Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Am In A World Of Shit, But I Am Alive… And I Am Not Afraid

What the hell am I doing here? What the fuck am I trying to prove and who am I trying to prove it too? The people who loved me would still have loved me if I never came out here, and wherever I am I’m still there. I followed myself to Shippensburg, to Benning and to El Paso. And now Iraq. But out here I’m cornered with nothing to do but think.
People tell me their proud of me, that they respect me. No one understands, and anyone that does is just like me; they force it deep down where it just sits and rots. My insides are black. They are blood that is vomited up from the pit of my stomach, tar that tastes sour and salty and burns as it forces its way to the surface. And just like bloody vomit the act of spewing it out is cathartic, but it can never be enjoyed. It must be covered up, forced back down and played off.
Everyone says things will be great when I come home. But I’ll still be there. The world will still be there. And this experience will have only succeeded in adding more weight to my burden. So I will do nothing but shrug my shoulders and settle the load across my back as I trudge on. But as tired as I am and as rotten my insides are I am still young and strong and stubborn. And that is what truly keeps me going. Because as impossible as everything is I am too stupid and too angry and too proud to just give up and die.

Monday, April 26, 2010

You Can’t Hug A Laptop And You Can’t Kiss A Phone

I find it interesting that we still use the word “sunrise”. We all know for a fact that the sun is stationary and we’re the celestial body that rises, yet we persist in our flawed language.
Our flawed language indeed. I find myself incapable of the words for how I feel often, and I can blame only language. I don’t know the word for how I feel days like this. I’m not quite tired, I’m not really lonely, it would be incorrect to call it homesickness or frustration or longing, but it has elements of them all. And the words I must use are woefully inadequate to convey my feelings. I think that this is the case often in this life, but it is rare we realize it.
We don’t notice because more often than not we can show these feelings we can’t describe. We can touch someone, or look at someone, or sit near someone and with no words feelings are shared. These emotions, and more importantly the depths at which we feel them are shared so effectively without words and almost without notice until you must do without. When that subtle connection is severed how are we to manage? How can we share joy without a smile? How can we share pain without tears? How can we show love without a kiss? How can we take comfort in another without them there to give comfort?

Friday, April 23, 2010


You can't teach me anything. It is simply impossible for me to take someone's word about anything that I might have the desire to try for myself. I have to find out my own way that cigarette burns hurt worse than you'd expect or snorting a pixie stick is an all-around bad idea. Life is entirely too visceral to take someone's word for it, so why should I?
It is in this spirit of self-discovery I am embarking on my current undertaking; testosterone. And not just some paltry work-out supplement, I'm talking the sweet stuff that will raise my body’s levels somewhere in the neighborhood of 800%. I will not address the question of the legality of such substances because frankly I don't know and don't care. I don't even really care about even the intended purpose of the stuff; to make me swole as shit.
No, I do this because I want to give the side-effects a try. Namely the irritability and the irrational, all-consuming anger. Now I know this sounds more than a little off the deep end; taking steroids to get angry, but I don't mind. I want to experience for myself getting violently angry over a video-game. I want to have a rage blackout and break things for no reason. I’ve felt euphoria and depression and fear and adrenaline so intensely in my life, so why not anger? I just hope my junk doesn’t shrink.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Proust Survey

What is your dream of happiness?
A tropical farm not far from the ocean where all my friends can come live with me or just visit.
What is your idea of misery?
Having to live a life alone.
Where would you like to live?
What qualities do you admire most in a man?
Strength and Intelligence
What qualities do you admire most in a woman?
Strength and Intelligence
What is your chief characteristic?
Pessimistic joy mixed with sanguine melancholy
What is your principal fault?
What is your greatest extravagance?
Spurious trips home. I’ll spend hundreds of dollars on plane tickets home for 3 days and when I’m there I’ll buy copious amounts of alcohol and food when I’m with my friends.
What faults in others are you most tolerant of?
In people I like: almost all. In people I do not: nothing.
What do you value most about your friends?
The trust they have in me, and the trust I have in them.
What characteristic do you dislike most in others?
Ignorance and Arrogance.
What characteristic do you dislike most in yourself?
Fear and my penchant for manipulating people.
What is your favourite virtue?
What is your favourite occupation?
My personal favorite is life-guarding, but anything where a person can combine their brain and their physical being is alright with me.
What would you like to be?
Happy with where I am in my life when I’m there, not looking forward or back to find happiness.
What is your favourite colour?
Green, but I would like to go on the record saying that I find the question itself to be in poor taste.
What is your favourite flower?
Roses, by any other name would be just as classy.
What is your favourite bird?
What historical figure do you admire the most?
Socrates for asking the hard questions and going out standing on his feet, and Fidel Castro for his tenacity, forethought and balls.
What character in history do you most dislike?
I have no idea.
Who are your favourite prose authors?
Pullman, Hemingway and others.
Who are your favourite poets?
Shakespeare, he’s wonderfully dirty.
Who are your favourite heroes in fiction?
Nick Adams from Hemingway’s short stories and the narrator from Going After Caccagitio
Who are your heroes in real life?
I don’t believe in heroes.
Who is your favourite painter?
It might be blasphemy but I like Warhol.
Who is your favourite musician?
Bob Dylan
What is your favourite food?
Watermelon when its just right.
What is your favourite drink?
Water and Vodka, together or separate.
What are your favourite names?
None come to mind.
What is it you most dislike?
What natural talent would you most like to possess?
If being bi-lingual counts then that. Otherwise I’d like a super high VO2 max.
How do you want to die?
When I feel I have sucked the marrow out of this life and it has sucked the all marrow out of me I will disappear to somewhere remote where I will not be found, I will put a double-barrel shotgun in my mouth and end my life. I will take as many pains as possible before hand to prevent my body from ever being found or identified and no one will every truly know my fate.
What is your current state of mind?
Concerned about my previous answer and (unrelated) longing.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
Learning to not being afraid to follow my heart, even when I have no idea where its leading me.
What is your motto?
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Against The Wind

