Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sippin' on Gin and Juice

That's a Snoop Dogg song. I don't listen to him, but I've got a little glass of Woodford Reserve here, and it's a nice way to wind down.

I don't post much these days, and I'm sort of sorry about that. Only a little, though -- because it wasn't for any of you that I ever posted in the first place, really. This is just a little space on the Internet where I can rant about something I think is relevant at any given time, and there's no financial interest in it, so it's not like I'm letting down the people who sign my paycheck or anything.

The trouble is, I think, that I've got short-timer's disease pretty bad. For those of you who haven't been in the military or served a prison sentence, "short-timer's" is the malaise that creeps over someone who's got their mind completely preoccupied with getting out... When you can almost taste it, it's hard to focus on the present with any kind of drive or clarity.

I'm looking forward to too much, you see. Once I'm through with this Army stint, I'll be hopefully checking into a graduate school for some studies in political science. I'm not sure which excites me more, the coming return to an academic environment or another shot at civilian life.

I've never been a very good soldier. Soldiers, to me, are the guys who carry around weapons in dangerous places, who stand in line, and who keep their hair cut out of a sheer desire to maintain the Standard.

Good soldiers always do well on their physical fitness tests. They march out of the wire in strictly-kept formation spacing. They study Army regulations religiously, readying themselves for the next board. They keep their class A uniforms sharp and up-to-date. Soldiers are men who carry weapons and look for hostile fire.

I'm not one of them. I wear a camouflage uniform to work every day, and it has an American flag on the right shoulder... but I'm not one of those guys. I do my job, but really, it's just a job. I have a lot of what they call cognitive dissonance when I hear "Soldiers died in Iraq today" followed by, "You're a soldier."

God bless those of you who do that dirty work. I'm not among your number. And that's why I'm not long for the Army. Next summer, here I come.