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

Jun 10, 2013

The Clock Is Ticking Dude...

So this will (hopefully) be my last post about dying.

I've had death on the brain for the last few weeks, and needless to say this is not something that a guy on happy pills with a fun mental condition should be thinking about. But it all worked out, so what the hell.

I think that I've even had what a shrink might call a breakthrough or two.

Now, we all know PTSD isn't fun. They've got all kinds of fun terms that go along with it. Words like avoidance, intrusive memories, flashbacks, reliving traumatic events, negative feelings or beliefs. All lots of fun.

Me, I've got a slightly different take on my PTSD. I think its due to the fact that I don't feel the same level of emotion and sensations as I did when I was at war. There's a big difference between what you feel here, and what you feel there.

I think its something missing. Or I'm missing something.

You see, when you're in Afghanistan (or wherever the hell) you feel keyed up all the time. Not necessarily in a bad way. You realize things on a subconscious level that you don't here. You could be walking to chow and a mortar round falls 20 feet from you, rattles your teeth and cuts your face up with flying rocks (good time by the way) and that reminds you just how close you and the great beyond are. It drills right into your mind, and brings to forefront of your thoughts just how flimsy the bond between you and your mortal coil is.

That kind of thought does one thing to me, it probably does the same to most of the guys I've known that are dealing with this shit. Dealing with death, feeling the grim reaper breathing on your ear, smiling at the devil. Whatever goofy fucking metaphor you want to use for it brings out a depth of feeling that most people who've never dealt with shit like that will never know.

Its cliche but there's truth in statements like...

Food tastes better, flowers smell sweeter, colors are more intense, you breath deeper, you smile wider, you pay attention, I mean you REALLY pay attention. Every detail of everything you see sinks deep into your soul. And you recognize one very simple, very over used, very heartbreaking and very hard to grasp concept.

I want you to delineate the moment you are in right now. And somehow in your mind separate it from the moment you are going to be in when you finish this sentence...

Alright, if you can pull that off, which I won't be mad if you can't. Its making my head hurt trying.

Now just figure that the space in between those two moments is about 1000 times longer than the span of time it would take you to die.

Realize that this is all we've got. This moment. This moment that I am spending sharing my thoughts with you. This moment that you've decided to spend reading my thoughts.

Then think of the wonderful girl sleeping in the room next to me right now. Think of how dearly I love her. Think of how all of this that we've built together could be swept away in an instant by any one of a million different things.

Think of your life. Think of all the things you planned to do. The places you planned to go. The writing, the painting, the running, the climbing, the reading, the learning, the yearning, the actions, the things you didn't do. Everyone has a million and one things they want to do in this life. But very few of us realize just how close we are at this very moment to shaking off that mortal coil (great metaphor) and bucking the kicket and checking out for good.

That's what I loved (yeah, loved) about Afghanistan. It made me realize that on a fairly regular basis. By blowing me or one of my boys up, by shooting at me, by dropping a mortar or two on my skull, by sending a rocket or two (flaming footballs for those of you who have been around a while) flying over my head and/or singeing Burnsy's eyebrows off. Yeah that happened.

And those reminders gave me a sense of urgency. Everything was urgent. Everything had to be done. I had to squeeze it all, or as much of it as my body could handle before I collapsed. And you learn that your body can take quite a bit more than you ever cared to squeeze out of it.

I had to write. I wrote over 240 posts in just over a year.

I had to tell everyone how much I loved them. I had to be with my friends as much as I could. I had to, I had to, I had to, and I had to do it now.

That's what I think has been missing. That urgency. Nothing is really that important that it has to get done right fucking now!

I can tell the princess I love her tomorrow.
I can tell my mom I love her tomorrow.
I can learn this tomorrow.
I can write this tomorrow.
I can do this tomorrow.
I can go there tomorrow.

Here's the problem Danny Boy...someday you won't get a tomorrow, someday you won't even get a next moment.

Somebody once told me that every moment is a test. That each moment is a test you get to take one time, and only one time.

Now what are you going to do with it?

How are you going to be remembered?

After your moment is gone...


  1. I'm so grateful that you write.

    1. and I wish I could verbalize just how grateful I am that you and all the others read...

  2. I think that organizations such as Team Rubicon try to address this very issue and give vets a purpose - making them feel like they are doing something important as they did in war.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Not a bad idea. I sent my name in to volunteer. Anybody else who's interested I posted the links in the "Things to see" section on the right hand side of this page.