by The Usual Suspect
I wanted out. I wanted out bad, and I got it. Started chomping down on the fruits of freedom, til my eyes grew wide and I retched, maggots, worms, and rot at the core. This heart is healthy, no one's firing guns around here or setting off bombs.
Maybe we thought that something magical was going to happen when we got out. You know, the President lands on your lawn to shake your hand, have a beer and tell a couple dirty jokes, then salute and fly off, loudly complimenting your gi-fucking-normous balls of adamantine. Then you drop off a resume. ONE resume. It lands on the desk and sends the shrapnel of all other bullshit flying. The guy interviewing you hires you on the spot (this actually did eventually happen to me, well...I got hired on the spot, but we'll get to that), the pay is good, the work gratifying, THE AMERICAN MOTHERFUCKIN' DREAM finally handed over.
Now I know that no one is entitled to everything and there is no such thing as easy street. Just stop making it fucking SOUND like the Army will make the rest of our lives perfect.
I'm a dishwasher. I wash dishes. I stand up all day and wash dishes, and I watch them come right back to me like a boomerang. My feet and knees and back begin to hurt, and I spend 20 minutes scrubbing, spraying, and contemplating going out to my car and getting a pair of desert boots to wear. And that's when I spend the next hour washing more dishes and thinking about Iraq. Thinking about the guys. Wondering if my unit is back in Iraq or not. Where, or what they're doing, how they're doing. And then I remember how it was for me when I was in their boots. I was worlds away, kicking it with guys I loved, pissing and moaning about the rigors and bullshit of our job, but on some kind of adventure nonetheless. And I didn't want to talk to people back home. I didn't want the pain. I didn't want the questions, I DAMN sure didn't want all the concern. I didn't want to think about home. They don't have time to be missed. They need to have their head in the game.
Friends from before the Army lose touch, they change, or just never cared as much as you let yourself believe they did. You start to see the selfishness in everything. Everyone. When you feel like a stranger around everyone you know, you start to feel isolated. Then it turns into anger or depression, back and forth. Self-loathing, hatred for everyone on the road. Someone throws trash out of their window and it hits mine. I want to chase him down and pull him out of his car and stuff the paper in his mouth. Then I let off the gas and exhale.
"Just be yourself" doesn't apply when your SELF isn't appropriate for normal people. The chasm grows wider. Then you start sending resumes out to private military companies. Toying with the idea of making some insane money and playing soldier-boy again. But if it was the right answer, every vet would be doing it.
You don't get a response anyway.
So the days come and go, and you deal with the VA here and there. Go to appointments, answer questions, whatever, and then you go back to your life (see you in a month). You go home and look at your pill collection. Anti-anxiety pills. Little ones that dissolve under your tongue for rapid deployment to stem off those pesky panic attacks. Oh, and these ones here are for nausea. Those ones on the right were from a minor injury. Good for treating inflamed joints and muscles. And THESE, these are the pills that the achievers just love. These are your A.D.Dipshit pills and when one of those NORMAL people take them, they get tweaked son, fuck yeah, they can study ALL night AND clean EVERYTHING AND THEY LOOK GREAT CUZ THEY DON'T EAT! Consult your doctor if you have any heart or psychological conditions.
"You live in a college town. Why not sell them?"
1) It's illegal and I hate even INTANGIBLE forms of confinement.
2) Half the fucks dumb enough to take any pill to get fucked up are dumb enough to find a way to to screw up royally.
3) I don't WANT those assholes studying like cyborgs and getting kickass grades. Future leaders of the world all fucking tweaked out. Then the cocksuckers will send my kids off to a war that they'll later admit was "poorly planned". Fuck you. Drop out and wash dishes.
Oh, and here's some antidepressants. They only work if you take them EVERYDAY....EVERYDAY.....EVERYDAY....EVERYDAY....EVERYDAY. You have to have it in your blood constantly.
"Well Suspect, this generally goes unsaid but you could try *other* *alternative* *natural* *herbal* *appetite-stimulating* *medicine*."
1) This state does not list PTSD or any form of anxiety as criteria for medical marijuana.
2) It's only legal on the state level. If for ANY reason, Federal Government wanted to, they'd be able to raid my place. Throw me in prison. "Not so hungry now, are ya Suspect? Three hots, a cot, and a nice big teddy bear for a cellmate." Probation. That means piss tests. Remember those, army kids?
3) What about MORE IMPORTANT things, like bills, food, rent?
"Duh, Suspect, you can just grow your o-"
Hold the motherfuckin phone a second. A grow operation. Felony? I heard it's a felony.
[TAKE YOUR PILLS, I'LL SEE YOU IN THE MORNING.]
4) If you're a REGISTERED POTSMOKER, will they allow you to own a gun? [Hahaha, he said ALLOW, like people are property, that's funny!]
Yeah. Oh well. Alcohol is legal. I can walk across the street and get beer or wine. A few more blocks if I want liquor. That's a nice time-honored method of decompressing. I see commercials now and then. Oh fuck! There was a game today! At the college! that I dropped out of. They advocate alcohol consumption at those. Maybe I'll get shit-faced and look at some pictures of me and my buddies while I clean my gun.
[I don't know how to type the sound that a scoff makes.]
Yeah, no booze for me, thankyouverymuch. I hear its a DEPRESSant. I hear bad things can happen. I hear it's involved in a lot of deaths and accidents and domestic disturbances. KEEP ON ENCOURAGING THAT SHIT, AND TiVO "COPS" FOR ME! I AIN'T GOT CABLE!
"Dude, quit fucking crying and play your guitar or something. Oh, ha, wait, I forgot that your power flickers on and off all day. Ha!"
Too long? Didn't read?
The Army told me I'd be back in six months if I got out. That the real world just wasn't right for us anymore. That we couldn't handle it. I said "Bullshit, man. Not me. It'll never happen to me. Nothing can happen to me now, everything from here on out is going to be ok."
The Universe is trying to prove me wrong. To this, I say, "Present....arms!"
If Iraq didn't kill me, the "American Dream" sure as fuck won't.
(The STUD in the photograph is wearing a mask so that the entire female population doesn't fall in love with the same guy. -Management)