Why I’m holding my tongue on the home front

I am, as you’ve all probably gathered by now, an almost excessively verbal person.  The old expression “She can talk the hind leg off a donkey” was invented with someone like me in mind.  Given the opportunity, I can sustain an entire conversation single-handedly.  (I think it might be called a monologue.)  The only things that save me from total boorishness are (1) that I actually find other people very interesting and (2) that my Momma raised me with something approaching good manners.

All of which is to say that, being as verbal as I am, one of the main ways in which I experience my life is through words.  Whether something good or bad happens, I want to talk about it.  In this case, of course, the good thing was the Rush mention.  I’ve been able to write about it with all of you (thank you!), but I haven’t been able to run this one through my mouth.  For reasons only my synapses know, this has been very frustrating to me.

Yesterday, I decided to tell someone I trust:  my sister.  My sister is the most non-judgmental person I know, plus she loves me a great deal, plus she’s only lukewarm politically.  Despite all these things, when I told her about the Rush mention, she treated me as if I’d announced that I’d won first place in a pole dancing contest:  pleased for my happiness, but dismayed by the whole sordid thing!

No wonder I’m disinclined to tell those in my corporeal world that, in my chosen political pond, I’ve gotten the friendly wink from one of the biggest fishes of all.  Even the most generous hearted of them will find it hard to appreciate my happiness over what they see as a wallow in the cesspool.

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  • SGT Dave

    I understand exactly how you felt with your sister.  A few years ago at a family gathering, my mother was commenting on the Iraq conflict and stated “At least Dave’s never had to kill anyone.” 
    At which point my wife sprayed cola all over the living room and almost fell out of her chair laughing.
    I had to calmly explain to my now-frantic mother that yes, indeed, there had been times when there were bad people on the other end of my rifle – and that those same bad people were no longer living.  To this day, my mom still has problems understanding why I am not more concerned over the state of my soul in the aftermath.  She doesn’t quite get it, though my dad is a lot more understanding about the times I never really talked to them about what was bothering me.
    My sisters don’t really understand, either – and the ones who lived through a hippy phase (three of the four) are unsure if I’m actually safe to be around at times. 
    I just have a laugh and move on – they won’t ever (and I am happy for this) experience what I did.  Their lack of understanding is not important; it just is.
    And my wife now understands why I never told my mother about that terrible day for over ten years.  My wife (then *just* my best friend) knew I had something tearing at me and just listened to me ramble on over a phone line for hours on end.  She gets it – and that makes it worth it.
    I hope we can be the ones who make it worth it for you, despite the physical world’s inability to connect.

    SSG Dave
    “So what, exactly did you feel when it happened?”
    Me – (in a badly considered jest) “Recoil.”
    (look of abject horror from questioner, who then flees the scene)
    Me – Oops.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    I’m so glad you’re back at my blog, SSG Dave.  I missed you while you were away.

    As for me, considering that both my parents have been shot at and that my dad was able to shoot back (my mom was unarmed when she was on the receiving end of a near-miss), I’ve never had a problem with having the bad guy looking up the wrong end of a gun.

  • SGT Dave

    Thanks for the welcome back,
    I’ve been reading, but finally got work to slow down to a pace where I can type for a bit.  Went to a very, very rewarding professional class and just fell behind.  I may be heading out of country in the near future again, but this time as a staff type instead of a pointy-end type.  It makes my wife much, much happier that way.
    I’ve eaten up my break time, so back to the grindstone I go.

    SSG Dave
    “It is pleasant to be missed – it is far more pleasant to have not been in the target zone.” 

  • suek

    “…but dismayed by the whole sordid thing!”
    Why sordid?  because of the “fool’s names and fool’s faces” thing, or is she actually more political than you may have thought?  Or…?
    Sgt Dave…
    With two sons involved in the military, one of which went through Desert Storm, and the other who went to Iraq for a year…I can sympathize with both sides.  I think there’s a certain personal guilt – I think – that someone may have been killed on my behalf.  There’s also a recognition that someone close to you has overcome the very deeply instilled prohibition about killing – and that’s unsettling.  Nevertheless, the alternative is unacceptable to me either so I don’t condemn.  In fact, I agree.  Which causes me some of the guilt – as if I had been part of the action myself.  But I wasn’t – and I don’t have to live with having done what our culture has taught us is not to be done.  That’s the part that you – and they – have to live with.   You – and they – have the greater burden.  My sons have never spoken about it – and don’t seem to have a problem.   Maybe the occasion came up or maybe it didn’t.  I don’t know, and don’t intend to probe.  If they choose to speak about it, I’ll listen – but the fact is…I’d have no idea how to respond.  It’s nothing to cheer about…but you do what you have to do.
    You have my sincere appreciation for the burden you carry for all of us.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    “It makes my wife much, much happier that way.”
    Pretty sure it makes some of us happier too.

