“Here, hold this!” said the Texan to his credulous girlfriend as he handed her his half-empty half-pint of Jim Beam, stomped the shit out of the accelerator on his pickup truck and flew headlong into oblivion…
“I don’t need no stinkin’ roads. I’m going to Afghanistan!”
I need to be ‘institutionalized’ somewhere far far away.
In a place where life is tenuous at worst and exciting at best and the pay is good and booze is scarce and the women are… well, usually not to be found, except on the Internet.
That is how Lance stays out of trouble…
It works well-enough in theory anyway.
The following is Part One of a transcribed letter I wrote to a Significant Other while cooling my heels in Helmand Province and Kandahar, Afghanistan trying to get my CAC renewed (Common Access Card: An ID card for Civilians working with the U.S. Military).
‘South Park’ is, for lack of a better term, A Holding Facility ‘soullessly owned and operated’ by DynCorp International for transients, itinerants, illiterates, sycophants, miscreants, and other sad and lonely temporarily homeless people just trying to travel through, hoping to land somewhere else, anywhere else, and the sooner the better…
South Park is understaffed, under-financed, under-achieving, under-esteeming, underwhelming, and sometimes underwater.
It is also overpopulated, misconceiving, deceiving and just plain infuriating.
Southpark will depress you, repress you, digress you, digest you, and shit you out if you allow it.
Writing saved me from insanity there.
“I’ve gotta go to South Park?”
“You’re shitting me, right?”
Saturday 28 July 2012, Camp Dwyer PAX Terminal, Afghanistan 1218hrs
I’m sitting in the PAX terminal. We boarded the plane, (Sixties-Era, prop job) a couple of hours ago, but they were just kidding.
After sitting on the tarmac for about forty five minutes they brought us back here. Seems someone forgot to feed the hamsters which are actually responsible for propelling the plane and hence, they died.
We were told not to worry; they are flying in some fresh, well-fed hamsters from KAF (Kandahar Air Field) and once they get those settled into the plane’s power plant, we will be good to go: wheels up around 1430hrs.
So here I sit, thinking of you, Dubai, and Hamster Avionics.
This PAX terminal isn’t too bad, as these places go. (I have seen worse—and better). Like every other facility on Dwyer, it is a tent, but it is a rather enormous tent and they have provided the weary travelers with bottled water and MRE’s. So I am sated, as far as it goes. You see, I really am low maintenance.
Not being inclined to ignore any opportunity to ‘talk’ to you, I am using the tools (pen and paper) I thoughtfully provided myself in the event such opportunity did manifest itself. So here I sit, happily communicating to you using Nineteenth Century Technology. I do hope you are properly impressed.
Page From Original Document
“And what lovely penmanship!” She exclaimed.
“Thank you,” he said.
Looking about the terminal, I have pronounced us a motley crew: About a dozen or so Indians & Sri Lankans, some Filipinos, a smattering of American Expats, couple of Brits, and a few bored Marines scattered about and some behind the counter, whose job it is to search the TCN’s.
The counter has a sign which reads:
“TCN Search Area.”
TCN: ‘Third Country National.’ in case you didn’t know.
“What did you do in The War, Daddy?”
“Son, I put my hands all over aromatic TCN’s.”
“What’s a TCN Daddy?’
“Uh…That’s a very sophisticated weapons system Son.”
1310hrs: PAX Terminal, Dwyer
Ok, for amusement, I took an inventory of the MRE’s stacked on pallets here in the terminal:
56 cases of MRE’s per pallet
12 MRE’s per case
Total MRE’s: 10,080 (assuming my arithmetic is correct, a rather liberal assumption)
Posted on each pallet are four signs which read:
DO NOT EAT!
MRE stands for “Meal, Ready to Eat,” in case you didn’t know, or in this case, “Meal, Not Ready to Eat.”
(“We done been eatin’ ‘em anyways. Hope we don’t die of ptomaine before the hamsters do, causing our Turbo Prop to morph into a glider…”)
1441hrs: Still in PAX terminal
Announcement: “Listen up! We couldn’t get the hamsters here, but we’ve drafted a couple of gerbils and they’re fit for duty.”
(‘Now there’s some happy news,’ I mused.)
He continued, “For all those going to KAF, this means now you’re flying non-stop…”
(Guess gerbils aren’t certified for multi-destination air duty.)
“…and your luggage is already back on the plane. As soon as we warm up the gerbils, you fly. Those of you who are going to FOB Shindan, you will follow me now.”
Someone pipes up, “Are we walking?”
There’s one in every crowd…
Having a few minutes to kill while the gerbils are doing their warm up exercises, I return to the MRE pile and rat-fuck a couple of the boxes.
Then I saw another sign which had previously gone unnoticed by me:
‘Rat-Fuck’ is a technical term which simply means, “To open several bags of MRE’s and take only the premium items, leaving the not premium items for the next schmuck attempting to do same.”
An example of this would be taking all the Reece’s Pieces and chocolate chip cookies, leaving only the cardboard crackers and synthetic peanut butter.
Wheels up and airborne and the gerbils gerbilling their little asses off. Time to destination: thirty minutes.
1613hrs: Flying High (I wish)
I am seated in a window seat. Normally I would take the aisle, but I wanted to describe the spectacular view and with all the beautiful details of this rarified vista below:
Perusing the in-flight movie list (from the one inside my head), I select Lawrence of Arabia (with subtitles in Pashtun). I estimate getting about half-way through the opening credits before we touch down. I listen to the wonderful Academy Award winning musical score.
