embrace the suck

it’s interesting what you learn from npr. the title of this post is a phrase used by the military as part of their slang milspeak. other, perhaps more familiar, terms include FUBAR (f***ed up beyond all recognition), SNAFU (situation normal: all f***ed up), LPC (leather personnel characters…better known as boots), and more i can’t think of right now…the joys of growing up in a military town. on npr last thursday, there was an interview with a former reservist who was in iraq in 2004 and more recently published a pamphlet updating the milspeak. it’s entitled “embrace the suck” — essentially translated, “it’s tough, deal with it.” other personal favorites include:
“back to the taxpayers”: Navy slang for where a wrecked aircraft gets sent.
Groundhog Day: Every day of your tour in Iraq. Terms suggests the days never change—always long and hot, and the same events keep recurring. From the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. John Wayne Driving School: Banging up a Humvee in the process of teaching new soldiers to drive it.
Ranger candy: An 800-milligram Motrin (ibuprofen) pill.
sand box/sand pit: iraq.

and while i usually listen to npr in the mornings, i have been changing the dial between 10-12 to avoid the diane rehm show because she seems to talk about nothing besides iraq.

i’m reading state of denial and having a hard time staying with it even though it’s an incredible book and very well written.

i’ve said all this to say: i’m tired of hearing about iraq, iran, the war of terror, afghanistan, sunnis and shias, insurgents and the other noun that have made their way into our daily speech. however, while we simply hear about those things ad nauseam, we do not live it everyday. for that i am most grateful. i cannot imagine the atrocities being committed and witnessed by the men, women and children who find themselves trapped in a seemlessly neverending situation. it’s not fair for any of them. it’s not fair for the families of troops who stay here while they say their good-byes more regularly than they should at the revolving doors of most of our bases. again, i have to say i like the approach suggested in all quiet on the western front: let’s just put the national leaders in a ring and let them duke it out themselves. those affected by war are in the overwhelming majority while those who create it sit in their nicely furnished and well-insulated (and i’m not talking about the itchy, fuzzy pink stuff) palaces, houses, what have you. let them become more involved in the conflict they escalate.

of course, regardless of who each of us is in this mess, we need to learn how to embrace the suck. perhaps then we can actually figure a way out.


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