Friday, May 22, 2009

Idiots and Anecdotes

*A reprise from 2007, but a fitting one, I think, for Memorial Day Weekend, 2009*
Today gets a mix: a rant, a story, and a salute.

First the rant: on a local radio talkshow -- 850 KOA AM, Denver -- the show host read a letter that was reportedly sent by a soldier serving in Iraq. It was an intelligent, articulate letter, and it went into some detail of what is going on over there from the writer's perspective. And the letter -- also from the writer's perspective -- expressed disgust and disappointment with national politicians who, with their words and voting deeds, are undermining the troops they fatuously claim to "support".

Opinions on that span the spectrum, so 'nuff said there.

Then came the first caller to the show after the letter was read: "John" from Boulder (CO). "John" -- a self-professed ("and proud of it") progressive -- immediately attacked the veracity of the letter, and the credibility of the writer. To paraphrase "John", "there is no way that letter was written by a soldier. It's too intelligent".

Bottomline: "John" says soldiers are too stupid to write clearly, intelligently, articulately, period.

Well, I got a thing or two to say about that, progressive "and proud of it" John from Boulder: I've visited His Phoenix blog, that has letters from Carlo; Carlo's an integral part of the blog, and currently a soldier serving in the war zone (at least he was in '07; he's home now). Carlo writes clearly, intelligently and articulately. Carlo's no idiot by any measurable standard. And I know enough about the veteran son of another blogger friend of mine -- Monica Newton -- to know that he -- a former two-tour combat soldier in Iraq -- is also well-educated, articulate, and has a bright future ahead of him, too. And I know of others who have sons returning from the war: intelligent, well-educated and well-read men and women, capable of better eloquence than you, John from Boulder, will ever demonstrate.

So-called progressives like "John" tend to show their true ignorance and bias against the military with their narrow-minded "open mouth and insert foot to their ass" stupidity. So "John", now it isn't just I and the show's listeners who know how big a blithering idiot you are; so do any regular and random visitors to this blog, too.

End of rant. Now to a lighter, and more poignant, side.

There is no shortage of characters who make regular appearances at my place of employment. One particularly crusty curmudgeon I've experienced in recent months and days will simply be referred to as 'Anthony'. He's 90, and gets around on a walker, on which he also balances a single cane for...uh..whatever reason (I've never seen him use it). 'Anthony' is a World War II veteran. 'Anthony' is hard-nosed and independent-minded. Being on a walker, he should make full use of the elevators; instead, he regularly insists on taking the stairs. This hard-headed insistence of his occasionally leads to 'Anthony' losing his balance and falling.

My first experience with him came when he was working his way down the stairs at a painfully slow rate; I was convinced that he wasn't going to make it without a tumble, so I paced him, ready to prevent what I considered inevitable.

Instead, I learned something else about 'Anthony': he loves to talk. To anyone. About 'Anthony's favorite subject: the Big One, Dubya Dubya Two, and how what happened to him during the Big One would eventually require him to have to use a walker.

It's "cuz a dem damned Jap artillery gunners an' their damned artillery, y'see!"

It took 'Anthony' five minutes on this occasion to complete, without a spill, the descent of those stairs. It took me another 30 minutes to break away from him and his story-telling, in his stout New Yawk/New Joisey raspy voice. In that time, I respectfully listened to his recounting how Japanese artillery shrapnel had caught him and his squad in the open during an operation on the island of Okinawa in '45. And how some of that shrapnel "laid my butt wide open, y'see!" (fortunately, I didn't actually have to "see"). And then recounting the several surgeries needed to repair the damage, all of which led to his having to use a walker. "But it's okay, y'see, cuz I dun my duty again' dem bastahds!"

'Anthony' made no secret of the fact that he was proud of his service, all these years later. On that occasion, I took a moment's lull at the end of his story to thank him for that service; that was good for a breezy "'ey, it wuz nuthin', y'see! Dat's duh way things wuz back den!", followed by another 15 minutes of his uninterruptible anecdoting.

For a 90 year old with all of his physical detriments, 'Anthony' is sharp as a pin, and has a memory for details that awe our 20-somethings on the staff.

Unfortunately, interesting as his stories are, I don't always have 30 or more minutes available when he corners me at work. More recently, though, a medical call went out over the radio. A patron had fallen. We promptly responded to the scene to render assistance, whereupon arrival we discovered that it was 'Anthony'.

Thrice he refused to have paramedics look him over; he insisted he was okay, and just needed to sit for a few minutes before trying to get up. But good ol' 'Anthony' was never one to waste time while sitting; he immediately launched into "I wanna tell ya dis heah, cuz I'm being straight widya, y'see?"

