Embracing The Suck – Part Two

Welcome back to The Suck, also known affectionately as Afghanistan.  On the upside, by the time this post is up, I will be past my halfway mark.  On the downside, I will have almost six more soul-eating months to go.  This is my ongoing collection of Rantaliciousness on the topic of what I am forced to deal with every day here.  It’s a lot like starting your morning with an epic kick in the jimmy.

Velcro – A few years back some fuck-knuckle decided that Velcro would be a fabulous idea for some of the Army uniform parts. So now our pockets and sleeves Velcro closed. This is just what you want when sneaking up on a Taliban dude and you have to get some deadly item out of your shoulder pocket to kill his terrorist ass with, and … rrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiipp. Even better, it brings an element of wardrobe malfunction to the battlefield. Someone please tell me how to make tired Velcro like new again.

Roaming Stench Cloud – At any given moment whether indoors or out, you can be overcome by the deadly Roaming Cloud of Stench. These come in several flavors: Shit-Sucker Truck (with a hint of Blue Water), Sewer Gas, Burning Feces, Rotting Feces, Stagnated Feces and (fill in your office mate’s name) Anal Cavity. It’s bad enough that Kabul’s air has a proven 0.3% suspended particulate poo content (SPPC), but it’s worse when you’re reminded of it so forcefully.  And make no mistake – we’re not talking about the smell of shit.  No, friends, we’re dealing with microscopic bits of the actual material here.

Alcohol.  Not to be found here.  At all.  This is part of the not-new but improved military.  You or your daddy might have enjoyed his two warm Budweisers every night in Vietnam.  Over here, now, we have a choice of water, diet soda, or for the daring – full-sugar soda or a Red Bull knock-off.  Every now and then they tote in alcohol-free beer.  I’d add some masturbation analogy to the NA-Beer thought, but I need to be drunk to do that.  Sadly, a lot of the problems I bitch about here would be solved if some of the window lickers around me could drink the stupid out of their neurons.

Is there a Bright Side?  Yes, in fact there is.  I will mitigate my own hateorade here and tell you that when people go home, we have a little party with the entire command and pin medals on them and brag about what they didn’t do.  A few nights ago, one of my Majors, soon to leave for home, RickRolled the entire unit.  I’m so proud.

I’m off to grumble at people and be pissed off all day.

54 Responses to “Embracing The Suck – Part Two”

  1. I’m so glad you’re defending your country. What the fuck are we actually supposed to be doing in Afghanistan at this point? And isn’t this your second tour of duty there? Are you just insane? Why did you do that? Do you like killing people? Exposing yourself to a totally toxic life? Or do you feel this is your patriotic duty? I’m so sorry you’re suffering in such a barbaric place. What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Having a roasted goats’ head? Stuffed with dirt? Jesus. Hope you get treatment for both PTSD & Anger Management when you get back to the US, if you decide to return.

    • It’s my duty, and yes apparently I am insane.

      • Well just keep safe. You are my all time favorite blogger. Most people are just so full of crap. So when you’re out of Afghanistan then what? I have finally figured out you’re career military, which I totally honor. I actually have been known to approach total strangers in uniform and thank them. And usually in tears of gratitude.

        My dad was a gunner in a B52 in WWII & his plane got shot down in flames. He was pretty toasted but healed & fought until the end…came home & made me. He joined @ 16, big farm boy, and got his GED after. We kids grew up in a small but comfortable home w/ love & food & clothes. And even both parents. Shit, how much more is there to be grateful for than that?

        You, and our military keeping our country a place to raise children in peace. That’s huge to me. I love you guys. I think of the wimpy shits that pass for men sometimes & it amazes me. You’re a man alright. Walk tall.

  2. What’s rickrolled mean? It must be hell to put up with Afghanistan without alcohol!

  3. That’s a lot of shit in the air :/ . Deeesgusting.

    As for worn out velcro, I think the only thing to be done is cut out the stitches and sew in a new patch….. Or get the whole thing replaced :/ .

    My sympathies on the beer….

