Thursday, March 24, 2005

A New War in Iraq

The other night a FRAGO (FRAGment Order) came down to everyone on FOB Caldwell. In it were updated orders, duties, and a warning about a brewing war starting on base. Now we are all used to the idea that once we cross the berm, we are leaving the safety of "home" for the wilds of anarchic Iraq. But we are not prepared for a war brought to us on our own turf. As the Staff Sergeant read the orders, it became apparent that we were not fighting the traditional war; no real defined front lines, women in combat, unseen enemy, etc. The war was not even started by radical muslims, Iraqis, nor Middle-Easterners. The war seems to have been started by the soldiers on this base, and the battlefield has expanded to the streets. But from where did it start? The latrine walls.

Apparently the wit shared amongst the scribes has sparked tempers to action. Enough so that a LT. General has to be concerned with telling everyone to stop writing on the walls. With this level of aggression going on around me, I started to think about how this could happen.

Man seemingly has been writing on the walls for tens of thousands of years. But, one must ask if this is the first time factions have waged war over such scribblings. Thinking deeper into the subject, I began to realize that there may be distinct categories that the "latrine writings" could be broken down into. First, there are the obscene arts; inaccurate renditions of the human anatomy which appear to have been drawn by myopic drunkards prone to the shakes. Second are the "potty philosophers" who bestow such aphorisms as "Don't count the days, make the days count!" and "A Chain is only as strong as its weakest link". The motives for writing such bland statements escapes me right now except maybe to be so patently stupid as to spark an outraged response from the next dung depositor. Next are the poems with such angst ridden verses of real-life events, that any man (or woman) reading them can't help but to feel a fellowship. How many of us have truly gone there to sh*t but only farted and NOT left there broken hearted? Ahhh, the memories.

A more frequent entry on the grunt box wall is the "instigation". These statements are typically in response to the aforementioned categories, but tend to breed more of the like. For instance, someone felt the need to express his misogynistic view of the females of a current unit, most likely spurred by his frequent rejection. After the initial statement the trolls started responding; some in support, some in defense. These threads can carry on for major sections of the walls and door, and are most likely the fuel for the real life brawls. My question is, how do they know exactly who wrote what? Which brings me to the next category; Warnings!. "[Name Changed to protect the innocent] is a Meat gazer!" is on almost all of the available outlets on base. Maybe it is he who is providing the intel to each faction on who writes what and when. I don't know, but I do know that while I am seated, I am also scanning the tops of the stall walls for spies.

There are just 2 more categories I frequently find. The least interesting but most curiously motivated of all are the scribbler-outers. Theses are the morally conflicted viewers that wrestle with the temptation to leave their mark on the writing surface, but either lack wit or have a sense of ethical duty to remove the potentially offensive blather someone else has written. Somehow they satisfy themselves by covering up the material with the ever-so-not-effective method of swirlies. Come on folks, swirlies can be read through. Either contribute or poop with your eyes closed. Finally, there are the spell-checkers. These are the people that must want the world to be in such perfect balance and harmony that even mindless graffiti should be given enough thought and care to be spelled properly and correct grammar employed. Maybe it is done to infuriate the original poster. Maybe it is done to show intellectual superiority over the sub-geniuses that originally posted. Whatever the motive, I found myself laughing when one spell-checker so revealingly wrote "Learn to spell you morron".

In conclusion I will confess that even I have succumbed to the temptation one time. It was after some high speed soldier warned the females of [the other unit] that though they may have lots of men paying them attention here as if they are beautiful women, when they get back home they will still be ugly. I merely pointed out that it is an all male bathroom.


Blogger Robert Chase said...


Dude, that is great. :) Some funny sh*t there. Pun intended.

Well, I guess you have plenty of reading to do when you are sqatting.


Blogger mattandriver said...

Oh the sadness of ones taking like to seriously!

Blogger mattandriver said...


This is a feeble and pathetic attempt at writing one of my own thought. I have no talent in this respect, so please keep this in mind. Ok, here goes...

I pumped up the tires on my wife's bicycle today and went for a ride. As I went though town, almost aimlessly, I found my way to the old alley behind the house I grew up in. I stopped and stared at the back door. I was reflecting on how things have changed in this world, and it seems, NOT for the better.

Oh how life was so much easier back then. Why did the world have to change. What are we doing?

But then I seen something. Under a large bush. What was this? It's a large flat rock. Wait, I had almost forgotten about this rock, or stone. There is was, all but hidden from the world by this green bush someone has planted there. I can remember how we used to put our garbage can on this stone. Nice and flat. I used to play trucks on this stone. There I set, on a girls bicycle, on the middle of the dirt alley, staring at this house as a flood of memories came to me. Too many to list, but you would remember some of them if I shared.

Maybe the world has not changed as much as I thought. Of course it's not the same as it was back then, but maybe we have changed more. Maybe I have changed. What if all the negativity was only my own perception. Just from my point of view. Maybe the world has not changes, but I have.

A few minutes later, I left for home. On my way, I passed a group of kids. The first thing that came to mind was how they could be up to no good. I listen from a distance as I hear "I'll give you 20 Mississippi's to get.....".

That confirms my fear. I, not the world who has changed. The old neighborhood is all but stagnant. I must change back! Damn me!



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