell them that if you ask me that one more time I am very likely to try and kill someone, most likely you!

Alright, so that's probably not the best response to that question, and fear not. I didn't actually say that but I thought it in my head at least 4 times. One for every person asking me.

Then after all was said and done, my evaluations were over and they were deciding on a treatment plan for me...here take 1/2 this pill daily and we'll call you in three weeks to see how you're doing.

Me: What? That's it? All of that, just to hand me some happy pill? And then when I get it, I only get to take half? What the mother fuck is that? Excuse me, but I'd like to actually get better. I'd rather not hide my bullshit behind some zombie making happy pill!

Them: Oh, well in that case, we'll get you signed up for this PTSD education class. It'll teach you all about the symptoms, and causes of PTSD.

Me: Lady, are you serious? If I've got the fucking thing why do I need someone to teach me about the symptoms? I'm living them everyday. And as far as the causes are concerned, I've got a pretty good grip on where they're coming from. So do you think it would be at all possible to do something that might actually have some sort of discernible effect on the problems that I'm having?

Them: We'll let you know when an individual counselor or psychiatrist becomes available. In the meantime you can visit your local Vet Center. A nurse will contact you via phone in a few weeks to see if you are having any trouble with the medication.

Good times at the VA.

That's what's been happening in Mud Puppy land. I'm trying real hard to maintain my sense of humor, and my sanity. I'm just not succeeding as much as usual.

Anyways,

Later,

I love you Mom...

Mar 30, 2011

The Magic Bullet...

So lately I’ve been having some anger issues. I didn’t really think all that much of it at first. I pretty much ignored it and I was fine with that, because well I’m a guy and that’s what we do. We ignore our problems. Particularly our emotional ones.

However, after a little while my girlfriend started to notice and being that she is a female and completely incapable of letting me wallow in my own stupidity, she started to get on me about it.

I can’t complain. She just wanted me to be happy and I can’t say that I’m pissed about that. Having a woman around who is genuinely concerned about making me happy is quite an advantage to have. Most guys I know have got a woman who thinks that so long as she’s happy, then he is to. But that’s a post for another time.

Anyway, I started to think increasingly about my anger. Where the hell was it coming from? What is causing this? Blah, blah, blah.

No answers. I mean there’s always the old stand by of “its the war, man” which in some cases is kinda nice due to the fact I can blame Afghanistan for any little twitch I decide to have. Makes being a moody motherfucker a bit easier.

So after a few weeks of not being able to come up with anything resembling a solution and totally pissing off this wonderful woman who is graciously putting up with my shit, I decided to go for the throat with this problem.

I called the MOM.

I know, I know, say what you will about a 32 year old man who still goes straight to his mother with his problems. I don’t care because she is in fact, the magic bullet!

So she called one night and I laid it all out for her. The job, my life in general and all that I thought was pissing me off and turning me into a Styx song.

She listened patiently, gave me some audible feedback here and there to let me know she hadn’t fallen asleep, and when I was done she threw it right back at me.

You know, the past few years you haven’t been yourself. You know you’ve been dealing with so much and you’ve become someone you’re not. You are trying all these anger management techniques and you went to see some hippy shrink that didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground and you keep trying to find all these soft, lifeless solutions to your problems.

That’s not you kid. Never has been. You remember when you were a kid and you were still in diapers?

No, mom I don’t seem to remember that.

Well, you went out to play one day in your diaper and the kids in the neighborhood made fun of you because you were a baby and wearing a diaper. You came in that day and told me that you weren’t going to wear diapers anymore. I told you that you had to go in the potty like a big boy and you said that was okay, so long as you didn’t have to wear diapers anymore. And from that day forward you never wore a diaper again. You see what I’m talking about?

Nope, sorry mom, not getting it at all. (And I’m kinda chuckling at the fact that I got to use the word “potty” and the phrase “big boy” in this post.

Okay, you don’t do soft solutions. You like to fight. You always have. Its just who you are. You need someone or something to fight against. It gives you purpose. It gives you a reason. It sorts the world out for you. You look at the world and you see friend and foe. Whether it be your job, your anger, or anything else for that matter. You make a decision, good or bad, right or wrong, and you run with it. Except lately you haven’t been that guy anymore.

Its simple, you’re not made to think any other way. Most people want peace in their minds. And you do too. The difference is that there is only peace in your mind when there is something to fight against. When there is a war to be won. Otherwise, you’re just drifting, you have no purpose and that makes you crazy...and angry.

So figure out what you’re going to fight. Figure out who or what the enemy is. And then kill it. Then find the next one. That’s how you are going to find peace.

