Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm This Many

So here I am, 25 years old... I have no idea how I've survived up to this point. I've been in the military for seven years, I've been deployed to the Persian Gulf, I've spent two years of my natural life on the ocean and plan on dedicating many more years to the art of floating aimlessly while performing some critical operation. All of this and I'm still just a boy in a man's body.

When someone asks me what I do, I tell them and they stare at me in awe. "Blibbity blah blah multi-million dollar aircraft components blibbity blah War on Terror blah blah deployments blah blah blah United States Navy." I guess I've become desensitized to the fact that I'm part of a machine that is the most powerful physical force in the world. None of this seems to impress me anymore and the things I've had and have to do at work are just that: things.

Compliments from strangers, free beers, family bragging about me to everyone who will listen, etc. I suppose everyone in the military gets this though. I'm definitely proud of my job and my accomplishments in that job, but what about life itself? What about outside of work? Well, I'll tell you.

I'm part of a Lost Generation of Man-Children. We 'grew up' and joined the military for all sorts of different reasons. We were forced into a lifestyle that not too many people could handle (a lot don't and find themselves sent home earlier than expected) and given a responsibility that we sometimes take too lightly because the true gravity of it would tie our stomachs in knots. We think because we go to war and play with guns and operate really cool, expensive shit that we're "grown-ass men" as so many coworkers delicately put it.

What do most of us do after that? We get married. Some of us have kids. Most of us do both. Why is that? I've been married twice and as much as I swore I was ready (both times), I can see now that I was nowhere close. I'm still a child. I can't manage my money, I play too many video games, and I still think that cartoons and cold pizza are the best possible way to start off a Saturday afternoon when I wake up. I can barely take care of myself and I thought I could take care of a family? Clearly I was out of my mind.

I was also under the assumption that having what is arguably the dumbest and most destructive job in the world would help my marriages be successful. Boy was I wrong. We expect our wives to pick up and move to WTFEUSSM: Where the Fuck Ever Uncle Sam Sends Me. We expect them to leave everything they've ever known and go to some strange place where they have no friends, no relatives, and no job, and just be happy as hell about it. Not only that, but they have to do all this and hang out alone for months at a time while we go out and play big boy games and risk the chance of coming home in a bodybag.

We expect our children to be okay with us never being around and being so mentally drained from the idiocracy that is the U.S. Military that when we are home, we don't have the energy to give them the proper amount of attention. And then when the inevitable divorce happens, and believe me it does, we hope that they turn out alright growing up in a broken home.

All of this because most of us joined a warfighting organization (some before they could even buy a lottery ticket legally) way too young and as much as we've "matured" in our careers, we're still the same idiot kids we were when we joined. Children raising children. Socially retarded. Not all, but most.

I may be able to effortlessly rattle off hours of nonsense about what I do at work when I'm asked, but if someone asks me how old I am, I pause. I know how old I am, but I sure don't feel that old. On one hand, I feel like I'm sixty. On the other hand, I feel like I'm twelve. Age is all relative in so many different areas of one's life, that it's absurd to measure a person's true age by the number of trips the Earth has made around the sun since they've been born. So how old am I? "I'm this many."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Remember Me

This horribly cheesy and very well-done film captured what I think most people overlook when they think about September 11th. It took you on a ride with a guy who, while confused, was what every idiot 22 year-old kid should aspire to be. It took you on that ride and it all went up in flames at the end.

Every person who lost his or her life on that day had their own story. It may or may not have been as romantic and captivating as Twilight Guy's was in the movie, but they had one. 2,976 people were killed that day and every single one of them had a life and a story the same as you and I do.

I guess what I'm getting at is I'm glad they titled the movie Remember Me and not Holy Fucking Shit! We're Not Safe Anymore and We Won't Be Until We Rid the World of Arabs. After the film was over, I wasn't left with any feelings of anger or an urge for revenge. Then again, I didn't feel that way on September 11th, either. I just felt sad; a lot of sadness and shock.

Maybe I'm just different. Maybe I'm not a "true patriot" or a "good American" because I don't have an insatiable thirst for bloody retribution. I think most people take those terms out of context anyway because I think that a true patriotic American shouldn't have a knee-jerk reaction to something like that. I think a true patriotic American should be tough and shrug it off. Mourn, yes, but don't give the perpetrators what they wanted. Don't validate their cause.

Almost double the number of American lives have been lost in the "War on Terror". Double. There have been no substantial victories or results short of the previous administration's payback on a man that had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center whatsoever. Who knows how long it will last either? I sure don't, but I'm willing to bet that it will continue far longer than even the Vietnam War did.

"Remember Me"

Remember the people who were killed. Think about what they would want. Think about the injustices committed in their names. Most importantly, remember who they were. Everyone has a story.

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." ~Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Little Dr. Paul

As I'm sure none of you have heard, Dr. Rand Paul refused to answer the question about the age of the Earth last week. This willful ignorance is the most aggravating thing in the world. Just answer the question, dude! If your politics are straight, who cares if you think the world is 6000 years old? As much as I hate religion mixing with politics, I think there are more pressing issues at hand than whether or not you think Gandalf's clone shit out the planet a few millennia ago.

As a medical doctor, not having the answer should be something Dr. Paul should be used to... at least that's what my 130 episode marathon of House M.D. tells me. Get an answer. Be wrong. But have a goddamn answer! Even Sarah Palin made some shit up when they asked her how she had foreign policy experience.

Again, not an attack on religion. I understand that if you want to get elected in this country, you're going to have to pick a fairy tale that you subscribe to to get elected. The meager 18% of us Americans that are naturalists can't carry the election for you, so I get that. But ANSWER THE QUESTION!

Taking pride in not knowing something, or refusing to answer a question because you're scared it might offend someone is unacceptable. I can guarantee with 100% accuracy that there is always going to be someone sensitive that is going to be offended or disagree with any opinion that you have.

As a politician you should always have an opinion. Whether it's right or wrong is irrelevant. As an aspiring presidential candidate, Dr. Paul should figure this out if he wants more than just a fringe vote. Zeus help us if he actually gets elected. Who knows what issue will come across his desk that he sits on because he has no opinion, or is "just not going to answer that question." How are people going to know what your stance is if you don't take one?

Thursday, July 1, 2010