  • BrianE

    Reminds me of an old joke.
    A pastor, an avid golfer, decided to play hooky from preaching and play golf instead.
    He told the deacons an appropriate lie about being at a conference so as to be excused from his normal expository duties.
    Come Sunday morning, he was up and away to the links like a kid on Christmas.
    He hit a perfect drive on the first tee, landing 350 yards down the fairway. On his second shot, he holed it. Estatic, he dashed to the second hole where he proceeded to score a hole in one. And so his game proceeded.
    Meanwhile, St. Peter who had been watching from inside the Pearly Gates became more and more agitated. Finally, beside himself, he approached his Maker to point out the injustice.
    “Sir, he skipped his pastoral duties, he obfuscated his purpose– and you’re rewarding him with a perfect round of golf,” St. Peter exclaimed.
    God looked at him patiently and responded quietly, “yes, but who’s he going to tell?”
    It must be very frustrating to have had a national moment and be unable to share it with people you care about and who care about you.
    But we all know your success, and you’ve been successful long before this feather was added to your cap. Your writing is lucid, your points cogent, your style never demagogy.
    The folks that you hold as friends on this blog are obviously intelligent, experienced and thoughtful, never descending into the vile bickering that plagues most political and social commentary.
    I suppose the feeling is like hitting your first home run. You never forget the time, the place or the feeling.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    “If they choose to speak about it, I’ll listen – but the fact is…I’d have no idea how to respond. ”
    They don’t say it because they don’t want to put you in an uncomfortable place.
    I think it is the same for Dave. Some people just don’t get it. Most of the time, it is just because of how they lived their life. It is not like it is a conscious choice between vanilla or chocolate.
    If people want to talk about the toil on their soul, it won’t be with those that feel uncomfortable or insecure at the very idea of killing.
    Dave and I have talked somewhat about this, with written words. I think we understand each other’s positions to a certain extent. As much as one can using one’s own experience as a template. But somebody else, it is hard. It’s not impossible. There are communicators around that know this stuff, that have done this stuff, and know how to encapsulate it into bite sized pieces, and I think Marc McYoung is one of them and so are the instructors at TFT, but I’m not one of em.
    Teaching people, those with indoctrinated elephant collars, about violence, is beyond my level of skill.
    “My sisters don’t really understand, either – and the ones who lived through a hippy phase (three of the four) are unsure if I’m actually safe to be around at times. ”
    The people you know are comfortable in violence, are the civilians that can talk to convicted felons out on the streets and act like they’re calmly at a buffet table eating their food.
    Just because that person is dangerous to a regular person, doesn’t mean he is dangerous to me. It is a unique distinction. Until people, like your sisters, understand that to the point where they rest their life upon the knowledge, they’ll feel uneasy and never know why.
    They’re unsure. Uncertain. Put them in a locked room with a convicted rapist or murderer and they would probably feel very nervous. Put me in a locked room with a convicted rapist or murderer and… well.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Call up Martel, Book. Isn’t he in your area?

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    In fact, why not record your voice doing those lovely monologues? I’d like to hear em, certainly.

  • Deana

    Ha-ha-ha!  I love that line about winning first place in a pole-dancing contest.  Perfect!
    Well, I wondered if you had said anything to your husband but perhaps it isn’t a good idea.  Few people are going to get what an honor this is for you.  It sounds like your sister will continue to love you anyway.

  • Deana

    SSG Dave –
    On a more serious note, I applaud you for having the outlook you do on things.  Having people not understand what you have experienced is one thing.  But having those same people who have never walked a foot in your shoes then turn around and, in effect, judge you or change the way they think about you, is something else entirely.  I don’t think I’d handle that so well.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    ” Well, I wondered if you had said anything to your husband but perhaps it isn’t a good idea. ”
    Definitely not a good idea. We’re her substitutes, she can tell us whatever she wants to tell her husband!
    It’s like you won First Place in a shooting contest, Book.

  • Charles Martel

    I think we are Book’s substitutes. I hope she understands how proud we are of her, because we get to bathe a bit in the same glory. I’m hoping this is the start of one helluva roll for her.

    Speaking of not being able to share the good news, I started to say something about Book’s good fortune to my yellow dog Democrat wife yesterday, but bit my tongue in time. There are certain secrets of the universe that if made known to her portion of mankind can only vex and thoroughly confuse. 

  • Leah

    It’s not easy living a split life, especially when something big like this happens.
    I know you appreciate our joy at your success, but a lot of us are faceless words on a page.
    I’m sure your kids are thrilled! btw, keep mentioning these successes to your loved ones,  maybe one of these days they’ll show genuine happiness that you have achieved something very important for YOU, not them.

  • http://lookingforlissa.wordpress.com lookingforlissa

    Like Deana, I was curious about whether your husband would be pleased for you, or — to use your delightful expression — react as if you’d won a pole-dancing contest.  (I am SO noting that for future use!)  I’m glad you can share in your faithful readers’ “SQUEEEE!!!”

  • SGT Dave

    Slightly off subject but really, really important.  If someone can forward to BW on email, I’d appreciate it:
    US clears 2nd Navy SEAL in Iraqi abuse case
    BAGHDAD — A U.S. military judge has cleared a Navy SEAL of wrongdoing in the alleged beating of a prisoner suspected of masterminding the grisly 2004 killings of four American contractors in Iraq.
    The military says the judge found insufficient evidence to convict Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonathan Keefe on charges of dereliction of duty.
    Keefe — one of three SEALS charged in the case — was not accused of assaulting Ahmed Hashim Abed but of failing to prevent the abuse.
    The case has drawn fire from at least 20 members of Congress and other Americans who see it as coddling terrorists to overcompensate for the notorious Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

    SSG Dave
    “The Truth shall set you Free.”

  • Ruth H

    So, it’s like you’re the one playing the piano in the whorehouse.  Guess that makes us the what? patrons, girls, whatever our role,  keep it up, we love you.

  • dianemadeline

    “Charles Martel
    I think we are Book’s substitutes. I hope she understands how proud we are of her, because we get to bathe a bit in the same glory. I’m hoping this is the start of one helluva roll for her.”
    I felt special all day! Thanks, Charles Martel, for expressing my thoughts better than I would have. And of course, congrats to you, Bookworm! Bask in the glory.

  • Al

    One more time. Pole dancing.

  • http://thoughtyoudneverask.blogspot.com/ zabrina

    I am so happy for you, Book. Couldn’t happen to a nicer (or a better) blogger/writer. As for your sister, give her some time. Maybe she’ll actually (gasp!) tune in and listen to Rush for awhile out of curiosity. Then you know what happens….!
    Bookworm: changing Planet Earth one human mind at a time….