Nice.

Thanks Mom.

Worked like a charm.

Magic bullet.

I love you Mom...

Feb 22, 2011

Fuck Wisconsin...

So anyone with a pulse has probably heard about the big doings up there in Cheese land.

Basically, the thin and thick of it is this.  Wisconsin's governor wants to save some cash.  About 300 million bucks over the next two years or so.  And he plans to do this by pretty well destroying the public employee unions in Wisconsin.

Now before I get into any of this a short disclaimer.  I am a union employee.  I do work for a government agency.  I am a proud union supporter and I do faithfully pay my dues, through payroll deduction every two weeks.

So, there's that.  Now why Mr. Walker (Governor of Wisconsin) has taken aim at the public employee unions is simple.  They're an easy target.  Their pensions, their benefits, their pay scales.  Which are all things that can be skewed one way or the other depending on who is using the statistics and what they're using the statistics for.

He wants a few concessions from the unions that he has already said, repeatedly that he is not willing to compromise on.  He wants an end to the ability of public employee unions to collectively bargain.  He wants larger contributions to pensions from public employees.  And he wants a larger contribution from public employees to their health care costs.

In exchange, he won't lay off any workers and he won't force furloughs onto workers who aren't laid off.

Kind of seems to me like he's pointing a .45 at a puppy and saying, "do what I want or fluffy gets one in the head."

In addition you'll notice that Mr. Walker left the police and firefighters unions out of this whole mess.  Purely a political move if you ask me.  How would it look to have a bunch of public heroes crying poor because the governor wanted to save a few bucks?

First of all, and this is a biggie with me.  It boggles my mind why someone is allowed to attack these unions without being willing to give up anything himself.  I'll bet Wisconsin has a very generous pay package for the governor.  I'll bet that, like so many elected government officials, he will get a pension after a very short period of time in office.  Some of these jokers draw a pension after only one term!  I'll bet that the state of Wisconsin's taxpayers foot the bill for his medical, dental, vision, they pay for his house, they pay for his car, they pay for his police protection, they pay all his travel expenses, they pay all his vacation time and they pretty much meet every need he or his family may have for the duration of his stay in office.  And I would imagine that most, if not all Wisconsin lawmakers are in pretty much the same palatial boat.

Well Mr. Walker, when are you going to curtail some of that?  Public employees are one thing.  When are we going to get around to the elected officials and all the sweet little goodies that they get?  When are we going to not only attack the unionized employees, who are such a political thorn in your side, and start attacking those ass bags (like you) who go so far as to vote on their own pay raises?  Alright, that one wasn't directed at Wisconsin so much as it was directed at the US Congress.

Now, I'll agree.  Costs must be cut for state services.  That's pretty much a given across the country, every state in the union plus the Fed is hurting for money and needs to save a little here and there.  Okay, they need to save a shit ton, and they need to do it now or the whole kit and kaboodle is going to go tits up!

But here's where things start to make me laugh.  They take aim at the wrong things.  They take aim at the teachers, they take aim at the prison guards (of which, I am one.) they take aim at all the unions that provide a necessary, yet un-romanticized service to the public.

Have any of you met kids these days?

They're horrible.  They're lazy, disobedient, undisciplined, violent, and a million other things that are bad.  In short, they suck.  Now of course, I'm not talking about your kids.  But we all know what kind of kids are out there.  Question being, would you want to go into a public school and deal with those little shits?  Because I sure as hell wouldn't.

Do I think the teachers deserve to be fairly compensated for what they do?  Hell yeah.  The only thing I've always had a problem with teachers about is this.  Why do they get a full years salary for nine months of work?  That pisses me off.  I work 12 months for 12 months of pay.  They work 9 months for 12 months of pay.  A teachers salary should be roughly 3/4's of what it currently is, and they should be expected to either work the other 3 months of the year or deal with only making 3/4's of what they were before.

Now on to the prison guards.  Let's get a few things out of the way right off the bat.  Prison guards as a profession have the highest levels of suicide, divorce, and alcoholism.  Because if you ask me, we have the most stressful job.  Name another job where a normal part of your day is protecting yourself from having piss and shit thrown at you?  Can't do it can ya?

I tell cops that brag about how many guys they arrest.  Yeah, well I get locked in a room by myself with 120 of the worst of the worst every day.  All these guys have is time, and they use that time to come up with new and inventive ways to maim or kill one another and/or me.  And I'm expected to control that situation with nothing more than my brain and my ability to coerce.  So until you've stared down a room full of gangsters, drug dealers, child molesters, pimps, money launderers, and murderers let's keep the theatrics to a minimum.

