Category Archives: PTSD

That’s Crazy Talking

During last night’s debate, John McCain continued to define his status as a maverick who stands apart, by sounding the alarm and warning us not a moment to soon, that the very fabric of democracy was in danger of being torn apart. Because of voter apathy, our democracy is not what it could be,surely though it is strong enough to resist the stress that tests. It is not in danger of being destroyed, least of all by a small band of rogues.

En route to becoming an overnight sensation and some sort of symbol, a guy called “Joe the Plumber” was mentioned by Mr. McCain more than twenty times. Today we found out that his name is actually Samuel Wurzelbacher and that, though he isn’t recognized as a plumber by the union or licensed as a plumber by the state, he does happen to work for a plumbing company. In the wake of Governor Palin’s nomination, no one accuses the McCain camapign overly vetting the people it chooses to represent them.

Things truly took a desperate turn when Senator McCain turned reports of  outbursts at his own rallies around on the Democratic Presidential nominee, and damanded that Obama “repudiate“, recent “hurtful” comments, by Senator John Lewis. McCain went on to claim that both candidates need to “absolutely not stand the kinds of things that have been going on”, forgetting how things had gone on at his own events, while he just stood there and winced.

The Arizona Senator came across like curmudgeonly Grandpa Simpson in response to a question about Joe Biden.  He praised Biden and condemned him, before the  solidifying his own image as an angry old man by using the word “cockamamie“. Intrigued my McCain’s use of a term that sounds nothing but ironic when uttered by anyone under seventy, I discovered it’s origin is in the word word decalomania, which was an art form that was popular in the United States during the late 1800’s. Cockamamie, the slang term that derived, last saw wide usage in this country about forty years ago during the 1960’s.

The pariotism of John McCain remains unchallenged because he endured more than five years in a cell during the Vietnam War at the hands of merciless captors. For his service to this country we all owe Mr. McCain a debt of gratitude. The time he spent in that cell, though it could be used as an explanation for Mr. McCain’s unwillingness to adopt any viewpoint other the his own, even for perspective, is a testament to Mr. McCains immovable courage and sense of duty to his country. John McCain’s time as a POW is also one of the reasons that he does not have either the temperament or the decision making skills to be the President of the United States during a time when this country needs someone who comes across as steady, even handed and rational.

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Errant Parent And The Day Hell Came To Visit

I heard an 18 year old porn star interviewed this morning on the Stern Show. Generally this is the kind of guest who is par for the course on Howard’s Show, but Summer Verona was not only introduced to the porn game by her step father, he also serves as her manager, and in this capacity, the step father is on set to supervise her escapades. We also learned that her step father is the one who takes it upon himself to make sure that her mons pubis is appropriately shorn for action and that he does the waxing himself. Now I am about as open minded as it gets and have very little problem with things that many would cringe at, but a step daddy shopping his wife’s barely grown daughter around to porn producers seems just a little inappropriate. Surely a step father grooming the genitalia of his wife’s daughter is over the invisible line that seperates icky from o.k..

This weekend in the New York Times there was an article about  how some of the soldiers that left for Iraq and Afghanistan confident, capable, and mentally stable are returning rattled, broken, and in some cases, as a menace to society. Of course when individuals are forced to confront the horror and devastation that a war machine and it’s weapons can inflict, it can wreak havoc inside a persons mind and things that were formerly considered reasonable can distort, and become entirely new perceptions and sensations.  It starts when you enlist, and the concepts of diplomacy and tolerance are forsaken on behalf of force and power. We teach our children not to raise their fists to one another, yet as adults we solve our most vexing problems through strength and violence, bending others to our agenda or else, as Reagan joked about The USSR, the bombing will begin in five minutes. The maxim is simple; a knife beats a club, a gun beats a knife, a bomb beats a gun, and a nuclear bomb is the trump card. You can check out the entire article at this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/us/13vets.html?scp=1&sq=veteran+%2B+murder

Back in 1989 when I was serving onboard the U.S.S. IOWA (BB-61), I was primerman for the center gun  in turret number one on the day that Brian Gendron, the Primerman for center gun in turret number two was obliterated along with 46 other guys. Some of the victims that day were blown apart into tiny unrecognizable bits, and others who could surely could see their demise coming by the position of their lifeless bodies, were only strangled to death by the thick, acrid smoke, that accompanied the fire. Like myself, Brian Gendron had joined the Navy to earn college money,  and to say he eagerly awaited his discharge is an understatement of the highest order because he loathed the Navy, and as it turns out, rightfully so.

 The eleven hours that I spent in that hell retrieving the bodies of those guys, completely changed my life, and I can honestly say that I have never thought about anything the same way ever since. They offered us counseling and made psychiatrists available to anyone who wanted to talk to them, but the culture in the military is big on machismo and rugged individualism, so most of us chose not to speak with someone who might have helped us to make sense of the whole goddamned mess. When all of this happened I wasn’t even twenty years old yet and frankly I really had no idea how important it could be to talk about something so traumatic. The bottom line is the military had a responsibility to force treatment upon me and everyone else who was there that day, especially those of us who went into that turret to retrieve the fallen. To this day I have never sat down with anyone to sort through the dark cloud of emotions that were aroused by the events of that day and I wonder how my life might have been diferent had I not been there that day at all. At least I remain to consider such thoughts, of the four of us that sat together at breakfast on the morning of April 19, 1989, I was the only one left alive by dinner time that night.

 After I was finished with The Navy I asked my Dad why he did not talk me out of enlisting and his answer was that he did not talk me into it. Sometimes, what seems like the right decision turns out to be not so much, while at other times, choices may seem entirely appropriate to an individual while society at large looks on with disdain. Life can be tricky, and it’s truths will always be elusive, but there are two certainties generally accepted by most people; Veterans deserve treatment for PTSD, and parents should never take up the cause of hair removal on their childrens genetalia. Have a great day everyone. Oh yeah, one more thing; Rest In Peace Brian.