Who the fuck joins the Navy? says me, a deluded city kid who knows nothing but the smell of burnt pretzels and trash which has yet to be collected in the morning. well, that was the first thing that crossed my mind when my friend told me he was enlisting. To be honest, Im not really sure how to feel about it. I’m not the type of person who becomes an emotional wreck over other peoples shit, and I respect the decisions of others (or at least if I respect the person), but I do have my own opinions, as well as care about his well being. He’s talented as all hell but has that dangerous sense of adventure that makes you do things that most writers, like myself, only have wet dreams about, before deciding to write fiction. But I couldn’t help but think he was throwing a big part of his life away. You know, the part which keeps you not-dead.
I’ve asked around to a few people who I thought might be in the know regarding how safe the Navy actually is. My friend told me about a kid from highschool who joined the Navy. She said he got ripped, saw the world, made lifetime friends, then spent the rest of his Tour in Japan, where he met some flat Chested vixen who got off on serving him hot sake with a side of hot sucky. it all sounded pretty appealing, to be honest.
But then I asked my grandfather. He’s a war vet, who served in some of America’s bigger skirmishes, and has the quiet, broodish personality to prove it as well. I visited him at the Vets home to ask him some questions. When I arrived he was sneaking a cigarette, sitting in the corner of the room by the window. Half in shadow, his face was divided by bars of shade, cast from the blinds. From what the nurses told me, he smoked very frequently. I didn’t ask, but wondered why they hadn’t stopped him. But when I really thought about it, it wasn’t all that odd that they gave him all the room he wanted. he was treated much the same by his family when he was living at home. It was the only way to live with Grandpa Joe. I started to speak, announce my presence as not to sneak up on him. He wouldn’t like that “Hey Gr-”
“Sit down” he called, cutting me off. He hadn’t known I was coming, but he had always had a keen awareness for when his space was being invaded. I wasn’t really sure what to say. Hello, good to see you didn’t really seem appropriate at all, even as a formailty. He would see right through that bullshit. So instead I meagerly raised a hand to wave, then let it drop to my side, and jumped right into my questioning. I asked about the Navy, and told him about my friend. He was quiet for a moment, and then he spit into a pill bottle, which he extinguished his cigarette in. He looked up at me, the illumination of his face shifting in the light that was allowed by the blinds. I could see his face clearly now. His left eye was slightly shut, almost winking. It had been done surgically, as he lacked the ability to fully open it because of nerve damage. His lips were chap, partially from constant chain smokin, but also because he rarely took in fluids . He appeared older, and grayer for someone his age, if that is possible. He pulled another cigarette from within a pocket in his wheelchair, lighting it with a zippo that I discovered, he kept tucked between his belt and the waistband of his pants. “I’ll tell you one thing” he said, his one good eye meeting eye. His contact took me off guard. You could say that I wasn’t expecting contact so purposeful, and direct.”They gunna set his shit straight” he dragged deeply. My memory lapsed for a moment, and I had forgotten what exactly he was answering. Right, my friend who enlisted.”He might be safer in the Navy, but I tell you what, a lot of us weren’t, and he might not be either. Theyre sending boys from the Navy over to Iraq. That Mick from down the hall, his nephew joined the Navy. they trained him, sent him over as an EOD. They sent him home in two plastic bags. Little prick didn’t see whuat was coming” my grandfather looked up and chuckled. “Well, actually he probably set the damn thing off.” I later learned EOD stands for Explosive Ordnance Detonator. Grandpa Joe wheeled around towards me, and lifted up a towel which was laying next to him in his chair. He unrolled it, and there was a jar of pure china white cocaine. I looked at Grandpa Joe bewildered. He suddenly looked 20 years younger, and twice as festive. I took a twenty from my wallet, and he took a twenty from his money clip. Let’s just say we spent the rest of the night with a pair of escorts, dancin’ and getting blown.
well…. Okay, I don’t actually have a grandfather who lives in a a Vet’s Hospital. I pulled most of that INFORMATION(sure. let’s call it that) from google and yahoo answers.. and I happen to be reading a lot of Tim O’ Brien books right now. Excuse me for having an active imagination and a boring grandfather. well, no I take that back. My grandfather served in WWII, and was honorably discharged because of an injury ( he broke his arm playing ping pong… for real.)
I think there was a point in there somewhere, or perhaps I was just trying to avoid putting any thought into something that deserves some real consideration. Well,
good luck man.