  4. I can only express my gratitude for what you have to put up with, and can never fully know what it takes. But your description comes damn close to what I know of motherhood, in utero and beyond – necessity of bland beverages, molecular stench, stupid-ass velcro on the swaddling contraption that’s supposed to encourage junior to sleep, kicks in the jimmy (first from the interior, then from the exterior) and, later, window lickers. Great post!

  5. Indeed! And God saw it was a good thang…Hey, can’t access your dictionary entry for B – was listed in the reader but get that 404 message, doesn’t exist. Did you pull it to edit or something?

  6. Well, I got my answer on the “Rantionary B” entry, so that’s good. And I suppose removing the velcro would be some kind of punishable offence. Me, I’d hire some old Afghan woman to re-sew everything with buttons! Then again, try moving up quietly on somebody when everything is held together with brass fittings. Sounds like throwing the London Philharmonic percussion section down 3 flights of stairs!
    Love the countdown clock – can’t you set it to days, or even better yet, hours? You could sit and watch it count down when you’re off duty! (Could actually be more exciting than a bunch of the crap they got you doing!)
    And that WW1 gas mask offer is still good! I can have it to you by Christmas definitely! 😀

  7. I burned a batch of pancakes while reading this…
    Velcro- to make the old new…if it’s the rough side, take two rough sides and rub them together repeatedly and that will pull all the crap up to the surface so you can pick it out. If it’s the soft side, take NEW velcro- the rough side, and dab it roughly and yank it apart and that “should” fluff it up so it sticks again. Otherwise, send me your address and velcro size and I’ll send you new stuff. My aunt actually creates some uniforms for the military- I might even be able to get you a new one! 🙂

  8. Sounds like the velcro thing was come up with by someone who has never been on a front line.
    I’m surprised there haven’t been a ton of complaints about it.

    How the second half of your tour is as smooth as possible, Rants.

  9. I literally laughed-out-loud reading your post. God, I needed that.

    And I see you’ve already got a a good amount of velcro advice, so no use for mine.

    As for the stench, if you have a menthol/camphor cream like vick’s vapor rub, that could help with the awful odor (used to cancel out the odor of decaying bodies in autopsies). You take a tiny dollop and rub it right at the bottom of both nostrils, and it should take care of any pungent smells. Hope it helps!

  10. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    Dang, that’s some sucky suckiness….I would say I will drink a beer for you, but that probably wouldn’t make you feel any better…how about just a yay, yay for being 1/2 way outta there and back home to your family!

  11. Rainman says, Yay! Definitely Yay!

  12. Am I late again? Ugh…velcro suck ass…fuck that! Might as well use double sided tape…stay safe, Rants!

  13. My brother was a tanker in the army. He was stationed in Germany and did some time in Somalia. Thank you for what you do!!

    What you need is some stress relief. Try dabbling with explosives or seeing at what temperature the “poo-air” will ignite. Or “throw” some ordinance down range. Torturing small animals or coworkers is fun sometimes too. Just don’t become someone’s bacha bazi…..just sayin.

    God speed and stay safe!!

  14. maybe the velcro got tired coz it caught most of the suspended particulates? 🙂

  15. You know, when I first saw the title, I thought this was going to be a scathing review of Twilight part 8 and then I realized that this could definitely pass as said review. Anyways, the velcro deal is unfortunate. I thought the utility of velcro was limited to the poor fashion sense of the 80’s but now I see that even the Armed forces have teamed up with the latest designers in continuing to revive a fashion era that should have never been revisited. I apologize in advance for my generation supporting this movement.

    In other news, my experiments are working and research is going great! But I don’t want to celebrate too soon as science doesn’t go well for extended periods of time unless you’re incredibly lucky or have been forgetting to add some reagent in an extraction process. Not that that’s happened to me. So it looks like I may get my PhD in 4 yours instead of 8.

    Perhaps things may go faster for you soon. Take care!


  16. Thank you, Rants, for your service and sacrifice. I hope you can go to your “happy place” when the stench comes ’round. Nothing worse than TASTING a smell! And looking forward to your “F” post in the Rantionary. ha

  17. I just looked up RickRoll. Must….bleach….brain…make it STOP!!!

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