But everybody loves cops and firemen.  There's no love for prison guards or teachers.  So guess who gets this mountain of shit dropped on them.

The funny part of this whole thing is, this move will only save Wisconsin 300 million over the next two years.  Wisconsin's current debt load is 3.6 billion.

Now 3.6 billion is 36,000 millions.  Got that?  Now if all these budget estimates are right.  That means that if Wisconsin puts every single solitary fucking dime they save from breaking these unions into paying off their debt (and no interest at all is charged on the debt, LOL) then in two years the debt will only be 35,700 millions.  Hmmm, not a real big dent if you think about it.  And it comes at the expense of all these working class people.

When are people in this country going to wake up?  When are they going to realize that we're always looking at the wrong things?  We were looking in the right direction for a little while, but then we lost it.

George Carlin once said something, he said, "Race, sexual orientation, anything that they can bring up to get us fighting amongst ourselves so that they can keep on going to the bank.  Simple strategy.  Happens to work."

In this case, they're using this financial crisis to break the unions.  Make no mistake that's exactly what this is.  Union busting.  2011 style.  They used to come at us with sticks, bricks, and guns.  Now they're coming at us with laws and regulations.  They found another thing to get us fighting amongst ourselves.

A lot has been made in this debate of how the private sector workers have had to take pay cuts, benefit reductions, removal of pensions, and reductions in or outright suspension of employer contributions to 401k plans.

Okay, I get where they're coming from.  But here's what I want to know.  Why are we trying to pull the public employees down?  Why aren't we trying to figure out how to raise the private sector employees up?

I don't know the answer to that question but I'd really like to hear what you guys think.

But it all boils down to this.  If there's one thing that I know about this country its that there's only one color that actually matters and that's green.  Money.  Its the end all be all.  Try to argue with me on this and you're...well you're gonna lose.  Any pie in sky notion that money doesn't make the world go around is going to get shot down like an Iraqi scud.

Now there's a class of people that have it.  And there's a class of people that works for it.  And finally there's a class of people that doesn't get any of it.  And, at the risk of sounding redundant, Mr Carlin said "The rich have all of the money, and pay none of the taxes.  The middle class pays all of the taxes, does all of the work.  The poor are there...just to scare the shit out of the middle class.  Keep them showing up at those jobs!"

Now its time for a different frame of thinking in the country.  I think too many people fell prey to the Tea Party mantra of less government.  I fell for some of it myself.  Problem is, I don't think we need to destroy so many lives for the sake of saving a few bucks...


In 2004, the wealthiest 25% of US households owned 87% ($43.6 trillion) of the country’s wealth, while the bottom quartile held no net wealth at all.[3] The middle 50% of the country held 13% or $6.5 trillion of the total household net wealth.


Well maybe we need to be taking a good hard look at who's got what, and how much they've got.  But regardless of what we do...it all amounts to nothing if we don't stand together.

Just a thought.

Later,

I love you Mom...


Feb 10, 2011

Embrace The Suck

Embrace The Suck

Couldn't resist...

A T-shirt someone should make...

I'm sure you've all seen the "Major League Infidel" or "American League Infidel" take off on the MLB logo.

I wore a patch like that smack dab in the middle of my IOTV for the duration of my time in the suck.

So I was thinking that they should start making patches and t-shirts with this logo...

My own personal take on that patch, thank you GIMP.


Perhaps Cafe Press and I have a date with destiny...

Later,

I love you Mom...

Valentines Day, and The Unfortunate Loss of My Man Card...

So, first off.  I wanted to tell everyone not to worry about me.  The past few months (that I haven't written) have been probably the worst in my life.  But now they're over.  I made it out of the woods, cleared the darkness, and any other goofy metaphor you can come up with for getting through the shittiest time in your life.

That's not to say that I'm not still completely nuts, but at least now I've got a handle on it.

Anyways, let me tell ya about this girl...

I could ramble about how beautiful she is, I could babble about how she's smarter than me, I could tell you how every time I leave her I can't wait to see her again, I could yammer about how she just makes me want to do better, I could bore you with how I do stupid shit for her that I would never do for another girl (like take claritin religiously because I am allergic to her dog).  I could do all of that, but I'm not going to...(woops, too late.)

I'm just going to go over a few things that have happened since we started dating.

We were in a bar watching the NFC title game, Bears vs. Packers.  She finished her beer.  She didn't ask, she didn't make a gesture, she didn't really move at all...and I grabbed the empty bottle, took it across the bar (fighting a sea of Bears fans) threw the bottle away, then went to the bar and got her another.

