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Austy is back from Prague!

Austy is back from Prague! I told him to bring me the weirdest thing he could find, which turned out to be the head of a king mounted on a deep frame. The head appears to be carved out of wood, and if you put a candle under it he looks like he wants to kill you. It's very creepy. Tommy got a puzzle, Juggy got a jacket that says Ceska Republika on it, and Becca got a chess set.

When I was at Kieran's last night, there was this very drunk man sitting at the bar next to me. He had on a Minnesota Wild jersey and baseball cap, and a miniature hockey stick. He bought the hockey stick for his son, said he had been in divorce court all day. He said he was in the army (showed me his ID to prove it, just in case I thought he was lying), part of an elite air assault force. He started talking about how he's getting sent to Bosnia in a month, and about the last time he was sent out, and how his group "clears a room." Pointing to a napkin, he says "Okay, this is the room. This is the door. The first gunner sprays from here to here, second gunner from here to here, third from here to here and the fourth goes from here to here." His finger was moving in arcs across the napkin. He started getting choked up, saying he never meant to kill anyone. "I just take orders," he said, with his hand pressing against his lips. I didn't really know what to do, or what to say. He wanted to buy me a drink, wanted to buy everyone drinks. He wanted someone, anyone, to agree to let him write to them while he was overseas. He just seemed so tragic, so lonely. He wasn't making much sense, but was very upset. "I never meant to kill anyone. It's not my fault...it's not my fault," he kept repeating.

I wanted to do something for him. I know I can't save everyone. But, I kept thinking, what is life all about, if not reaching out to other people?

In the end, I did nothing. He found someone else to talk to, and I went home. In a few months, I'll probably wonder what ever happened to that guy.

Posted October 4, 2002 11:13 AM | On This Day: 2005 2003



Maybe he just wanted to tell someone ... to share ... to confess ... and you were that person.

I had a chance to talk to a drunk soldier who spent some time in Afganistan. He wasn't lonely, instead he threw 30lbs gym weight into the wall and broke a toilet with a hammer saying this was Afgani skull.

Not that I am doubting this guys story at all... I'm sure he was on the level. This is just a simple observation based on my extensive backwoods watering hole experience. For some strange reason, every time I go home, I meet yet another retired "Navy Seal" at the Pinehurst Bar in Indian River, Michigan - a town of about 200 people. I didn't know there were so many "elite special forces" candidates in Northern Michigan where dental care is an unfamiliar concept to most.