Nice Merchandise!

on Thursday, September 18, 2008

I found this at the Gopher Bargain Center in St. Cloud, MN today.

The price says it all, except maybe to add, "Good thing it's just flavored."

Bitter Truth

on Thursday, September 4, 2008

All my life I've supported my oldest brother. When I was a kid he was my best friend. When he joined the Marines I was proud of him. When he got married I cried tears of joy. When he got divorced I cried again. When he fell into the bottle, I was sad. When he admitted himself into the alcohol and chemical dependency unit of the Veterans Hospital I was thankful. Throughout his sobriety I have been as loving and supportive as I can be.

He is my brother. We share the same blood. And I love him.

Recent discoveries have brought me to a point of confusion and rocked my view of him. I will not go into them here, but they have brought things to the surface that have been long kept buried.

He joined the Marines when he was only 17 years old. He had to get special permission from our parents to do so. He went through basic training and came back strong, lean and tanned, as all Marines do. He had a confidence I'd never seen in him before.

He got his MOS (Military Occupational Specialty -- "job" to you and me) and was stationed in San Diego doing warehouse stuff. Seems like a pretty skate job to me, but he hated every second of it. He hated the place, he hated his job, he hated his superiors and he hated the Marine Corps. Every time he called home he cried to mom & dad to get him out. My dad finally contacted our senator, Dave Durenberger to see what he could do. The Honorable Mr. Durenberger was able to get my brother Honorably Discharged after only about 2 years of service out of a 4 year commitment.

He never talked proudly of his time in the service, but he still called himself a Marine. I guess they all do, you could talk to a WWII vet and he'd still say, "I am a Marine," and not, "I was a Marine." They do a good job of brain washing that into their inductees and volunteers. "Gung ho!" is what it's all about. But my perception is that he tended to ignore his service and tried to put as much distance between himself and it as he possibly could. Until he admitted himself to the hospital. Until he needed them again.

Since then he has re-embraced his Marine-inity with the gusto of a born again Christian. (In fact, he became a Christian while going through AA, replacing his brilliant skeptecism with a dependence on the Holy Trinity.) He proudly joins Marine related online forums, wears clothes with the Marine Corps emblem emblazoned on them, and he has the seriously disturbing practice of traveling with his medals, which amount to a service ribbon (you get one for joining), his shooting badge from basic training (rifle marksman), and the unofficial Cold War Victory ribbon.

And all I can think of whenever I see any of this is, "Dude, you fucking quit. And that's the bitter truth."

I got an email from him this week saying, in essence...

I am no longer going to be online, I am not longer going to answer phone calls, I am no longer going to answer letters. I am tired of checking my inbox and seeing it empty day after day.

He forgets that people have lives outside of his personal space. I am so pissed at him because it is so typical of him. Shit, he even forgets that tenet of military life, "You gotta write 'em to get 'em."

Fine, pal, take your ball and go home. I'm tired of playing. I'm tired of being supportive. I'm tired of crying. I'm tired of trying.

But you can still have one of my kidneys if you need it.

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