Thursday, July 5, 2018

"thank you for your service"

Perhaps because I suffered its lash when young, there is little that infuriates me more than feigned affection. On the other hand, knee-jerk reactions and habituations and the sheer delight of a raging wrath is so winsome ... something just looking for an excuse to rise up and roar and be clean.

Anyway, yesterday was Independence Day. July 4th -- the day on which Americans break out flags and fireworks. It was hot with an intensity that D-double-dared decency and politesse to even consider wasting their time. Who had the energy for neatly-hung clothes and mores ... it was too hot.

I was standing in the suburban-esque street outside my house. In the heat -- the dazzling, frying, erasing heat. From up the way, a man carrying a guitar case approached. He too was in the street rather than on the sidewalk. He seemed to be in his still-ironed 50's, a pink and caring man. As he came abreast of me, we nodded our greetings and then he passed, apparently headed for a parked car.

Suddenly, perhaps because the heat melted the sanity of the moment or perhaps because it is a question that always interests me, I called after him: "What is the single greatest lesson you have learned from music?" The question stopped him as somehow I knew it must. He turned around. And he was quiet for a moment. And then he set off on "a single note." Heat or no heat, miasmic dream within miasmic dream, he had to answer.

When he ran out of words, he asked, millennial-polite and despite the heat, "How about you?" And I too tried and failed to answer. But then he turned the dream-time-hotter-than-dammit tables on me: "Did you serve in the military?" he asked. "Yes," I replied. "Well, I'd like to thank you for your service," he said on July 4, that day of flags and bunting and fireworks. And those 'caring' words broke me wide open. "Don't run that bullshit on me," I said with devil-take-the-hindmost ire. "If you really want to honor veterans, stop making them!"

What did I know of his background and service and caring? Nothing. I assumed ... assumed in a land that loves to praise the 'heroes' who came home having seen what no man should be forced to see, suffered what no man or woman deserves to suffer ... because I voted for the assholes who made it all possible, who retooled their factories and raked in the cash. "Thank you for your service" is shorthand for those who wish to absolve themselves of the crimes for which they cannot be absolved. The coffins come home and we are no longer allowed to see them. Men and women come home and are riven again and again with memories I have laid upon them. "Thank you for your service?!" Go fuck yourself!

I was infuriated on the hot-hot suburban street ... as delightedly infuriated as a supporter of Donald Trump who may not have much left in a life much bereft ... but I can be furious and the fury blows my pipes out ... cleansing, useless, but at least furiously true.

Gawd! For those few lava-bubbling moments, I was cleaned out and cleaned up. This was what I really felt and really roared and didn't care that no one cared because I cared! Take your glowing encomiums, your 'heroes' and branded bearers of arms ... wrap them up in barbed wire and shove them up your ass! Don't tell me you care! CARE!

It was all irrational in the July 4 heat that wiped reason from my universe. Wiped it out and, wicked truth be told, felt great.

"Thank you for your service?"

There once was a man from Nantucket
Whose cock was so long he could suck it.
He said with a grin
As he wiped off his chin,
"If my nose were a cunt, I would fuck it."
Self-congratulation ... oh Jesus!

Was I right or was I wrong in yesterday's 'patriotic' fever? Probably both, but feeling right ... well, every once in a while I like that feeling.

Soon enough, the guitar-player excused himself. The heat was too much and perhaps he felt the wrath I kept carefully enough (I hope) inside. He got into his Honda and turned on the air conditioning. Can't say that I blame him.

Hot days ... heroism ... and shame.

Tears and sweat are both salt water.

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