Tag: Life

Help for heroes?

Right! The time has come, I need to speak out.

First and foremost, let me say that in my experience being a soldier is a shit job, done extremely well under even the most trying of conditions. The lads and lasses put their lives on the line and do their duty.

I’m not about to knock that.

I will start by saying; that is their job, for which they volunteered. Nobody made them enlist.

The thing that distinguishes the armed services from any civvy job is that it is in your job description that you will die if so ordered. Tell a copper or fireman to stand firm in the face of certain death and he has the option to quit. It is a soldiers job to die if necessary.

They are doing their job, come death or mutilation. That is not heroic, it is for that they are paid.

But they are being brave, that makes them heroes!

I would argue that the modus operandi of the army is to make you more afraid of your Sergeant than you are of the enemy. You are bullied into being a mindless drone, afraid to not obey an order.

In the first world war the Royal Military Police were positioned in the trenches to shoot any man who didn’t go over the top.

In the second world war they had conscription with jail and dishonour for anyone who wouldn’t go. I know from personal experience that even the most jaundiced of cynics would prefer the possibility of death than the certainty of a lifetime of shame with the stigma of cowardice.

It was proven at the Nuremberg Trials that following orders is not an excuse for committing war crimes. Yet we have recently gone in to illegal wars. Every soldier should have refused. They did not. Nor were they ever likely to.

My point is; bravery takes many forms. Killing Johnny Foreigner for his oil may well be the least brave option once you’ve taken the Queen’s Shilling.

Then there is a technical point; a hero is someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty. Who does something without thought for personal danger, to serve his unit, and somewhat nebulously, his country.

To call everyone in uniform a hero is to devalue the word and dishonour those who have earned the epithet. Clarkson did a piece on some chap who kept going back into battle though they tried to cas-evac him on several occasions, firing a mortar like a bazooka, bleeding from his ears, shot to shit and still fighting. That is a hero. Some desk jockey who happens to wear a uniform is not.

Then there is the actual campaign, ‘Help For Heroes’. Started by the Sun. The mouthpiece of the evil Murdock. Why did they start it? To whip up patriotism and support for our boys and to stifle questioning dissent amongst the ‘screw oil concerns, let’s keep our boy’s alive’ lobby.

The aim is to have us all saluting the flag, supporting illegal wars, and frightened to say ‘bring the boys back home’ as that would mean we were unpatriotic. Is it braver to follow this route or stand for your principles?

Of course I’m a stinking hypocrite. I am actually trying to get back into the army!

What was that Latin phrase?  ‘I see and approve of the best path, I follow the worst’

I want to get back in to get my truck driving experience so I can get a civvy job. My principles are as ephemeral as that. It doesn’t mean I can’t see the truth of the situation.

Which brings me full circle to my my point. I am willing to serve, again. I know and accept the risks. If I can get back in I will most probably be getting my experience in Afghanistan. Would that make me a hero? No. It would make me a chap doing his job.

To quote the philosopher Gump; “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Buck.

Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

At work some coffin-dodging bastard has switched to Gold. Allegedly all the best songs from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. Actually all rock ‘n’ roll, and a few pop songs from the latter decades. Apparently there was no hippy era, no punk, no new wave British heavy metal, no gothic. Just saccharin 60’s and the odd inoffensive mainstream pop song.

Which brings me to my point, spleen vented.

They have played Cindy Lauper’s ‘Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun’ a few times. Each time I hear it I feel a bittersweet pain.

I am suffused with a nostalgic melancholy for a loss I can’t quite pinpoint.

It’s not the song, which I like in an off-hand way. It’s not exactly the time in my life when it was in the charts.

I  have been thinking about it. O.K., so I was getting drunk but I was still working full time and my standard of living, due to the above, was considerably poorer than now.

It seems to be some sort of product of the milieu, the zeitgeist and my own age of innocence.

Girls just want to have fun.

