How Everyone Loses and Nobody Will Win

Traditionally, there was always just one person with whom I’ve been comfortable sharing my thoughts, deeper things, and things that seem to bother me, even if only the next fifteen minutes. Now technically, the traditional listener has been the reader here, but I can barely keep up with the written thoughts in my head let alone any verbal thoughts. No, no, this person hears things unique, often half-formed, sometimes depressing, and quite random. This person has changed from time to time, but I can’t help but think of one person in particular. No need for names, it would make me upset.

I saw Stop Loss today, and it made me very angry. Angry enough to rev my car while standing idle, angry enough to break the speed limit, and angry enough to pass everyone on the road at a blinding 50 mph. So basically it gave me a bit of road-rage, but not for reasons you might expect. I understand that this concept is written in fine-print, thus anyone who signs up may be stop lossed. That doesn’t make it suck any less. The film touched a bit on the morality of the fighting in general, or lack thereof; in some cases it’s you, the man on your left, the man on your right, and the dazzling white temptation of survival. It also touched upon the lives destroyed by war, literally as bodies were torn apart, but also as the victors broke down to digging holes in the ground to sleep in with nothing but a belly of booze and a gun to keep them company. Neither of these situations were terribly sad or moving, and at some points (as with many movies) I actually was thinking $9.25 was too much to pay for a movie, and wondering what I should do with my new-found .75 cents. At the end, I still think I pay too much for any movie, but I was also tearing at my mental fabric with razor blades. The sheer helplessness and inability these people face is mind-staggering. In fact, this one of the scariest things for me, to not know what to do, or even if you were granted such sage wisdom, to not know what to do about what you know you need to do. And then not being able to do it.

I feel like I should do something, but I am just one person with a small mind, liberal beliefs, which themselves are stolen from smarter people, and a voice which no one will take seriously. There a lot of opinions both for and against both stop loss and the war itself. I’ve learned that neither really matters right now when our boys, people we know are dying here and now. I think there’s a responsibility that we have to serve to them, just like the have one to serve us. They know what they’re getting into when the volunteer, but it doesn’t suck any less to leave knowing that. War is lose-lose for anyone, and I would to see someone try to spin something bullshit cotton-candy on that stick.

When I got home tonight, there wasn’t anyone to talk to about this. I’m reading a book about this right now, too, so it’s a primary feeling lately. My car can only take so much abuse from my foot, and my body will only stand so much sleep depravation. The way tonight went down just makes me confirm it, I have no friends here, with whom I can take to about things like that that are critically important to me, even if just for a few minutes. I can’t get it out of my head, what one of my “friends” said, “I didn’t understand the title until I started thinking Stop! loss.” We’re all losing blood.

Table Manners

Why do people forget to flush the toilet? It seems like such a small thing, perhaps a bit of an inconvenience, but have you ever stopped to think about the radical impact such a small service in a public place? Come on, no one likes to talk about the stink, much less coming up on it after getting reamed by the boss about your work ethic while battling intense indigestion. I apologize if that produces any images or bad memories. Perhaps embarrassing ones.

My point is that that small act of kindess in simply cleaning up after yourself goes a long way. That basic template can be applied to wide range of acts and events throughout your day. Smile at a stranger. Say hello to the cashier. Implore someone you know to honestly speak of their day, and for once (on your honor) actually listen to the response with enraptured interest. Just the other day, I was upset that I don’t talk to anyone anymore. Instead of feeling angry, I looked them up. I’ll admit, it was on Facebook, but it’s just like a coffee-filled teddy bear given to you at Christmas that you can’t open to brew the coffee and can do nothing else with; it’s the thought that counts.

I do come home a lot. I don’t know how to say this delicately, so I won’t. I don’t feel like some people, or really anyone I know is following these simple, delicate steps. They’re delicate because when you don’t follow them, you can really hurt a person, even if they don’t show it. I know I don’t. I am now trying to bite my tongue when I want to contradict someone, and I listen to the dull and the ignorant, who, in my opinion, might even have their own story worth listening to. I come home to see you, but I feel like you’re gone. And I do miss you, and all these delicate manners which I’ve come to appreciate and have begun to practice.