Sunday, December 14, 2014

Back In The World

"And knowing's half the battle!"  That's what they say before the rousing theme designed to inflame your spirits and sense of patriotism, but they never tell you what the other half is:  a lot of pain and blood and heartbreak.  They never warn you about the shit you can't unsee:  half of Scarlett lying in a ditch, her intestines trailing away from her.  They never tell you that guys like Duke and Ace will come back so chewed up, they may as well not have come back at all -- you want to sneak into rehab at the VA and break their fucking necks because it would be a mercy.  They never tell you after Allah knows how many tours that you'll go so far beyond section 8, Cobra Commander's propaganda videos are more precious to you than a Carrie Underwood sex tape.

It's harder than you know.  People are so universally loving and supportive when you come back, but they don't understand how you never really come back.  Certainly, nothing below my knees came back.  And when civilians see the knee-hinge with those tell-tale dangling rubber bands -- I tell you, those who don't pretend not to look try to thank me for my service.  I tell 'em right away it happened when I was drunk and dicking around by the railroad tracks.  I don't even bother to slip my dog-tags into my shirt -- I just bald-face lie and dare them to call me on it.  Fuck, I'm so fucked up on this fucking hillbilly heroin and nightmares about reality I can't even hold on to the same IHSS worker for more than a week...