Archive for February, 2008

Fleshwound! Right on!

February 22, 2008

Well, I finally got my first wound here in Iraq. It’s an awe inspiring story that somehow involves a distinct lack of insurgency.

The gym I go to is perfectly small for me. You can’t fit but 8 people in it until it gets crowded, and there are just enough things to pull, push, climb and lift to get a good workout. I don’t need variety, I just need some dumbells and space. No mirrors for the vain, and no circulation except that which the open door and desert wind provides.  

I was doing abdominal muscles. I was alternating sets on two different inclines for sit-ups, a podium to do reverse sit-ups on, and hanging from the pull up bar to do L shape lifts, where I bring my feet up parallel to the ground. It gets tough in combat boots. 

About 15 out of 30 minutes into the workout, I grab the pull up bar with both hands close together, and turn sideways to bring my knees up into a tuck. Ususally you don’t hang straight, but lift with your arms so you clear the ground. I pull on my arms, and…

Pow! Stars and spots of quickly changing colors burst in my vision. I say something not too nice (I am a soldier, remember?), and blink a couple times. I look up and notice the middle part, where people do not expect you to be pulling up, is connected to main machine and the support bar has a corner on it, which I must have hit. Wow.

But I’m a tough guy, and finish my workout over the next 15 minutes. I go inside and back to work. I am sitting at my computer, thinking very hard on how to solve the Iraqi problem, when a coworker comes up and stares in horror. “What is that on your head!?! Why are you bleeding?!”

“What?” I get nervous. I run my fingers through my head, and find a big spot all clotted with the 3 days of hair growth I have. Wow. I hold a paper towel over it, and like most wounds on your scalp, it takes forever to stop bleeding. Now I have a bump on my head like the old Warner Bros. Cartoon characters.

My first blood loss in a war zone, and it’s accidently self inflicted. I don’t think they give medals for those.

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A Month! A Whole Month!

February 4, 2008

Yes, this is the longest I have gone without updating this site. Yes, this is the longest I have gone without writing some of you individually. But, I now have an excuse for at least the last week.

Have you heard that the pipeline for much of this region of the world was cut last week? An underwater cable that handles phone, internet, and other types of digital traffic got severed, which is severely limiting an entire portion of the world’s access to the rest of the whole. This amazes me.

Now, initially, since I’m in the Armed Forces, I thought, “Terrorists. Obviously. Lets find them and shoot them for taking our internet!” but I was, thankfully, proved wrong. That’s just a knee jerk reaction to the years of training I’ve had so far. It turns out the situation is much more pedantic than I initially though: it was cut by some boat dragging something. Of course, it is hard for me to confirm it since the American news they pipe in here hasn’t mentioned it yet, and any other resource I would use is limited by the line being cut, so I may be wrong.

When I tried to call my parents, or my wife, all I got when I actually got in contact with someone, was a skipping record type of conversation. This was worse than cell phone static, because we couldn’t even understand if each other were even talking or had said anything half the time. It was frustrating, to say the least.

With my fears stayed for a while without internet access and all this additional free time since I wasn’t calling home, I came across a troubling thought. “Hey, Good-Looking,” as I call myself, “what would happen if terrorists or someone else did cut the lines on purpose? What kind of economic, militaristic, and social effects would that have on things?” I decided it would be a bad time, if one line being cut affects this much of the world.

Economies could be disrupted since shipping and deliveries could be delayed, or notifications normally handled digitally or in phone calls could not be verified. Any decent military has its own set of cables and satellites, but placing undue stress on satellites would mean a possible loss in traffic information since re-prioritization would have to be done quickly. Socially, people wouldn’t know what could be affecting them, lose contact with family and friends for a while, and their constant attempts to make sure people are ok could flood the system, as has happened with cellular networks in the USA during natural disasters, or 9/11.

Of course, the personal application is that I didn’t ever think of something like this until it already happened to me. I’m not blaming myself, or anyone else, but events like this have led me to believe that life, in many ways, can be a bit scarier and sillier than fiction.

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