Monday, January 23, 2006

Just Another Day

I have been slaving away as a full blown PowerPoint Ranger for the past few weeks putting together several presentations. While working today I was plugged into my iPod so I could escape for a few minutes and started listening to Oingo Boingo. I happen to think that Boingo was one of the greatest bands ever but unfortunately the general public outside of SoCal and Brazil (Odd isn't it?) never really took to their cerebral brand of rock.

I digress. While listening the track "Just Another Day" came up. I stopped what I was doing and really listened. It dawned on me that over here every day is "Just Another Day". Folks back home are getting excited about the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. Not here. I'm not getting up at zero dark thirty to watch two teams in a league I could care less about. Super Bowl Sunday, while a defacto holiday in the USA is "Just Another Day" over here. Like Christmas, Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Day, etc. They are all "Just Another Day." The days roll together like an unseen tide of time. Days become weeks and before you know it months and years have passed.

I have been here days, weeks, months, and now years. I don't know how long I will last. I want to be a regular person again one day. Be a father, a husband, a citizen. I want to watch baseball, drink a beer, help my son with home work, work a friggin 40 hour week.

I know though that if I don't do this job some other schmuck will have to do it and maybe not as well as I can. I am commited to kicking Hajji's ass until he says, "Peace Table for 150 million please". I know that one day I will wake up and it will all be over. Until then it is like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Every day is "Just Another Day."

The troopers get up and eat, do their formation, weapons checks, and vehicle checks. They get their instructions and then do their thing whether it is guard duty, escort duty, or routine patrol. Even though is is "Just Another Day" any of them could be killed or maimed today. We all could be. I am so used to hearing rockets and mortars that I just don't react anymore. I can tell the difference between a 60mm and 82mm mortar, a 57mm rocket and a 122mm rocket just by sound. I can also tell how far away they landed and whether they are walking toward me or away. It's "Just Another Day" when this happens. A CNN reporter would shit his pants if he had seen some of the stuff we see. It would be all over TV. We just get up from the dirt, wipe off and go about our business. It's "Just Another Day." We call it "Mortar Bingo". If you are in the grid where it lands you definitely don't win though.

It is macabre humor that has existed in every war. We laugh about it, we joke about it so it does not drive us mad with worry. You could not fully function if you worried all the time. You make the best of it to make it through "Just Another Day."

Convoys come and go. People come and leave. There are only a few of us left from OIF I. We are now in OIF IV and the attrition and turnover is high. Folks meet their goals, burn out, or get scared. Some of them just want a normal life. I'm not sure what a normal life is anymore. Is it "Just Another Day"?


Anonymous Fritz said...

A while back you made the comment about choices. Indeed those things that you would like to do in order to participate in what most would consider a "normal day" are not now and may not ever be available to you. A "once you go there, you can never come back" choices in life that you made a long time ago.

Now the question is, how willing is everyone to live this way and are you willing to make the adjustments in life and lifestyles in order to have what all your neighbors in "Bedrock" consider a normal day.

From my own experience and you no doubt have experienced it already yourself you will always be looking and wondering what if I was still there. Or maybe if I could go over there, a new place. You will start to see people in a crowd and know if they are fellow "travelers", "Hobos" and you will gravitate toward each other and there will be a recognizable bond between you. You will say a lot without saying much because you both know. You both are having the same realization, things can never be the same.

You are now on a higher plan than the average person and you adjust. Keep your wife as your dearest friend and be hers. Share all you can with her and the "T" man and be happy with what you are able to do together when you get the chance.

For sure anyone that does know you knows that you have done a good job in supporting the troops and particularly in supporting your fellow workers and management. Something that no one can take away and something that has changed the parameters of your "Just Another Day".

Whatever happens for you I wish you the best of everything that life has to offer on whatever plain you end up on. It's all good and it's all real. And it can never be the same for everybody.

Good job in what you have done, are doing and will do in the future.

God Bless,

7:58 AM  

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