Thanks for taking a peek.
I was apathetic in that age of nationalistic glory. Consequently, I shrugged off the United States latest crusade against the Arab menace as nothing more than presidential posturing against an easy target with the right skin color. Only when the draft was reinstated did I realize that my country wanted to kill me, so in retaliation and to preserve my already well established narcissism I decided that to survive I must hide. Thus, I joined the Air National Guard.
As a college student I thought I would be exempt from the draft, and was prepared to extend my education into several advanced degrees to avoid the conflict. But the liberals had other ideas and were able to push through legislation that opened the draft up to anyone who had a dick and was twenty-seven or under, regardless of education, race, or sexual orientation
My friend, Chip Bollinger, talked me into it. Chip was an idealist, and he joined way before the war broke out, something about civic responsibility, giving back, and all that save the world stuff. He tried to go active duty when the war broke out but was denied by the muckety-mucks in charge. He actually teared up when he was told he would remain stateside.
In a panic, I scoured the new legislation for any loopholes, any exemption that would save me from the unpleasantness that is associated with war. It’s not that I scared; I was six–foot-three and two-hundred pounds of well-proportioned muscle and had fought my way out of many tight spots that were the result of my wise ass mouth. It’s just that I had plans and fighting a war didn’t fit in with my schedule.
I was so desperate that I thought about declaring myself as Amish, but after two weeks into the beard and no moustache look I got creeped out and scrapped the idea; plus it was tough to give up shiny objects. So I took Chip’s advice.
I showed up at the recruiter’s office, took a test, and was told that I qualified for a lot of things, including a cop.
Chip was a cop in the Security Forces for the Air Guard, but he wasn’t the reason I became a cop. No, I became a cop because I understand leverage. And cops, whether they’re FBI, city, or Pinkerton, have access to secret, dirty, little places that good, powerful people sometimes go to when they get a desire to be bad. And I wanted to be there with a badge and a gun to catch them in the act and persuade them into my point of view. Cops had power: power through upholding the law and by looking the other way. I, of course, chose the latter. It wasn’t much power, really, just a few bucks here and there to open doors and turn off alarms so a few officers had a place to go and screw their girlfriends. But that training ground of immorality was a great politicking 101 course for a young, ambitious lad.
So I joined up and was shipped off to Lackland Air Force base for twelve weeks of basic training and cop school. It was a trial. The food was bad. I had to pay a dollar for a haircut that was, at best, of questionable taste. I folded my underwear in six-inch squares and sat down when I peed in order to keep the urinals clean. I learned how to march and fire an M16 rifle, which was satisfying. I also took the Security Forces Creed:
I am an Air Police member
I hold allegiance to my country,
devotion to duty and personal
integrity above all
I will wear my badge
of authority with dignity and restraint,
and will promote by example
high standards of conduct, appearance, courtesy,
I seek no favor
because of my position.
I perform my duties in a firm,
courteous, and impartial manner, irrespective of a person’s color, race, religion, national
origin or sex.
A bit wordy, don’t you think? And, in my view, it was open for interpretation.
Once I got back home my unit offered me a job full time as a base security officer. I jumped at the chance, knowing that I would be classified as one of those indispensable people that were needed more at home than on foreign soil. And when I found myself in a time of war, I breathed heavy with relief as others were rounded up, shipped off, and killed for a war that was creating more Islamic fanatics instead of killing them.
And man, did people love me! Even on campus, that hotbed of newfound idealism from goofy kids with unformed ideas, I was revered when I was in uniform. And when Chip and I walked past, people said thank you to us and went out of their way to shake our hands and praise us and show us their yellow ribbon magnets that they had purchased as an afterthought with a Red Bull and a Slim Jim.
And of course Chip felt guilty about the praise and tried telling them who we really were: pseudo- soldiers with dirty boots who would never be sent over there. Sometimes it’s better to promote the myth and bury the lie, keeps people happy, kind of like the President was trying to do. But our fans would have none of it, and even the hippies, liberals, and gay people loved a person in a uniform those days and were still nice to us, a fact I exploited at every turn.
I earlier said Chip Bollinger was my friend but that’s an exaggeration. Chip was fun for me and made me laugh in his concerned do-gooder kind of way. He always wanted to talk, to care, to share. I took him up on the sharing part to the extent I was banging his hot little Italian girlfriend behind his back. I had a lie ready for him if he ever caught us, something like I was a sex addict, or had some obscure medical condition that forced me to do bad things. Chip would believe it. Chip had to believe it, otherwise his compassionate personae of the friend to the unfortunate would be questioned and he would be left without a personality.
And Chip needed a personality, I mean talking to the guy in a social setting was like listening to Rush Limbaugh on a high end sound system: perfectly clear but such a fucking waste. Chip did not have an original thought in his head. His beliefs and his passions were the result of a bland mind and a desperate need for his attention that his mommy and daddy never gave him. And when he and I stumbled one day onto an anti-Israel protest, complete with a burning effigy of the President of the United States and women draped in shawls that made them look like morel mushrooms, Chip was beside himself. He saw in those protesters an opportunity for more opinions, more personality, another cause to latch onto that he could pontificate on to somebody who gave a shit.
And although I am apolitical, amoral, and a bit of a cad, I was even somewhat repulsed to see this man in an American military uniform offer his hand in friendship to the group’s main instigator, a weasel looking little prick named Mohammed who was shouting death to Israel through a bullhorn. Chip went up, exchanged niceties, and by the end of their ten minute conversation they were hugging each other goodbye.
I told the guys that I worked with, Dickie and Earl, about Chip and his newfound Islamic fundamentalist friends, and in their simple, some would say stupid minds, Chip became their enemy.
I should have kept my mouth shut.