Not The Frog
Khuk Khak, Thailand – If you’ve heard this already, stop me. It’s not the point here to bore you with war stories, but for two reasons; some I’d like to work up as a creative writing exercise, trying to pare it down, use just the right words for the visual imagery, leaving just enough out for the reader to create it themselves, just for the fun of it; and some I’d like to tell, just as an interesting tale; and some I’d like to just get out, y’know; and some should just be put into writing for my kids and grandkids.
Dictionary says, ‘Long-ass sentence. Consider revising.’ Is that lead too wordy? Are you captivated yet?
One day while sitting with a group of friends, I unfolded a short but captivating war story, condensed, considering what I presumed to be the attention spans of the audience and my capability to hold them spellbound, and my son Digger was sitting there looking astonished, saying afterward, something to the effect of, “I never heard you tell that before,” or, “you never talked about it much.” Something like that.
Dictionary says, same same, consider revising..
And it occurred to me that, yeah, I didn’t talk about it much to the kids. If people asked, I’d talk about it, and sometimes, out of the blue, when someone else is relating a personal story or circumstance, I might ask, “What the fuck’s that got to do with the ‘Nam?”
You know, just for laughs.
So lately, the writing has served as an unbeknownst element of therapy for the DSMIII’s (APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Whatever you’ve got, they’ve got a name for it) Delayed Grief Syndrome and Survivor’s Guilt and who knows what else a person might deny for decades is going on.
Delayed grief is just what it says, delayed grief. A person can’t cry, right there, right then, so they put it off for later, sometimes a long time. Survivor’s guilt is wondering the rest of your life why you got to live when the person you were with didn’t.
Now, we can seat back in our comfortable chairs and hear the story, detached, empathetic, tuned in, or thinking about lunch, but as many of you may know, just by life’s circumstances, when that stuff is going down, at a personal level, it’s some deep doo doo.
And, as a nation, we’re in for more and deeper doo doo as our young people return home from their war, their homicidal suicidal stats already bewildering. Like, worse than us.
Johnny Reb’s ‘Soldier’s Blues.’ John Wayne’s ‘Battle Fatigue’, ‘Shell-Shocked’ on the Korean penninsula, and ‘PTSD’ in the ‘Nam. Let’s give it another new and improved name, appropriate to our age.
I can’t think of any, right now. You got one?
Something Something Something Terror.
Anyway, that stuff up there, that psychiatric shit, that’s just a thumbnail of the passive, innocent headtrips! You don’t have to be a killer. Think of the major monstrous Gibraltar-load of torment of the individuals who actively manufactured the horror. Tip of the iceberg, my bruthas. You can see the front edge of the pipeline at any VA hospital in the country.
You don’t have to be a soldier to suffer post-traumatic stress. Anything can happen to anybody. How about your IRA, your stock value, or that of your home? Shell-shocked yet? Lose your job? A house? A loved one? Was it traumatic? What have you lost?
Blessed is he who can say, ‘Just a set of keys.’
So, periodically, a poem or war tale can appear here, talk of Jesus, talk of love, Buddha’s footprints, Sun Dance buds.