Friday, May 18, 2007


Whenever I find myself in a large social gathering where I'll be for several hours, (i.e., weddings, concerts, etc) I tend to subconsciously scan the room and and pick out the one guy that I think is the most attractive. At my friend's wedding last weekend that guy turned out to be one of the Groomsmen.

Although he wasn't a "pick-my-jaw-up-off-the-floor" type of guy, he looked hot as hell in his suit and had those horizontal/narrow but wide deep brown eyes that never fail to draw me in. Not a big guy, but easily 5-'10" and you could tell he had a nicely toned body. The high and tight haircut indicated he was a Marine, which I later learned that he is.

It's rare to actually interact with what I call the "one-night-crush", but he proved to be the exception to that rule. After the wedding reception ended around 11PM or so his friend loudly reminded the remaining revelers that he would throwing a party in his room around Midnight.

Since I was staying there and not ready to retire to my hotel room with a broken television, I obviously joined them, along with my friends that were going to stay up late. Whew, it felt good to get rid of that suit and put jeans and a t-shirt on!

You might think this is leading up to some hook up or something, but it's not (sorry Hamilton).

This hotel was actually more of a lodge with a main building and a half circle of cabins nestled amongst the woods. This meant that everyone could be loud as they wanted to be without disturbing those already asleep. As I neared the entrance to the cabin I could hear the familiar strains of that old Sublime song, "Garden Grove".

Inside about 20 people were dancing and drinking and generally having a good time. The Marine had changed into some board shorts and an old t-shirt and was handing out beers to everyone while manning his iPod dock.

The Marine: "Hey man, we got Miller Lite, Bud Lite or PBR, whaddua want?"
Me: "Uh, whatever man, it's all the same right?"
The Marine: "Right!"

He tossed me a Miller Lite.

After a few hours and several more beers most of us were totally shitfaced but determined to carry on and empty that Bathtub Full of Beer.

While sharing a smoke with my friend on the porch the Marine came outside and joined us. I ask him what it's like being in the military and he answers:

The Marine: "Well, it's fucked up. I'm 22 years old and in charge of 12 men. Half of which are a lot older than myself."
Me: "Holy Shit man, that must be crazy!"
The Marine: "About a week before I got home I spent an entire day picking up body parts."
Me: "What the fuck?"

Apparently he was on patrol with his men one day and 2 or 3 suicide bombers detonated themselves inside of a crowded market, resulting over 50 deaths. At this point in the conversation I noticed how his eyes grew wider as he started to recount the gruesome details and what it's like to pick up a severed arm.

During the rest of the conversation my friend and I just stood there not asking any questions and just exclaiming various "that's fucked!" or "jesus man!".

One day on patrol the Humvee in front of his hit an IED and exploded, and he had to rescue his fellow men, one of which died from his injuries.

Now, I was in no way fishing for gory details. When he started telling me how many people he thinks he killed I tried steering the conversation back to the more mundane details of military life, to no avail.

This is the first time I've had a first hand account of what's really like over in Iraq and HOLY FUCKING SHIT, it's at least 10X more fucked than I could ever have imagined.

And all I could I could say was "Thank you man". Is there anything more you can say? Not once were politics ever discussed. As told me "well, it's just my job".

I hope he doesn't have to go back...


Hamilton said...

Man... I think it is pretty crazy for anyone to go to a war like this.

I read this article about how our generation is like the coward generation. Lots people wouldn't care less as long as they don't have to sacrifice. I think it is kinda true. However, when other young people still have the courage to participate, I think it is incredible.

One guy and one girl from my strategy class are going to the war soon. I mean, they are studying in USC's business school, they really didn't have to do that AT ALL. but they chose to do so and I have to applaud to that.

On a lighter note, my computer is fucking up. I am really pissed. I know compared to your car incident, I really shouldn't whine like a bitch, but this is so fucking annoying. I am going soon, it'd better work!! sigh...

VJ said...

War is gruesome and you'll need more than one side of the story to fully understand what is happening in Iraq.

The best thing you did was thank him for his sacrifices. All of the the soldiers need a nice vacation when they come back.

Silly Billy said...

I have a friend from college who served 2 years in Iraq. He had to leave grad school to do so as he got called up as part of the Reserves.

When I saw him when he came back, he was totally different. And not in a good way. He told me some stories and all I can say, is God Bless those guys. Half of whom never imagined they would be doing this.

jay said...

I can't even begin to imagine what that's like.