And for the next 20 minutes, we heard about 'Anthony' on the island of Saipan, in 1944.
Granted, what follows here isn't verbatim as he told it, but this is a fairly reasonable paraphrasing of a fair piece of the anecdote he told us, in that inimitable style that he's known for, and what I hurriedly scribbled down when I had a moment soon afterward:

"The Japs launched dis banzai thing, y'see...and I had dis BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) that I wasn't too good wid, but the top sergeant, that bastahd, he told me he sez, "Private, you carry dis heah BAR!" and so I wuz carryin' the BAR when the Japs, dey launched the banzai thing, and the friggin' BAR jammed! And the top sergeant yelled "Sh**, Private!" and I sez, "Sh**, Sergeant!", and I hafta take the friggin' BAR apart while the Japs is banzai'in the company, an' all the bullets an' grenades and sh** is flyin' aroun, and I have the BAR apart an' tryin ta fix it y'see, and everything heah is goin' ta sh**, and the top sergeant yells "fall back youse bastahds!", and we run like sh** for some yahds back to where we wuz gonna rally, but I don't have my BAR 'cuz it's on the ground back deah, in pieces. So's I grab me dis carbine -- it's a pea-shooter, I tell ya -- an' I yell at what's left of my squad, "who heah got ammo for dis carbine?" and one of de udder guys, he sez "I gots some", an' he tosses me dis bandolier thing wid ammo for da carbine, so I shoot the pea-shooter at the Japs for the rest of the banzai thing! Meantime, y'see, I still gots dis heah pouch widda clips of BAR ammo I can' use, cuz my BAR is in pieces back deah. An' another guy, he shows up widda BAR, an' he yells to me to give him the ammo, so's I give him the ammo. An' that's when I get shot, cuz I stood up ta throw him da ammo, cuz BAR ammo pouches wuz heavy in dem days, y'see. An' when it's all over, there's only 50 guys, y'see, 50 guys from my company still dere, from da 'riginal hunrerd an' fifty guys we had when da company landed deah on Saipan. An' we got dead Japs all over da place, 'cept for da ones that ain't dead, cuz they fakin', y'see, an' youse hadda watch alla time dat one a dem fake dead Japs didn't shoot or knife ya when youse wuzn't lookin'. Ya couldn't trust the bastahds, so we killed a lot of dem dead Japs again, just to make sure they wuz real dead an' not the fakin' kind, y'unnerstand?"

*Whew* I really need a pocket recorder for my next encounter with 'Anthony'. After we got him on his feet, I got a timely radio call and excused myself. As I was walkin' away, I heard him start to tell one hapless officer about his bein' transported to the hospital ship in a 'duck' (amphibious truck of the time)...

Good ol' 'Anthony'. Veteran of Saipan and Okinawa. And remembers both vividly, 63 years later.
I'll bet ol' "John" from Boulder would consider Anthony's stories a hoax as well, unless it were told in grunts and wall etchings. But I guess the reasoned and rational among us heah, we know where da real ignorance is heah, y'see?
*2009 note: 'Anthony' passed away late in '08. "John" from Boulder has called that radio show a few more times since, and demonstrated that he's just as pathetically ignorant and progressively stupid as in '07. Despite that, I have to give Anthony and all of those men and women who preceeded or followed him credit, in sacrificing for this great nation, so that liberal morons like "John" can have the luxury to be dumber than a door knob.
At any rate, take a moment and remember our fallen heroes this Memorial Day weekend. And remember 'Anthony', as I reckon he's reliving the moments he remembered so well, amongst the brethren he's reunited with now, in a much kinder place, widdout tha' damned Jap artillery, y'see. God Bless 'em all. I'll have another Memorial Day tribute, on Memorial Day*


Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Posted for Phoenix (Blogger acting up):

"Thank you for this post Skunkers. People like "John" don't deserve the freedoms our soldiers give them. And on a personal note, I have never met a "stupid soldier" and I had plenty of men that served in my own family. All of them were articulate and extremely smart individuals. Carlo is another perfect example of this. I don't know anyone who is as articulate as he is. Soldier or not. Bless them all for their present or past service."

10 May, 2007 00:32  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Phoenix: actually, it's well that people like "John" can exercise the freedom that soldiers like Carlo risk so much to provide him. It is well that "John" has the freedom to show how stupid he is to the rest of us. The rest of us are better off for recognizing "John's" stupidity, and that of his fellow travellers.

10 May, 2007 00:36  
Blogger Herb said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 May, 2007 04:01  
Blogger Herb said...

