Life lessons the Afghanistan war taught me
Late last year, after eight months of service halfway around the world, I decided to take stock of myself: I had not been monitoring my stock portfolios and investments closely. I was not current on the machinations of the faltering economy or what the health-care debate meant for my insurance. I had never heard of the finalists on any of the reality shows.
Was I unenlightened and out of touch with reality? Perhaps, by a conventional definition of being connected, informed and up-to-date, I was woefully ignorant.
I was deployed in Afghanistan, and that combat sabbatical taught a completely different regimen of vital knowledge. I have learned:
-- Although soldiers are predominantly young, virile men, cut off from feminine wiles and charms, what they miss most is food. But having said that . . .
-- Megan Fox is to Afghanistan what Betty Grable was to World War II.
-- When you look into the face of a gravely wounded soldier, your eyes fill with tears.
-- With some imagination, the sling seat in the gunner's turret of a Cougar combat vehicle can seem like a rocking chair.
-- Sometimes it is better to stay on radio watch than freeze in your sleeping bag.
-- The bulk of soldiers would relinquish their birthright for one ice-cold beer.
-- I dread the specter of death but do not fear it.
-- I am capable of performing acts of brutality but don't.
-- Although all Americans are born equal, all boots are not.