Now to most of you that would just seem like a nice thing for a guy to do.  However, here's the rub in that situation.  IT WAS NOT A COMMERCIAL.  The fucking game was going on AT THE TIME.

Next thing, I was driving home from work at about 8:30 pm.  I was almost home, only about 2 blocks away.  She calls me up.  Tells me she went out with one of her girlfriends that night and her girlfriend had gotten drunk and was now basically mounting the guy next to her.

I said, "Good for her" To which she replied, "Yeah, for her!  Please come save me from being a third wheel."

Okay, where are you?  She rattles off some bar that's about a block from where I work, but is about 20 miles from where I am at the time.

I smiled to myself, said "Okay babe, I'm on my way.  Stay inside and keep warm and I'll call you when I'm nearby."

And I turned my happy ass around and drove right back where I had come from and picked her up and took her home.

Then just last Sunday we were at a SuperBowl party.  And I spent a good part of the game throwing her trash away, getting her beer, helping with her humongous coat, and doing other random shit.

Finally, Valentines Day is coming up and I wanted to get her something really nice.  So I spent the past week bothering every chick I knew.  Showing them pictures of necklaces and earrings and bracelets, and watches and all sorts of shit trying to figure out what to get.  Thankfully, I suckered one of them into going shopping with me and picked out, what I hope, is a good one.

Ah, what the hell, its shiny, she'll like it!

Then what made me really realize that I had it pretty bad for this one was something that happened while she wasn't even around.  I was talking to a couple of my boys while we were having lunch at the Tilted Kilt.  And they were making fun of me for the fact that while I was in a restaurant that actually hires all its waitresses under the title "model" so that they can mandate height, weight, and dimensions, I was talking to these incredibly hot women who were serving us beer about my girlfriend.

That's when one of them uttered the words that no man ever wants to hear.  "Dude, I'm pulling your man card for this shit!"

Then I thought to myself, "Well that sucks, but I got her so you know what...you can have the fucking thing!"

So be it.

Later,

I love you Mom...

Feb 9, 2011

Resurrection...

I can't hardly explain what's happened to me in the past few months since I've written to you.

Crashed, burned, drank, cried, laughed, and I stared....

Dead eyed at a loaded gun for about 6 hours...and never picked it up.

I didn't want to die. Had no interest in it really. I believe in God, but I'm not going to be the one to test the theory. Know what I mean?

Its been about 18 months since I came home from Afghanistan and luckily for me, the nightmares have become bearable dreams. Not sure if they're wearing off or my body and mind have simply adapted to them.

My family relationships have all returned to what I like to call, "the new normal" Basically, that's me plus the war equals what you've got now.

Work has gotten back to...as normal as an incarceration center is ever going to get.

I even went back to school for a semester. Managed to get one A, one B and one C. Definitely not my best work, but not too shabby given the circumstances. Now I'm studying for the GRE, which is "the first step toward grad school" Bunch of shit if you ask me, just another test you gotta pay for.

Went to see the shrink for a while. But for some reason I felt like I was talking to a wall. Wasn't that he was a bad guy, I just don't know if he quite understood what the fuck I was talking about. About the only way I can explain, even come close to explaining what is happening in my head is this...

Just think about when you've been at home, maybe cleaning or doing laundry or some such mundane shit. And in the background you've got the TV going. Every now and then something on the TV catches your interest and you stop what you're doing and pay attention to the TV. Maybe you even sit down and watch for a while before you get back up and do whatever it is that you were doing.

Now in my case the TV is inside my brain and is constantly replaying scenes from AssCrackIstan. A firefight here, and IED there, a couple of mortar rounds over there, a severed limb or artery or two and then its back to regular life.

When I first got home, I'm not going to lie, the TV in my head took over all brain functioning as soon as the sun went down. And it had power of attorney every 10-15 seconds during the day. It would pop up, play me a little clip and then fade into the background. Just not very far, and it was never very far from popping up again.

As time went on though it got better. Soon there were 30 seconds to a minute between flashes. Then 5-10 minutes. Then every hour or so. Then once or twice a day. Now its gotten so good that I actually need a trigger to see it!

The triggers are fun. Diesel fuel, loud noises, mud, sand, any Arab looking person, fire or smoke, trash on the road, piles of rocks, and a few others that I can't remember. I'll write them down when they hit me.

Basically, if I don't see, hear, taste or touch one of those things I can make it through an entire day without thinking of my time in Afghanistan. Which makes me extremely happy...

Oh, and then there's anything blue. That'll set me off. A long time ago I wrote about something that happened one day while I was on patrol. I shared it with a few of you, but I didn't publish it outright. Hell if I even remember why. Probably because I didn't want my mom reading it. But I think its about time that I let that little cat out of the bag....So here goes.

