Monday, February 27, 2012


This post is one I have put off for years, but decided that people need to know about. I can happily say that in all my years on this planet, I have only run into a few people who were like the one in the story to follow. It is a very small percentage… very, very small.

August 2005, Mosul, Iraq: The gravel of the company housing area crunched loudly with each step. I walked down the aisles of small buildings towards the sheet metal “hootch” I was staying in. My 3 roommates were getting weapons torn down and cleaned after the day’s mission and were getting ready to go eat. I had been trying to find my platoon sergeant to get some information about my scope that had been in the shop for many weeks; there was no conceivable reason it should take so long to get it.

I was the designated marksman (SDM) in my squad and was the only one in the company without a scope. I had a bone-stock M4 carbine, where the rest of the SDMs had free-floated barrels, match-grade triggers and specialty gear costing thousands of taxpayer dollars; mine was $383 dollars according to the accountability form. At this time in my life, I was unafraid to tell others what I felt about my abilities and that sometimes landed me in hot water; having a big mouth and the ability to back it up only pisses people off. I was a master at pissing people off.

Well, now that the situation is set, here is the actual part that’s interesting: While taking a lap one row down from my usual digs, I passed the room of a former squad-mate. As I passed, he yelled loudly for me. “Jack, come here man!”. Whirled around at the familiar voice of the Staff Sergeant and ran back to his room. I snapped to parade rest and sounded off with “Yes, Sergeant?” looking straight forward to the rear wall of the small hut. He waved his hand at me saying “Relax brother, come in and shut the door”. I relaxed and did as directed.

I walked into the dim room, lit by only the light let in from the slightly-ajar blinds. The strong man who called me was like a brother to me at many times, but we had been apart for several months since he moved to another platoon. He had taught me so many things about saving lives over the years. He was the only Infantryman who knew more about emergency medical procedures than our medics; we all trusted him implicitly. This conversation took a dark turn immediately, though as the look in his eyes were unfamiliar to me.

“It’s me and you, brother. We have the most confirmed kills in the battalion. It’s a contest now.” he started, gesturing to a pair of bloodied gloves and a large Stryder knife hanging on a wall. He had, only days earlier, been involved in an ambush where he stabbed an enemy with that knife. The gruesome trophy on the wall hung there as a reminder of his devotion to his job. We had been fighting the forces of (insert your preferred term for other humans who resist invaders here) in Mosul for months and he and I were the most prolific of the soldiers making a dent in enemy forces.

I raised my hands up in a manner to show I was not enthusiastic about it and told him “I’m not here for blood, man”. I really only wanted to go home, but that was not on the list of options. He pressed me for my compliance and insisted that we have to compete for the most kills. I was actually fearful at that moment. I was in a room with a man who was a hunter like me, but his resolve was overriding his morality. I am not without sin in that respect, but I was certainly not looking for a contest counted in human lives.

The horror was that his eyes told me there was no exaggeration in his statements and that there was a genuine bloodlust. Only the previous week, he and I were on separate ends of the same ambush where two of the original four enemy were killed in the initial contact and the other two were dispatched by myself and the Staff Sergeant at opposite ends of the city after a chase. The man in front of me was killed where he stood out of necessity to protect my life and those of my peers. The man he gunned down had his body violated as an entire magazine was fired into the corpse as to make the point stronger or to make him even more dead (?). It begs the question: Is it more wrong to kill someone and then continue to shoot the body out of anger or rage than it is to kill them and do nothing?

This whole mess of words I managed to throw together only illustrates that there are a select few people who really want to take humans’ lives and that is sad. We need more people who resist war or learn to resist it so that we as a nation can thrive.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Slave to the Dollar

Over the past three years, I have successfully added a tremendous amount of debt onto my already-full plate. These things were either out of want, need or convenience. I have tried to work less than I used to or at least attempt to do thing I enjoy more; this has been hard to do. Between school, family, work and everything else there is not much time left at the end of each day.


At my age, I can point out several things about my life that are present and not common in other people my age. For starters, most people under 30 do not own their own house; they usually have not been married for 8 years and a few other things. I can point out more, but I don’t want this to be seen as being cocky. I am lucky to be where I am in the first place. There is just as good of a chance that I would have been turned into a mist of goo and bone fragments by a bomb on the side of the road, but I got lucky. No amount of my own doing saved my ass; I do feel that I have an obligation to live well because I can.


Now I could be talking in circles here, and if I am I hope it comes around to make sense. I’m not going back to edit this bitch beyond spell check. Anyway, I have been working hard to not have to work as hard by trimming the fat, so to speak, and making other changes in what we have and do. My wife has been super understanding in this and as much as she likes her soap opera shows, she would rather I don’t have to work the extra time just to make ends meet when money is a little snug.


I opened up the bill for my motorcycle the other day and realized that the promotional period is ending in April so I have to jump through my ass to get five thousand bucks together before they jack the rate up to the moon. My own impulsiveness got me to jump on a loan that I didn’t really need. It sounds silly because I’m a grown-ass man, but I still make those sorts of decisions. Anyway, it’s yet another learning opportunity. I see guys like me all the time. They are all excited to do something and then I sound like the old man who tells them “take my advice and save up for it”. That is advice I would have ignored though.


Anyway, towards the middle of June, I will have more money to save each month because I won’t have three bills that I currently have.


So… dummies… if you want something … just save your fucking money or buy something that will make you happy and you can just pay cash for. I will not make these mistakes again…. One exception could be a car loan because saving 15k in cash takes time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kit's Response

You my friend are a dork.  LOL.  A colorful dork that has aspirations of writing like Anthony Bourdain.  As I read your email I had the Mario “death” song running through my head. The one from Super Mario Bros where Mario touches a fireball while he’s not supped up on shrooms as big as his head.  Total fail.  He he. I now know why we can’t have nice things at [Where we work].  Apparently you sir need to work on your mad Matrix slow motion skills and invest in Velcro boots… perhaps even in those power Nike’s from Back to the Future.  I hear there still selling those on eBay.

I would be most grateful if you or Queen DorkLord would be so kind to find a replacement from my small but reliable French Press that for some unknown reason is made in Italy.  Apparently the Italians love their coffee too.

Thank you.

Dude with a Busted French Press crying in the corner.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Letter to Kit: Busted French Press

Now before you get all mad, I think this is a little bit your fault. I mean, who in their right mind is going to trust something fragile and made of wimpy glass to a guy who can barely tie his shoes and a girl who dreams of riding a moose into the woods with an AK and a backpack full of canned SPAM? I mean, this makes a little sense that you would at least expect this to happen. Right?

Okay, so now that we're on the same page… So, when I was quietly soothing my chest pains with more caffeine, I MAY have bumped your little press off the highest shelf near our desk where it most likely fell the distance of about 4.6 feet where my poorly-tied shoe "caught" it before rolling off and onto the floor.

Now I'm not sure if it was the fault of my shoes that were meant for robots, the friction of the air passing by during free fall or the actual impact with the ground, but there is a small crack near the top. If I had been wearing my Vibram Fivefingers shoes, you can rest assured that this email would not be in your inbox.

So, between Jessica (aka: Queen DorkLord) and me, it will be replaced or simply glued at your request. As it sits, it is fully functional, but the crack does add more character than I am qualified to have around me. I just wanted to let you know, so that next time you're here and see the fault line peering you in the eyes, you do not decide to go on a coffee binge and blog about various shades of window tint.

Thanks for reading this and giving me enough time to get far, far, far away before your rage is unleashed.