11:00 PM Saturday March 17, 2008 : "The silver dust of moonlight settled coldly on the night."
That's a truly poetic line isn't it? Quite like one that Mrs. Hayward, my creative writing teacher back home, would assign to us.
"Something to spark your muse." she would say.
Most of the time, I just couldn't see it. Poetic lines that didn't mean anything? Get real, life isn't like that.
That was a lot of my trouble, I just couldn't see the point of a lot of things; classwork, studying, "keeping the old nose to the grindstone", all of it just didn't spark my muse much. To say my college career was less than stellar, would be an understatement. With that mind set, it wasn't long until the Dean of Students called me in for a little "sit down and chat". I guess I shouldn't have told him where to stick his chat. After receiving the official notice and the resulting ultimatum from my parents, I looked around and saw only two choices to bolster my career; take some two-bit job at McDonald's, or join one or another of the branches of the military. Sooo, here I sit, or stand, would be more accurate, a guard post in Iraq.
I thought my dad might respect my decision to join the Army, I knew he wouldn't let me live in his basement for the rest of my life. Truthfully, I couldn't see it either. The thought of trying to sneak a girl into my bedroom in the middle of the night at thirty-five years old, without my parents hearing it, just seemed too f$%king depressing for words. Dad was actually less than pleased, it seems his generation spent a lot of time and energy into protesting the war in Viet Nam, he was outraged at the President's decision to invade Iraq after 911.
"What the hell did Iraq have to do with anything!" he said, "Some damn Arabs coming out of Afghanistan did it! Shit, we haven't even caught a glimpse of Bin Laden! We weren't done in Afghanistan yet. We have no business in Iraq! This was a stupid thing to do, Warren! You're going to go over there and get yourself killed! And, for what?"
Mostly, the last few weeks I was home, all my dad could do was look at me with a sort of sad bewilderment and shake his head. My Mom did a lot of crying. Shit, by the time I had to report for duty I was scared shitless and even more confused than I had ever been in my life. Like I said, my college and high school careers were a lot less than stellar, so being confused was sort of a natural state for me anyway, but now I was truly mind-f$%ked!
Oh hell! I finally decided, It could be an adventure! So, I headed off to basic training with what I hoped was an upbeat attitude. It didn't take the Army, and a term at basic, too long to dispel that nonsense. I won't bore myself, or whoever actually might read this journal, with the dull and pointless rehashing of Army basic training tales. We've all seen the endless movies and television shows that depict that sort of thing. All I will say, is that I made it through with at least part of my mind intact.
After training was over and I had received my papers, the Army, in all of it's wisdom, sent me home for a little vacation before I had to report for duty in Iraq. My Dad didn't talk to me much, still a lot of sad stares and head shakes, Mom did a lot of crying. My buddies, that were still around and not in college, took me out and got me drunk, tried to get me laid too, but I f$%ked that up. Pretty soon my time was up, I had to rejoin my company. Too damn soon, for my liking!
Mom and Dad drove me to the airport. Mom cried a little more, then kissed me real hard and ran back to the car. Dad stood staring at me awhile longer, then surprised the hell out of me and reached out to shake my hand.
"Be careful, son!" he said, then he grabbed me in a bear hug, real tight. "Please be careful," he whispered in my ear, "your mother will worry every day, so be sure and write often." With that done, he stood back and smiled a little. "I wouldn't mind hearing from you, myself!"
The call for boarding sounded and I picked up my bag. Dad stood there, watching me, until I couldn't see him anymore. Were there actually tears in his eyes? I don't know, it seems I had something in my eye at the time so couldn't see too good, myself.