Sorry I deleted my first comment, but I had more to say. First, You hit the nail on the head, pard. The pompous and self-righteous, the "Elites" as Laura Ingraham calls them, have no clue as to what the real world is like and no knowledge of reality. Second, "John" obviously doesn't know any soldiers and has never been in or around anything military. His parents were probably some of the "Flower Children" of the sixties, unwashed cravens, I will leave further thoughts about John's antecedence alone including his canine mother and father of unknown origin. I like them old guys like "A." I get my hair cut by one. He's 81 and still works in his own barber shop. We ain't building like that as much anymore. Anyway, I appreciate your entry and it got the coffee pumping.

10 May, 2007 04:10  
Blogger Monica said...

Wow, Skunk, who's going to break the news to Joshua that he can't really do algebra and I'm the smart one cause I didn't go to war? Who's going to tell Jeremy that all those certificates he got because he has one of the highest test scores in Texas on those annual tests means he isn't cut out to be a Marine? Or maybe his tests were bogus because he dreams of being a Marine?

Can I call President Bush a dummy since he (albeit stateside) served in the military?

Great post. I loved the sense of humor the troops had in that picture after Kerry's dumbass remark.

Joshua's ex C.O. now has a PH.D. While he is referred to as Doctor to me he's always Captain so I affectionately address him in our emails as Dr. Capt. even though we are on a first name basis. LOL.

Hmmm, he's a dummy, too, right, John? Geez.

11 May, 2007 08:35  
Blogger Monica said...

Oh and for the record I'm doing the 21 Days starting June 1 with or without the bracelets. :)

11 May, 2007 09:47  
Blogger MileHighDivaCyn said...

Well my skunk friend, you KNOW how I'm feeling about John in Boulder, given my USMC background....but again, he has the right to his opinion and can thank a vet for being able to still speak without fear, I suppose............

13 May, 2007 19:32  
Blogger Debbie said...

This is a great Memorial Day post. The "progressive" didn't stop to think about the soldier who comments at his place, whether he had insulted him also, he just spewed the stereotype put out by the Left without thinking.

My dad was in the Philippines at the worst of the fighting, he never forgot, never really got over seeing the horrors of death. Like many vets he didn't want to talk about it. It is rare for one to share as your 90 year old friend did, but I think is is valuable to hear those stories, to value them and keep them for future generations. The History Channel does a good job of this, as does Ollie North.

God bless them all.

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

22 May, 2009 10:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless all vets everywhere. They are the ones who help make this country great. And God bless Anthony. Thanks for sharing his story.

22 May, 2009 19:06  
Blogger Herb said...

I liked this piece the first time I read it and I still like it.

23 May, 2009 05:27  
Blogger The Dental Maven said...

I hope Anthony is swapping stories with and enjoying the often ribald humor of my dad who was on the beaches of Normany beginning June 12, 1944.

God bless our military and God bless our vets.

23 May, 2009 05:49  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

And the letter -- also from the writer's perspective -- expressed disgust and disappointment with national politicians who, with their words and voting deeds, are undermining the troops they fatuously claim to "support".I'm so disgusted with out so-called leaders these days that sometimes I just have to skip watching and reading the news so as to preserve my sanity.

But how those in the service of our nation must feel these days! Betrayed -- if they know the facts, that's how they feel.

The story about Anthony is so moving. May he rest in peace.

23 May, 2009 08:30  
Blogger Seane-Anna said...

Rest in peace, Anthony. Y'heah?

23 May, 2009 10:46  
Blogger Sniffles and Smiles said...

Mike...I think that's your real name, isn't it? I don't feel Skunkfeathers is an appropriate designation after such a passionate, poignant and brilliantly written post! You need to publish. You need to do talk radio. You need to have a bigger audience...Our country needs more eloquent and passionate town criers to sound the alarm, and proclaim the heroism of our valiant military men and women! There are not words to express how wonderful I think this post is! This is my favorite of ALL the posts I've read of yours!!! Sheer Brilliance! The way you capture Anthony's dialect...his character...and the way you clobber "John's stereotypes" with the truthful reality!!!!! From start to finish, this is spectacular! So, that's all I have to say about that!!!! ~Janine

P.S. I came over to say...who cooks in that kitchen?!!! Haven't you heard the word barbecue? Sounds like my plan for every night of the week!!! LOL.

24 May, 2009 08:09  
Blogger Mayden' s Voyage said...

Thank you for giving all of us a glimpse into the life of a "regular hero" ordinary man in extraoridnary times- doing remarkable things to keep our country and his brothers in arms safe.
Happy Memorial Day my friend <3

24 May, 2009 11:25  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

*Buzzer*...Jane to penalty box. Disrespect on a day none is allowed for our veterans on this blog.

25 May, 2009 19:39  
Blogger JMK said...

Right on the money on the likes of "John from Boulder" and a GREAT accounting from old Anthony...

Love your blog.

30 May, 2009 13:18  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home