Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.
Some few, some happy few, some band of brothers of you mightn’t have thought about this song in a while. Which seems a shame.
But that’s not what I wanted to write about this morning. I actually wanted to tell you about the time I spent half a day poking around the town lots along the highway in Canyon City, Colorado looking for evidence of a long-burned out diner. Ian Tyson recorded the song in the 1960s and when I found myself in southwestern Colorado I couldn’t resist.
But I didn’t find the ruins of that diner and Jeanne, midway through writing this, advised me I wrote about searching for those ruins on here sometime before.
So there I was, riding a plastic saddle of a blog entry as a consequence of having a mind that functions too much it its own image when it comes to thinking up anecdotes to reflect on.
Hells bells. I could tell you about the young man who lives next door to Jeanne and his difficulties finding a job, but nevermind that. He’s a fine young man with a lot of experience as an automotive mechanic, but he has some brain disorder causing him to need an extremely expensive medication so he can think in straight lines. When he doesn’t get it his thoughts go everywhere.
$300-$400 per month the damned stuff costs and he doesn’t have medical insurance. So he quit taking it January and by March Mazda was deciding they didn’t need him anymore going to get the same wrench fifteen times and forgetting what he was after.
So from then until now he’s been looking for another job without measurable success, though he does a little security work filling in, and the night it snowed he drove a bobcat around clearing a parking lot.
But for any job of a regular nature nobody’s calling him back. Even though he worked eleven years for Mazda never a hitch.
So, when he’s not filling in applications for jobs he turns on this giant TV screen and loads up a game the likes of which I’ve never seen nor imagined. I is an authentic appearing urban environment with a lot of authentic appearing men in combat gear stalking one another around shooting one another and otherwise dealing misery. I’m guessing it’s a lot more seductive than working down at AutoZone selling auto parts.
Brent’s the man’s name and he’s taken to visiting me some, killing time. He told me about two documentary movies about Afghanistan he’s seen recently:
Restrepo 2010 R 93 minutes. Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington embed themselves with the Second Platoon in Afghanistan, chronicling the men’s work, fear and brotherhood
Korengal 2014 R 84 minutes. This follow-up to the Oscar-nominated documentary “Restrepo” delves into the experience of war and how it impacts those on the front lines.
I don’t have much interest in the US military adventures anywhere but he sparked my interest and I watched them. Glad I did because it revealed something I hadn’t thought seriously about.
Those honest-to-goodness US soldiers stationed in the hottest combat zone in Afghanistan being followed constantly with cameras and recorders throughout their tour loved war! During firefights they whooped and cheered when they thought they killed someone. And between firefights they pined for someone to shoot at.
When they’d almost served out their tour the cameraman asked them, “What are you going to miss most about Afghanistan?”
A surprising number answered, “Shooting people.”
Under questioning it was clear none of those troops thought they were doing anything patriotic. They’d been filtered from the US population to find people who’d hooha their way out into the killing fields and love every minute of it.
So when the young guy neighbor said he regretted he couldn’t join because of his daughters and his medical condition it went a long way to explain that game he loves playing on his television. A plastic saddle.
One of the GIs gave an interesting reply though, on one of those documentaries.
“I’m going to have to go home and live with what I’ve done. I think God hates me. God didn’t intend people to do what we do here.
“I hate it when people say ‘you did what you had to do. I didn’t have to do anything. I didn’t have to kill anyone. I didn’t have to join the Army. I chose all that and now I have to live with it.”
With vets offing themselves at a rate of one per hour the guy might be a worthy object for study by the people who worry about such matters. It ain’t a plastic saddle he’s riding back to the Home of the Brave.