Category Archives: Veteran

The One About Night Terrors

It’s more than a nightmare.

For me it’s total paralysis with open eyes screaming. Sometimes it bolts me awake. Sometimes I don’t quite reach consciousness.

Sometimes it’s the total certainty that someone is standing over me in the dark.

Sometimes it’s a memory replayed in a thousand different ways that I am helpless to change.

An adrenaline dump in the middle of the night can keep me up for hours, or not let me sleep again. Panicked, angry, and frightened, I’ll roam my house trying to talk myself down. “It was just a dream. I’m fine. Everything is fine. I’m OK.  Nothing is wrong.” It’s a mantra.

It also upsets the household. Thankfully, my son has always slept like he was in his own personal cocoon. My sig-oth isn’t so lucky. I know it’s a helpless situation for him as well. But there is nothing he can do.

Add guilt to the mix of anger, panic, fear because I’m causing sleep depravation for him, too.

Fuck all that.

This kid , Tyler Skuzacek in Saint Paul, MN,  is a freaking genius. He and his team created an app.

It hasn’t made the clinical trials yet, but he’s working with the VA and sleep experts.

It marks the symptoms leading up to the terror and interrupts deep sleep with a vibration to take the sleeper just this side of consciousness without actually waking them.

Sign me up, Tyler.

MyBivy App

It’s never hopeless. Someone’s always out there working on ways to make it better. They don’t give up and neither can you. That would be the worst Rook mistake.


I know the pic is sappy af, but this time it fits.

TL;DR: Tyler’s dad came home with PTSD. After watching his dad suffer, he chose to do something about it. There’s an app in the works. Don’t give up. Help is coming.


The One About the Starving Army

This isn’t anything new. When I was in, I knew guys that worked at Target on the weekends or delivered pizza every night. And these were guys that lived in the barracks with no family to support.

These kids, right out of high school, are sought after for new car loans and credit cards. They haven’t really been away from home before and wind up in debt. The dealerships know exactly how much car they can put a kid in because the servicemen’s pay is a matter of public record.

And don’t miss a payment. Don’t get a call from a collector that bypasses you and gets your CO instead. Don’t. It’s not good.

Now there are these soldiers with families. If there’s room, they live on post and don’t pay rent or household bills. But they also make crap. Basic pay for a private (E1 to E3) is 18,300 to 21,000 a year. Pay Scale

Civilian jobs around a post can be hard to come by. Just about every spouse is looking for one. There are a few stay at homes, but they usually are working another angle (Pampered Chefs, Avon, Mary Kay, home daycare) to help support the family. And then there are the dependopatomus, but I rarely saw them. Even when I was stationed on an infantry post for a bit.

There’s lot of education out there for these kids, if they’ll take it. But when they’re 18-20something the immaturity level is high. Not just in them, but in their spouses as well. Living on post can sometimes feel like you in the middle of a TV drama. It’s not an excuse, just a fact.

However, these families are finding themselves on food stamps. So think about that. You’ve got a solider with a family coming home at the end of the day only to go back out the door for his or her second job and worrying about WIC covering some of their groceries.

What can be done? I’m not that smart. I don’t have a solution. My suggestion is that if you have a loved one that’s thinking about joining, make sure they have a grip on their finances and understand how it all works.

There’s just something down right sad about soldiers on food stamps.

One of the articles I read is here:CNN Article


TL;DR: Managing your bills is hard when you’re uneducated and underpaid. Get right with your money because anything less is a rook mistake.



The One About Opinions

They’re like assholes, right? Everyone’s got one and most of them stink.

Had an argument that left me walking away shaking my head. Discussed these kids who’d  worn masks while flinging firecrackers around campus in MO somewhere. This friend of mine said that the reaction to it was adding to the “pussification” of America.

All the things are wrong with that. All of them.

Mass shootings are not funny. Pretending to have one isn’t funny. These are things I could not get him to understand without the AR-15, 2nd Amendment conversation that I’m so tired of having. He wasn’t ready to listen to the fact that gunfire-ish sounds in a school building was terrifying. It could have set off a plan that the students didn’t know about and maybe even gotten one of them shot.

He could not hear me.

The second amendment doesn’t protect the use of fireworks.

He could not hear me.

When I went on to his use of the word pussification, all hell broke loose.

Women are not weak. Having a vagina is not an automatic second class citizen sentence.

It ended with the thought that if pussy is so terrible, then why does he chase it so hard?

THAT is the only point of agreement we found.

So, fuck that guy in his dirty, stinking opinion.


TL;DR: Opinions are fine, but be open to logical arguments. Idiots abound. To think they don’t would be a rook mistake.

