Part 4/5 – Review of American Sniper by Clint Eastwood

But, then, what do I know? I don’t have PTSD.

I don’t think I have PTSD. I just don’t. I didn’t see any crazy shit. I didn’t really hear any crazy shit. I just woke up, briefed, flew, debriefed, and went back to sleep. Honestly, that was it. Don’t ever go thinking you’re reading the words of a man who was in the mix. I’m not saying that there wasn’t any threat of danger, but no, I didn’t do or see anything that qualifies as traumatic.

But say after learning the ins-and-outs of what I did in Iraq you’ve convinced me otherwise. Say you brought in some nerdy looking dude with pleated khaki’s and unbreakable eye-contact. Say he pointed out that my life has kinda turned into a wreck since deploying. Say he pointed out that since leaving the military three years ago I have had and quit five jobs (I have a hard time dealing with what I perceive as disrespect), got divorced (totally unrelated to anything), am currently unemployed (though wrote and self-published a book and am half-way through my third and am not in debt, mom) and probably drink more than I should or, hell, just more than I ever did before deploying (but have only ever really regretted one decision I made while drinking). Say that he’s broken me down and we’re getting misty-eyed together. I’ll tell you what will dry my eyes real quick. Putting beautiful smiling people at the end of the tunnel. If all he can tell me is that by the time I find myself outside of the tunnel, by the time I have removed my hand from between the bright light and my now-adjusted eyes, if all he can tell me is that all along it was beautiful smiling people that make up the light, then I’ll open the door and kindly show him the way out. If there are any people who I’m confident do not have a clue about happiness, it’s beautiful smiling people.

You know what I want at the end of the tunnel? I want people to stop believing that anything on a screen–whether a laptop, a phone, a tablet, a movie screen, or the goddamn television set–has any value whatsoever in aiding veterans with PTSD. Want to know what does have value? Humans. Those real, fleshy people who have all the opportunity in the world to make every other decision than offer their help. Men like Diarmuid, Robert, and Ron. Real people who took real chances on a veteran, a veteran who doesn’t have PTSD.

****

Tomorrow – Or do I?

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9 comments

  1. Elouise

    Outstanding! Especially your comments about the ‘beautiful smiling people’ scenarios, and the true (not false or make-believe) value of ‘real, fleshy people’ who reach out to ‘real, fleshy people’ who need help–PTSD or not.
    Elouise

    Liked by 2 people

  2. John Love

    Ok, two tours in Nam, but I was an avionics electrician, never left the flight line at Danang. Never humped the boonies looking for, or hiding from, the NVA or Charlie. Sure lots of rockets, I mean Danang was known as Rocket City, which got worse when we showed up. But only minor cuts, scrapes, or the occasional piece of flight line coming at you. So I didn’t have PTSD. Or did I. I did dive out of a window into the back parking lot when a car backfired once. Never even thought about it, it just happened. Wife said I yelled and hollered in my sleep for years, but I didn’t have PTSD. Or did I? According to another Marine who worked with PTSD sufferers I definitely did. I still did not believe it. Never went back to college, raced everything with wheels on it, was even Crew Chief on a race boat. Anything to keep the adrenaline rush going. But I didn’t have PTSD. Or did I? Luckily my avionics electronic training came in handy in the burgeoning automotive computer systems world, or I would have been SOL! But I did not have PTSD! Or did I?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. robakers

    I never could have said all of this better. So well done!

    Thank you for your service and to refer to another post on this topic. I promise you that Chuck Yeager is pissed off that you have more NVG time that he does. But he would never admit it.

    rob

    Liked by 2 people

  4. runfree2014

    Thanks for the mention!! Maybe it’s because I have a tendency to look beyond societal labels … veteran, PTSD sufferer (or not), Batman fan … they don’t mean much to me. If anything I may be more interested in a person’s personality if they get stuck with a label but generally I will not hold it against them if I even believe it in the first place (cases of radicalism, extreme prejudice or certain obvious personality flaws being the exception). I think people should be judged by who they are as a person first. Who God put on this earth. Then we can move to labels to see if there’s a shared interest in something fun.

    Keep up the good work
    -Diarmuid

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ron

    Hi Pete – Thanks for the nod. I love that phrase: “…in the mix.” So you’ve got some flaws? Ain’t nuthin.’ Got skills? Ain’t nuthin’, too. “The graveyards are full of indispensable people.” Yet, we are here. Thanks for helping us explore the why and how of lives well-lived, between the first breath and the last.

    Liked by 3 people

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