I Would Love To Shit Myself, But I Can't Unclench My Butt Cheeks...

Wednesday, December 17, 2034 hrs.
So it happened again today, except it got just a little bit worse. They knew we were coming and were waiting...

We came up around the bend in the road and they hit us from the left side. Small arms fire coming at us like so many little pellets that harmlessly bounce off of our trucks. The gunners began sending back a hail of gunfire the likes of which I have never seen.

Then we saw the spotters on the ridge behind us. These are the pricks that send the messages to the guys with the guns letting them know we are coming. These guys are almost as dangerous as the guys with the guns.

We gave chase as far as we possibly could with the terrain being as bad as it is here. Then we saw them running over the top of the mountain and got out of the trucks and began to chase them. Over one mountain and up another, checking every little crevice and behind every rock waiting ever so patiently for the good Lord to call me home.

Then we finally made contact, and began to fire. Shooting at and trying to kill a human being didn't feel like I thought it would feel. Truth be told it didn't feel like much of anything at the time. All I really knew or thought about was that these assholes tried to kill me, so I am going to kill them back.

All the while we were hearing the avalanche of gunfire coming from just over the mountains to our rear where the other squad in our patrol was coming under the brunt of the ambush that was meant for us. Machine guns and automatic grenade launchers peppered the mountain behind us, so much so you could almost smell the smoke.

Yep, the guys that were shooting at us were a decoy. Meant simply to draw us away from the rest of our guys so that they could catch them in the shooting gallery that is also known as the Afghan mountains. But still we ran after them. We ran and ran and ran. Stopping periodically to shoot and get shot at. Then one of the worst nightmares of any soldier happened to me. (I am truly beginning to think that someone really hates me) I was maneuvering over top of a ridge and down the other side after having just tried to knock these assholes down, but they were just a little bit out of my range.

I came up over the ridge and was looking for a way down the other side when off to my left no more than 10 feet I saw a blue hat. Without even thinking I spun my rifle and trained it right on the blue hat. I moved forward and it took me what felt like 10 years to move 10 feet. I was thinking that they had decided to hide the other side of the ridge and either surprise us or take out one of their boom boom's and make a martyr of themselves and an asshole out of me. I still don't know why I didn't fire. I had the blue of the hat right in my sights. I could've shot him dead without so much as a scratch on me.

But I didn't fire.
Then I heard it.
The whimpering of a crying child.

After the reality of it all hit me, I rushed forward and started telling these two kids, neither one of which could've been over six years old, that it was going to be OK, and I wasn't going to hurt them. Then I remembered, Hey Dickbag, they can't understand you. I called the interpreter over and he got them to safety.

We chased them for a few more clicks and then gave up after they had successfully melted into the mountains.

We went back to the vehicles and continued the patrol. Later a humvee in our convoy hit an IED (improvised explosive device). Damn thing blew the whole front end of the truck clean off. Shook the living shit out of the guys in the truck but no one was hurt. Taliban are fucking cowards, come out and fight you pricks.

So that was today. Fun for me. Then I noticed that I really needed to drop a deuce. However after the events of today I don't know when my buttcheeks are going to unclench and allow that to happen again. Hence the title.
So tonight everyone needs to say a prayer for peace.

So I never have to hear the quiet whimpering of a terrified child again.
Later,
I love you mom...and I am just fine.

I don't really know why I felt the need to share that one now. It just seemed right.
But I'm thinking that I'll start writing again. For a few months there I sank real deep into the hell that is my mind. And I've been slowly making my way back from there. Hence the title of this post.

I even dropped about 40 pounds! Which is literally and figuratively a load off my mind...and my ass!

And as crazy as this might sound, I managed to find a woman who would put up with my shit for more than an hour! Dare I say, I've got a new girlfriend. Thankfully, she doesn't trigger anything.

Now its time for me to start coming up with new and interesting things to write about. But for today I'll end with this. A LONG time ago I wrote about what advice I'd give a soldier going to Afghanistan for the first time.
Now I'd tell them...

A lot of who you are is going to change over there. Some parts of you are even going to die. There's no way around this, and there's no way, nor is there any reason to fight it. Its going to happen whether you like it or not. When you get home, you're going to feel empty. But make no mistake, that's not emptiness you're feeling. What you're feeling and going through is a new beginning. You're not the same person you were when you left. Its almost like you are meeting your family, and friends for the first time. Its like you're learning to live all over again. Its almost like being resurrected...
Later,
I love you Mom...