The One About the Last One

I wrote my the blog post about Memorial Day while I was at work. I didn’t really think much of it, just getting it off my chest a good four days after the fact. I went on to handle a few other things – no big deal. What I didn’t realize is that holding on to it for that long had really left a mark on me.

Within an hour of typing it up, paramedics were asking me questions and hooking me up to leads.

It started off as a little chest pain and I ignored it. It progressed to pressure, sweating, and I was unable to catch my breath. I didn’t associate the post with what was happening. Instead, I realized I was the same age as my dad when he had his first heart attack. That brought down the full on panics.

911 and 12 leads later, I told the paramedics I had PTSD. They wanted to know why. The words “combat vet” will sometimes upset people. No one in my PoB (place of business) knew. And there was no taking it back. A full siren, lights blazing ambulance and it’s firetruck escort has a way of jumpstarting the gossip machine. By now they all know. It’s one thing to have served at one time, because that could mean anything. It’s a different monster to have participated in the trading of bullets.  It isn’t shame that keeps me sharing this with the people I come in contact with on the daily, but the lack of wanting another person’s opinion about it. I don’t come to work to swap war stories. I don’t go there to give pieces of myself to virtual strangers. I come to work.

In case you’re worried, I’m fine. It wasn’t a heart attack. It was a straight up bona fide panic attack during working hours where the whole of place knows about me now.



TL;DR: Secrecy isn’t an option and you can’t unfuck the cat. Compartmentalization breaks down and people will know your shit. Deal with it.  Not dealing with it is a total Rook mistake.

Also, cardiologists are important.





The (Late) One About Memorial Day

I know, I know. I suck at blogging. Think of it this way, I write more when I’m feeling the need for a little therapy. No writey, no PTSDy issues.

But now I have to talk about my Memorial Day workout. The trainers thought it would be a hoot to divide our group up into the 4 branches (suck it, Coast Guard) and play a bunch of patriotic music. I’m fine with that. But when we come to the push yourselves phase, there’s a lot of DO IT FOR THE GUYS WHO CAN’T BECAUSE THEY’RE DEAD, but worded in a less offensive way. Spoiler: I still find it offensive. This is after she’s asked if there are vets in the group. (There are) Now, I’m offended that she’s using some of my buddies’ memories to coax the group into doing two more reps or another push up or honestly ANYTHING.

Look, I didn’t raise hell. I didn’t get all butt-hurt and try to ban everyone from going to workout with these people again. But I did talk to her about it in a kind and caring way after the majority of folks had gone home. Civi from a civ family. They don’t get it, man. She thought she was honoring their memory. And to some, maybe she was. But I’m not down with it. So, next year, I’ll skip this one.


TL;DR When you’re offended, sometimes it’s just you and that’s OK. Trying to lead a coup against everything that hurts your feelings is a  just another rook mistake.


The One About Ending It All

His name was Ingram.

It’s taken me a while to be able to articulate my thoughts on this.

Charles Ingram III out of Egg Harbor did willingly and with forethought set himself on fire at a VA hospital in Jersey.

Let that sink in.

A man bought gasoline, drove to the hospital, doused himself in the stuff, and lit it up.

A man who served his country on a float in the Med during Desert Storm burned himself alive at the place that was supposed to be providing the mental health services he needed.

He left his wife and had two kids under the age of 5.

What the actual fuck, people?

Where’s the outrage? Where’s the public outcry?

I’d only heard about it because of the pages I frequent. It didn’t make the news in Texas.

Welcome to the world of disposable heroes.

TL;DR: When no one listens people go drastic. Fuck, this is all a rook mistake.





The One About a Biker Church in a Bar

There’s this little dive bar that I like to drink in when I’m Dallas side. It’s in the north end just down the street from ridiculously priced homes, but in the same shopping center as a Texas Family Fitness. Weird, right? Anyway, it’s sketchier and more country than the places I might frequent closer to the Delta County seat. Passed a bike in the parking with a POW helmet hanging from the handlebars by the strap and a peace bear riding bitch. At 11 on a Sunday morning, there’s just 3 of us here and it seemed as good a place as any with no internet to write. But get this, when I asked the bartender to get the guy a beer on me, he told me that he’s in the back at the BIKER CHURCH. I didn’t know these things existed. When the music cut out, I could hear the preacher going on laying down some hellfire. “Those that were against god are still against Him. We will NOT open ourselves up to the demons. You KNOW the road to hell is paved with what? GOOD intentions, my friends.”Then there was pounding – as they agreed- I guess. I don’t know. I do know that I’m going to show up on Sunday mornings over here a little more often. Dude, BIKER CHURCH.

I got about 1500 hundred words written and bought that guy a beer.

TL;DR  There’s a biker church at my bar. I know, right?  I had to introduce myself to the vet in attendance, anything less would have been a rook mistake.