By Kyle | July 12, 2012
My previous post (see below) has attracted notice. From Laos to Lansing, every cultural observer and unemployed film critic clenches his molars and pounds the keyboard. The circuits of the Internet glow like neon. Somewhere in Silicon Valley, a server farm groans and buckles with the strain of the traffic. Cisco stock soars. The national electrical grid is at Code Red.
The cry goes from blitter to twog– “Smith is claiming to be a bit of a warrior! Makes himself out to be Doug MacArthur minus the self-doubt, Tom E. Lawrence with better tactical vision, Ulysses Grant with a Norelco.” Nonsense.
As I have dedicated my life to communicating with my readers, even the most dunderheaded among them, I am duty-bound to correct mistaken impressions. Not only do I make no claim to be a war hero, if I could have figured out a way to file for Cowardly Objector status to shield my pelt from the wrath radius of psychotic Arab dictators, I would have. My cinematic avatar is not Lee Marvin but Bob Hope. I am as lily-livered as the next man. More! When the Revolution comes, the sans-culottes will not find me lounging in a smoking jacket in my gilded Upper West Side aerie. I shall be amid the proletariat, clad in coarsest fustian and posing as a member of the 99 percent. Possibly I shall be chanting, “Draconian fiscal chastisement for successful people!” or whatever the cry of the day is. They won’t have to loosen my fingernails or brandish the scythe in the course of interrogation. I’ll tell them everything I know for the asking.
No, what I claim is not the pride of an assassin but the piteousness of a victim. I note my military service, when not doing my best to forget it, not as a trophy of manliness but as a scare I managed to survive. I might as easily said, “As someone who in childhood was daily whipped about the head and neck with a dead raccoon by pedagogues and priests, I don’t bruise easily.” I might as easily said, “As someone whose red and white blood cells once banded together and went on strike as suddenly as Parisian transit workers, I am unfazed by the snark of graduate students.” Perspective is gained from undeserved punishment, and the Army wasn’t even the worst job I ever had (nor was the war the worst bit about being in the Army — my peregrinations in Arabia were a weekend in St. Bart’s compared to Advanced Camp at Fort Bragg, and Bragg was cocktail hour at Cafe Luxembourg compared to sleeping beneath a cheesecloth-like shelter half in the rain on top of a root and underneath a branch in Viet Connecticut in my first year of ROTC).
Yet all of this sucked less than working for my dad as a teenager. What I mean to say is, I don’t get too wound up about a bit of back-and-forth with the rabble. In fact it is just conceivable that I enjoy it.