The WikiLeaks dump of thousands of military documents detailing the everyday horrors of war in Afghanistan didn’t include a lot of important strategic information. It did give substantial insight into the frustrations and dangers being faced by our soldiers, fresh reasons to honor the awful sacrifice being made there by our fighting men and women.
To a lesser degree, we all face routine but terrifying tribulations as we go about our daily lives. You may not be worried about roadside bombs hampering your daily commute to work (unless you live in certain parts of New Jersey or Arizona). However, there are some truly frightful potholes, road-raged motorists and poorly engineered intersections, all of which contribute to a feeling of being embattled. At least we get to return home to our families every evening, a reassuring thought unless your mother-in-law has imposed Sharia law in your household to go along with her bland meatloaf and questionable choices for television viewing.
Like the Army brass that had been chronicling the minutiae of a million encounters with wartime dangers, I too have been keeping a journal of my daily battle to survive. I think it’s also worthy of a dump, though maybe not the digital kind. Regardless, what follows is an excerpt from a typical day. New York Times, help yourself.
- ALARM WENT OFF AT 4. FUMBLED IN THE DARK TO FIND MY SOCKS SO I WOULDN’T WAKE UP MY WIFE. I KNOW PROPER GEAR IS IMPORTANT BUT DO WE REALLY NEED SOCKS IN THE SUMMERTIME? AND WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT, ONE OF THEM HAS A HOLE IN THE HEEL. THIS LIFE IS HELL.
- Flossed teeth per American Dental Association prescribed 5 minutes, and was careful to use an up-and-down brushing motion rather than side-to-side. Regs suck. I refuse however to brush after every meal. Rather have every tooth fall out of my head than spend half the day on proper dental care. Doesn’t seem to hurt the Taliban.
- Provisions prepared and packed into sack. Not too sure about expire date on the TF [tuna fish] and the CAC [Chips Ahoy cookies] are little but crumbs. So inconvene.
- MORNING DRIVE TO OFFICE IS PERILOUS IN THE DARK, WHAT WITH ALL THE WANDERING WILDLIFE. REMNANTS OF PREVIOUS IEDs [Improvised Explosive Deer] ARE EVERY FIVE MILES IN BREAKDOWN LANE ON INTERSTATE.
- Almost to work when I hit security checkpoint that may be bogus. Bright red light swinging above street is local signal I can’t proceed till bald tattooed guy pulls up next to my car and gives threatening look. Last week had to pay off with carton of cigs here but today he lets me go. Sometimes, it’s just the uncertainty that gets you.
- Finally arrive at forward position for today’s post. Email from local commander says I’m delinquent on required training for new expense report system, so first half of day will be wasted. As a child, dreamed of glory on the battlefield and all I get is reminder that corporate credit card can’t be used for personal purchases. Boss is such a mother-[redacted] cock-[redacted].
- Heading out for coffee break. Thought I had more than quarter tank of gas. Insurgents from next office park draining petrol again?
- I WANT A SESAME BAGEL TOASTED WITH LO-FAT CREAM CHEESE AND MEDIUM COFFEE TO GO, BUT I HAVE TO PAY $4.78 BRIBE TO SO-CALLED “CASHIER”. THIS PLACE IS SO CORRUPT.
- On way back to post, I’m surrounded by 18-wheelers on all 4 sides. I go on High Alert, sensing possible ambush. Spill hot coffee on pants in the process. MEDIC!!
- Fog of war leads to much mistaken identity. Friendly fire a constant concern. Coworker tells me about daughter’s dance recital and how darling she looked in rhinestone tiara, apparently mistaking me for someone who gives a shit.
- Expense report training has given me a massive headache but meds in short supply on the front line. Company policy says aspirin can’t be provided for liability reasons, but they have no problems giving me a mouse where the right-click works only half the time.
- My stint for today is almost done. ASS [assistant security secretary] needs me to sign some papers, while DICK [director of intelligence for corporate knowledge] says I may have to re-do training because server went down. MORON [manager of regulations on nightshift] needs proof I worked nights last week. AHOLE (the asshole who sits in my work station after I leave) complains about sesame seeds left in computer keyboard. I deserve combat pay for working with these idiots.
- DRIVING HOME, I STOP ON INTERSTATE EXIT RAMP EXACTLY WHERE HOMELESS GUY STANDS HOLDING CARDBOARD SIGN. PRETEND TO CHANGE RADIO PRESETS, LOOK FOR SOMETHING IN GLOVE COMPARTMENT. NOW HE’S STANDING RIGHT AT MY WINDOW, MOUTHING THAT HE’LL EVEN TAKE CHANGE. LOCAL POPULATION IS SO PATHETIC IT’S SAD. I’LL MAKE MORE IN TEN MINUTES THAN THIS GUY WILL TAKE IN ALL DAY. I FUMBLE IN CHANGE RECEPTABLE BUT WOULDN’T YOU KNOW IT, LIGHT HAS CHANGED AND I HAVE TO DRIVE OFF.
- Wife radioed that she needs bread, milk and tampons so I’ll have to stop at commissary. Getting items scanned at the checkout, I see telltale traces of lasers, indicating I’m being targeted. I hit the floor and climb under shopping cart. Lady behind me complains I’m worse than shoppers who pay with checks. Short burst of automatic weapons fire takes care of her. Danger apparently past, I stand back up but am targeted again: this time to contribute a dollar to local leukemia victim.
- Can’t jog tonight because of wimpy “ozone alert”. My buddies say screw it but after last physical revealed possible emphysema onset, I listen to weatherman Larry Sprinkle and instead do a few toe-touches in my bedroom.
- HOW CAN IT BE RECYCLING NIGHT AGAIN??!! CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE TO HAUL BLUE BIN FULL OF BEER BOTTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE CURB. IT’S AMAZING WHAT WE’LL DO FOR OUR FELLOW MAN. AND WE GET SO LITTLE THANKS. I BETTER GET A WELCOME HOME PARADE TOMORROW.
- Another day closes with a final indignity. Wife’s mother wants to watch Jay Leno because Robert Pattinson will be on. I thought we were fighting enemy over there so we wouldn’t have to fight them over here. Oh, well. At least January Jones is second guest. Talk about a reason to fight another day!