The army recruiter was as peppy as popcorn. Sporting a Combat Infantryman's Badge (one combat tour in Iraq, one in Afghanistan), he laid out the possibilities of enlistment to my younger son, 17, who had expressed some interest in the military. I am not much of a fan of the military, but I am a fan of investigating as many possibilities as possible ... even the ones I don't like. So my son and I drove to the office and listened to what the sergeant had to say.
And one of the things he had to say was pretty interesting. The Army is filling up. Recruits are no longer a problem. In hard times, even young people with BA's and MA's have been snooping the terrain. Even with two American-made wars in progress and the likelihood of being used as cannon fodder rising ... the sergeant is a busy man.
Death on the home front, death on the battle front. Nobody wants to die but sometimes death for an imagined "something" is more attractive than a numbing, grinding, piece-by-piece demise. And there is a paycheck, food and medical care.
Strange, the need to somehow "count" in this life, to weave mufflers of "accomplishment" against the cold cruelties of loneliness ... when all the time, what really takes nerve is not to count at all.
Everything "counts" ... not.