Looking back over my recent past I find myself missing something suprising; Andoe's apartment. It was a nasty little affair to be honest, small and unclean and rank with the smell of smoke. As were the Salvation Army couches bought for the lump sum of $15 covered in cigarette burns and questionable stains. The kitchen was the size of a closet and so was the bathroom, but the balcony was comfortable and so was the carpet. The carpet of course was also stained by all manner of alcohol and bodily fluids, but no one really cared. I spent many nights sleeping on the carpet covered in the heavy Michigan State blanket Andoe's wife always draped over me with oddly reassuring care even when we were all so drunk we could barely stand up.

I loved the old apartment because it was a refuge that I could fall back to when life on base got to be too full of bullshit. It was a place to eat real food when I couldn't stomach the DFAC or fast food anymore. It was a place where I could trust the people around me to not care about my stupid shit and help me out. It was a place where Andoe and his wife could relate to my feeling unsure and way out of my depth. We were all learning exactly how to be adults, playing house in a strange city far away from home. They needed someone to act as the kid in the playhouse and marriage counselor in real life. I needed someone to take care of me and to serve as dramtic foil. I'd accompany them to the Emergency Room for the various injuries they would inflict upon each other and help them manage the bills. They would let me drink myself stupid and tuck me in at night. Andoe would drive me to work in the mornings and his wife would yell at me to come back to bed with her when I was on the phone with ex-ladyfriends.

But as with all things in this world it didn't last. They moved away and are growing into adulthood and their marriage. I stoped hiding and started coming home more to deal with shit and become something of an adult myself. And its for the best I'm sure, but some days I miss the yelling and the cheap wine and the self-rolled cigarettes (real smokes don't help the bills) and Dexter the chiwawa and the Michigan blanket.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Sir, the aliens are retreati-GAAHHHHH"

When I joined the Army and came to Iraq I expected certain things. Some expectaions were met, others exceded and still others did not make muster. But with that being said I came into the military without many expectaions. I figured the less I assumed or knew the easier it would be to track with the way it really was. And I have to say I think I was right in that. But one things that I don't think anyone foresaw is the way that serving your country ruins motion pictures.

Yes my friends, once you're inside the beast it changes the way you see it, and this is reflected most clearly on the big screen. You notice the small things first: uniforms worn wrong, medals awarded from 'nam on soldiers who might be 35, the way no one ever reloads ever or characters charge their weapons 3 times in 20 seconds, the inexplicable amount of saluting and so forth. Little things that don't really matter and you just laugh at.

Then bigger things start to come along. If its a war film you can bet the farm at least half a dozen times someone is going to ignore orders. And not just small orders about petty things, (because in films no one is ever told to straighten their beret or take off their sunglasses) BIG orders. Take that hill, steer course 10-50 degrees north, charge! and whatnot. If its a film about monsters or aliens or zombies or something then the fighting men and women are actully much more obident to their chain of command, but there is a certain disregard for any sort of tatical or strategic operations. Not to mention how the characters react to the inevitable loss of a battleship or having an entire battalion wiped out. They react not at all in most cases to the loss of massive assets in the form of human life and expensive hardware which is not terribly callous so much as its stupid from a tactical and strategic standpoint.

Then we come of course to the ending. Monster killed, aliens repulsed, robot deactivated, day saved! Cue some whitty comment by the hero to the heroine (or vice versa) while standing amongst ruin and the dead bodies of their commrades-in-arms. Oh so very wrong.

I know that they are just movies, and I don't lose sleep over the plot holes and so on, but I can't help but empathize with the grunt who gets steped on by the 10 story tall dinosaur. Or the sentry on guard smoking a jack who gets this throat cut and his body dumped early in the 1st act. I always see those things and think; whup, that's me! It has become something of a favorite passtime around the platoon actully when we watch films. We pick out what manner of faceless death we would most likely recive if the fiction on the screen was fact.

So on top of the lousy hours, the inherent danger of being killed/maimed, the not-so-great pay and the terrible food add another downside to this lifestyle; the loss of pure enjoyment from so many of the movies turned out by Hollywood.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Good Morning Sweet Dreams"

There is something to be said for starting missions at 11pm. By the time you get done its nearly sunrise and its hard to be in a bad mood as the sun comes into the sky.
I am at times a very negitive person. I get caught up in stupid big-picture junk and forget to take life one day at a time. I worry about what I don't have or what I'm missing and its not until later I realize what I had. And when people try and get me back on track I am often less than greatful.
I'm working on it though, because its better to fuck up less than apologize more. Saves everyone a great deal of trouble.