Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tales from the Tube

One of the best real life shoot-em-up combat memoirs is by Eugene "Sledgehammer" Sledge, "With the Old Breed on Pelelui and Okinawa." He talks about one time talking with some fellow jar-heads when it was quiet and hearing a voice say, "you will survive." No one else heard it, and he let it pass. Well, something like that happened to me.

When I was serving my supremely unsuccessful time in the United States Navy, from which I am supremely proud to have received an Honorable Discharge, something like that happened to me. I had two roommates: one happy-go-lucky know-it-all from Ohio or something, and one hopeless dipsh*t from god knows where. Well, one night I was trying to go to sleep, something about military life prevented me from sleeping like a normal person, maybe it was smoking too much, the cigarettes were two dollars a carton, well, one dollar and ninety cents actually, and the dipsh*t came "home" hopelessly drunk. I'm not sure he'd ever been drunk before, but he was sure drunk that night. It was late, like one a.m. He was a garrulous drunk, and felt like lecturing me about what was obviously a resentment that had been building for some time. It wasn't like he didn't like me; he resented me. I was a big-city-know-it-all who had a pretty girl friend and still had the nerve to complain all the time. In the middle of a semi-incomprehensible rant he suddenly sat up straight and spoke clearly: "you will always be alright, but you will never be happy." It was like I'd been struck by lightning; obviously the sentiment was beyond this un-gelernte hayseed. Something had put the sentiment into his unworthy head, and communicated it to me through him.

Time has proven him, or the host spirit, to be correct. I have always been OK, but happy? well, cheerful at best. I sure don't even come close to remembering his name, but I can still see his face. In the dark, right under my Jimi Hendrix poster.

I'm not complaining now. Ok is good, considering.

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