The scenes of the burning desert are so real inside my head that I actually break a sweat. This Special Effect is helped along quite nicely by the fact that the air-conditioning on this aircraft in non-functional. I suppose one of the collateral duties of the deceased hamsters was operating the A/C unit.
1638hrs: Wheels Down
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Beautiful Kandahar.”
(I do not doubt his sincerity, but I did detect a bit of sarcasm in his voice.)
“For safety, you are required”, he continued, “to wear your full body armor with your helmet when exiting the aircraft. There really is no danger, but we want you to sweat just that much more. Thank you for flying Gryphon Airlines today and once again, we apologize for the teeny tiny delay we had in leaving Camp Dwyer and we do hope you will… uh, be flying with us again soon.”
P.S. If You Don’t Know The Genesis Of This Song, You Probably Have Swerved Onto The Wrong Blog. Please Take Your Leave Quietly. And Don’t Forget To Shut The Door On Your Way Out. I Have an Aversion to Flies. Thank You.
She Makes Me ‘Happy’–Sort-Of. I Love Her! I Desire Her In My Life. “‘Tis A Consummation Devoutly to Be Wished”
(Sorry Y’all–Wrong Play Reference)
‘Shakespearean’ Kind of Day. This Here Cowboy… For My Missed Sis: Madelyn, My Lady Macbeth: I Miss Her, Marvelous Much, And I’ll Never Forgive Her–For Dying On Me. Bitch!
“Look like th’innocent flower,
But be the Serpent under’t” or “Come you spirits, That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.”—
–Lady Mac B
Out Of All Shakespearean Female Characters
This Cowboy Finds Lady Macbeth
The Most Captivating
The Most Fascinating
The Most Stimulating
The Most Everlasting
Francesca Annis, The Best Lady Macbeth
Ever! and Forever!
“Take The Dagger”
She Didn’t Verbalize That. She Didn’t Have To
Just Look Into Her Eyes. Could You Say ‘No?”
I Know I couldn’t.
My dearest love,
Duncan comes here tonight.
And when goes hence?
Tomorrow, as he purposes.
Shall sun that morrow see!
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters. To beguile the time,
Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye,
Your hand, your tongue. Look like th’ innocent flower,
But be the serpent under ’t. He that’s coming
Must be provided for; and you shall put
This night’s great business into my dispatch,
Which shall to all our nights and days to come
Give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.
We will speak further
Only look up clear.
To alter favor ever is to fear.
Leave all the rest to me
“Unsex Me Here”
Why do I hold Lady Macbeth in such high esteem one may ask?
Isn’t it patently obvious?
She is cunning. She is manipulative. She is strong. (Much stronger than her husband)
“Screw your courage to the sticking-place,And we’ll not fail.
”Have You Lost Your Mind? Your Will?”
She is intelligent.
She is ‘ambition-on-steroids’.
She is resolute.
She is brave.
She is Affectionate and Loving.
(Yes! Oh Yes She Is!—To her husband)
She is loyal (The whole world of her ambition is her husband)
She is broken.
She is madness. (In mind and in deed)
“Out! damned spot! One, two, — why, then ‘tis time to do’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? – Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.”
Anyone who ‘reads me’ knows my position on ‘artists’ and art.
If you do not, here is the ‘short’ version:
“I don’t give two cups of warm spit about what they (artists, creators, movie stars, entertainers, et cetera) do off camera, off stage, away from the set, away from the recording booth.Or whatever they choose to do while in their boudoirs.
All I care about is what they create.
Does it enrich my life?
Does it entertain me?
Does it educate me?
Does it make me laugh?
Does it make me cry?
Does it move me?
Or Does It Waste My Time?
These are the only measures of worth I employ.”
Anything Else IS A WASTE of my Mental Energy and My Time.
And My Time is the Most Valuable Thing I Own.
Or as we say in Texas (Usually about Land, but it fits even better in this context):
“Time, get all you can.
Keep all you can.
They ain’t making any more of it.”
That door swings both ways:
So, I hope I have NOT wasted YOUR Time.
More Two Cents Worth Regarding Art and Artists Here:
Below Please Find The Relevant Text If You Do Not Want To Follow The Link To The Complete Post Above.
Now I am cognizant of the fact that there are myriad ‘Madonna Haters’ out there in ‘Radio Land.’
Here is My Philosophy, (Well-Documented in some of my posts) and some advice:
You don’t have to love the ‘artist-person’ to love the art. There are lots of performers I detest because of their off-stage persona or antics, or just piss-poor personality in general.
But… That does not stop me from enjoying and appreciating their art.
I do not give two shits about their politics, arrogance, religion, sexual preferences, et cetera. If their art entertains and enriches my life, I am good with them.
On the other hand, they can be as wonderful and charming as all get out, but if they have no true performance talent, I move on.
Here is the advice part for anyone out there who may need it:
Do not be so narrow and small-minded, and full of your own morality that you prevent yourself from enjoying good art.
Want a Second Opinion?
Watch this from Critical Drinker
So Fukken Poignant
If Not, That loss is yours.
And yours alone.
Believe me, the artists, the great ones especially, don’t give a shit if you boycott them or not.
Try to remember:
“Life is a Cabaret”
Enjoy it while it lasts. Don’t deny yourself value and enjoyment in your life just because some great performer pisses you off due to their persona while off-stage.