We were young, all the fun was new and thrilling (not the dependencies they would become) life was innocent and hopeful, and we were all just kids. Trying to live the dream of the day, which was to be totally ‘right-on’, (which later became ‘Politically Correct’ and a stick with which to beat the dream to death.)

You weren’t a man, woman, black, white, atheist, Muslim, whatever, you were all people, and it could all work out.

I’m getting choked up looking back on that.

‘So young, so dumb’, as a later songstress would say.

Sorry about that, I was trying to capture a feeling and explain it. Wendy objects strongly to me writing it, so if it was too much…, well, tough tits, we ain’t in the 80’s no more!

…..And, we’re back in the room. Senior moment over with.

What has been happening with your quest for a driving job? I hear you cry. Potentially good news, at last!

For months every job I’ve seen is either advertised as ‘must have extensive previous experience’ or it turns out to be a prerequisite when I have applied.

Out of nowhere, like the proverbial bus, three come along at once that state ‘previous experience preferred, but not essential’.

Woo-hoo!

I’ve applied for two of them, (the third was 20-50 hours, I need to be sure of more than 20 hours).

One of them is for a car transporter driver. Not great in many ways, I’d have to take a pay cut on my basic, might be away from home for a week at a time, and it’s at Ellsmere Port (about 25 miles away, so petrol money would be more). However, when I rang them (turns out it’s an agency fielding the contract) they said that the jobs were full at the mo, ring them back every fortnight on a Friday and they would get me in. No experience necessary as two weeks training given!

That will do me!

Gotta go, boss says it’s bed time.

Buck.

The week that was.

Hi, it’s been another weird week.

At Kung Fu I had some seasoned veteran of the style doing blocking drills with me. I think he had an agenda, be it bullying the newbies or showing off how ‘well ‘ard’ he was I don’t know. Either way, what should have been a quite painful training exercise turned into a really painful test of endurance. I stuck it for as long as I could, but I was getting worried that I was going to sustain a serious injury.

The next day at work, as I got changed to go into the freezer (again!) one of the lads pointed out that I was bruising on my arms. I was OK with it until after my breakfast, then when I returned to work it was suddenly really sore. My right arm had swollen and hurt every time I moved it.

The photo’ doesn’t show the swelling very well, and makes the bruising look like slap marks, but believe me it really did smart!

That was less than fun to work through.

Also at work they’ve started sending me back into the freezer as I mentioned above. My five day reprieve, whilst welcome, was all too temporary. Ho hum. They are processing all the sick note people, still waiting to see if they have the commitment to follow through on the sacking of the unfit. The other event of the week at work was today when I got ready, had an early dinner and all that, made my grub for break, went in, then got told by the lads ‘it’s your day off today’.

And it was. Gutted. Came home pretty damn pronto but it ruined my day off.

Almost forgot, there was another incident of note at work; some geezer came up to me asking was going to sign a grievance, saying there were too many foreigners at our works!

ME!

Bloody hell, he’s someone I’ve know and worked with for 18 months, and he assumed I’d sign!

I was a bit miffed.

Someone coming up to you and saying, ‘seeing as you’re a moronic racist you’ll sign this knee-jerk whine, won’t you?’ Not flattered, me. 

Nearly parked the mighty Micra into a lamppost two doors down from our house today. That was briefly focusing. We’d only had a half inch of snow and it didn’t seem to be affecting the driving conditions. Until I tried to turn into our close. That would have been a whole world of embarrassment, crashing in front of all the neighbours!

To make this brief (Wendy’s gone to bed, so I have to hurry with the typing!) I watched Ip Man today, (the story of the guy who taught Bruce Lee Kung Fu)  it’s comically overacted in parts, (in the English subtitles, at least) the dialogue is dire, and the propaganda is rife, but the fight sequences! Wow! I really can’t wait to get back to class. I don’t care if it buggers my arms up, they must toughen up eventually, I’ve got to get good at Wing Chun Kung Fu!

There’s more, but you can’t master a martial art if you’ve been beaten to death by a sleep deprived spouse.

Later,

Buck.