Category Archives: Veteran

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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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The One About Sticks

I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Hell, I don’t even pretend to know where the answers live. I might have seen them once from a distance, but I probably wouldn’t recognize them if I saw them again.

There are all these self-help books out there. They all basically say the same thing. They want you to know that you’re not as worthless as you feel and there’s HOPE for you. It’s not that easy.

Hope can suck a frog.

Sure wish I could do that.

Go suck a frog.

I hope one day I’ll..

Go suck a frog.

With a wish and a little fairy dust anything is possible…

Go suck a herd of frogs.

Get off your ass. Stop internally beating yourself up and take some action. My daddy used to tell me, “You’re not a tree. If you don’t like something MOVE.”

TL;DR: If you don’t like something go get your stick and CHANGE it. Sitting around wishing is the same a pissing an moaning. That’s a rook mistake.a2NXEze_700b

The One About Today

Your body knows. There are things you put things out of your mind with time, a few blind drunks, and the help of good friends. But the body remembers. It holds the pains and ills, the evils inflicted and those we inflict. Muscle memory is a thing, y’all. It’s alive and holding me hostage today.

Expected to do some things around the house and then run off to see The Maltese Falcon with the cool kids. Can’t. It’s a no go day.

It started with the stress in my shoulders. They feel like poured concrete now, ever stiffening, pulling everything taunt and out of kilter. Next came clenched teeth. Jaw muscles like golf balls. I am uncomfortable in my own skin.

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DL;dr: Pictures say it all.

When you feel it coming down on you, listen to your body. BREATHE. Don’t go it alone, man. That’s a rook mistake.

The One About Being a Good Citizen

I screwed up. Driving across DFW no man’s land in the early morning hours resulted in a ticket. Plano PD clocked me at 62 in a 45. On an ACCESS ROAD. It was dark and cold and there were lights and loud noises and my adrenaline dumped.

Hands locked and frozen at 10 and 2. Flashlight in my face. His first words were, “Do you know how fast you were going?” I had no concept. I didn’t respond because I didn’t have any words. Lizard brain threatened to take over. He asked me again, this time a little louder.

My throat went dry. My hands were sweating, shaking.

I responded with the first thing that came to mind. “Officer, I have PTSD.”

He pulled the flashlight back, and looked at me and in a very calm voice that had noticeably softened asked if I knew where my DL was. I could nod. He asked if I could get it for him. Again, I could nod. He said, “Breathe. I’m not here to hurt you.” And I found that I could stop white-knuckling the steering wheel to fish it out of my bag. He remained very professional, authoritative, but soft-spoken at the same time. By the end of our 8 minutes together, I’d almost reset to normal.

Almost. I mean, I did get a ticket on the access road to 75. What the hell? Who drives 45 when getting on the highway? In Dallas?? They’ll run you over. (Or maybe that “they” is actually me. Whoa. Matrix moment)

He was a good citizen of the world and helped me maintain.

Thank you, Officer Jackson. And thank you to the Plano PD for sensitivity training or for just hiring a guy with a good heart.

TL;dr: Don’t be an asshole when you’ve broken the rules or when you’re enforcing them. It’s rook mistake.

 

The One About Wounded Warrior

Wounded Warrior came under attack recently for lavish spending.

It seems simple to me. A large organization has more overhead. A small “all volunteer” group can be more efficient, but the impact of a larger group can be more significant.

It spent a whopping $149 million on direct care for wounded troops, while other large national charities have entire budgets worth tens of millions”

$149mil in direct care. Did you read that right? 149 million dollars in directly caring for the wounded. How’s that for efficient? They’ve also increased veteran mental health assets. They also promote re-education, training, outreach, redirection for other vet charities or groups, etc. 

The mission of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is to honor and empower Wounded Warriors. Our vision is to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of injured service members in our nation’s history.

Who else is doing this? WHO? The VA? Don’t kid yourself.

From a friend’s experience — they (WWP) call to check on you and help with VA issues FOR FREE!! Did you read that right?  FOR FREE! You don’t even have to join anything to get help.

If you can build an organization that puts over a $100 million in direct application to your cause, then congrats, I applaud you. If you can’t, then consider letting those who can, do so.

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TL;dr

The Wounded Warrior Project is tried and true with the help it provides.

Don’t always believe News that sells, because it isn’t always the news. That’s a rook mistake.