Friday, July 10, 2009

A Joke and a Party

An oldie, recycled, but still somewhat humorous and applicable to a recent story.

Three vets are all walking towards the same intersection in the middle of a small town. They served in different branches of the service, doing different jobs, many years distant, but they had a few similarities. They liked to wear various Marine Corps or Army caps, perhaps a VFW pin, maybe even a set of old comfy boots. The one thing that they all have identically in common is that they are all dragging one leg behind them as they walk.

As they near talkin' distance, the first veteran slaps his right hip and says, "Vietnam, back in '69".

The second vet nods at the first, pats his thigh and says, "Fallujah, back in '04".

The third looks at the other two, grins, points a thumb over his shoulder and says, "Dog turd, 'bout 2 blocks back".

Vets can be like that, about their wounds.

War wounds might be brought up in conversation between vets as a part of story time, a sort of 'life really sucked, back when...'. Sometimes, when the source of a scar might have a more humorous shine to it, it can be more of a 'lemme tell you 'bout the time my dumb-ass tried to change a tire with my forehead right in the middle of a sand-storm'-type story. Other vets don't really run away from talking about their scars, they just don't ever seem to get around to it, either.

I was at a party recently, a birthday party of a buddy o' mine, as it were. Now, I knew that he had taken a round in Iraq back in the day, but that was about it. I didn't serve with him, so I wasn't there when he got hurt. We weren't shower buddies in the civvie world, so everytime I saw him, he had long pants on, so I never even saw his scars. Over time, the one conversation where he mentioned that he'd had a somewhat Really Bad Day more of less faded.

Until the party.

See, his kid was of an age that part of the festivities included various water activities, including getting tossed down a slip and slide, sprayed with a hose, or getting heaved into the kiddie pool. As this is Texas and it's currently hot enough to melt the hair on your head, just about everybody was in shorts and tees, haning out in the shade of the trees and occasionally getting hosed down with water.

Good times.

Good times were kept good by a discrete conversation with some about 1) letting him bring up the scars on his leg, if he wanted to, he would 2) yes, that's probably the entry wound. 3) yup, that would be the exit wound 4) that too, another exit 5) yeah, it's about half as big around as it should be, I would imagine that it hurt like hell - probably still does.

True to form, he came over a bit with a couple of beers (this guy, brining me a beer - sheesh!), patted his leg and said, "good thing I'm already married, 'cause I dunno if I could get many chicks with this leg, huh." I responded by telling him that different ladies go for different things but I still wouldn't want to test out that particular theory, as I've met his wife and have no desire to get on her bad side, at all.


Hammer said...

I grew up knowing about my dad's vietnam wounds. One RPK and two bayonet wounds. The chicks at the bar always dug them.

Sabra said...

I remember walking into the Wal-Mart closest to the house and seeing the dude in front of me in a wheelchair was wearing an EOD t-shirt and had a humongous pair of TruckNutz hanging from the back of his chair. I laughed really, really hard and was really, really grateful that none of my kids happened to look down.

We get a lot of injured guys around here, because we're pretty close to BAMC and to a building that houses transition apartments. My mother's mentioned before that today's vets are a lot more open about their injuries than when she was my age (Vietnam era). Which I think is great.

Old NFO said...

There is a change in the way wounds are handled these days, with more acknowledgement and openess, but the way you handled it was perfect...

Steve said...


Glad to see you're back. Thanks for showing my how to be classy around the subject.


threadbndr said...

Wouldn't bother me none.....

One of my college sweeties was VERY self concious about his scars. Called his PH the "enemy marksmanship medal". Silly boy, I liked him all the better for them.

There are times I look back and wonder what would have happened if I had been ready to settle down when he was.......