Melissa (wand3rlust) wrote,
Melissa
wand3rlust

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Jarhead Envy - "Welcome to the Suck"

I’ve had my head buried deep in the book “Jarhead” for the past 5 days. Any spare moment at work, waiting in line at the store, staying up until 2 AM… it’s enthralling and refreshing. I have about 100 pages left to read and I can't wait to finish. This is one of those books that you can just go around quoting, and anyone who's read it will instantly know what you're quoting. I suspect they used a lot of those memorable quotes in the movie and I’m hoping it will be at the $1 theater here soon, 'cause I still haven’t had a chance to see it.

Anyway I’ve got to admit, as strange and twisted as it may sound I am utterly jealous of these men and the bonds they form.

I don’t care how many women you get together, they will never bond in the way that guys always manage to. It’s that inevitable camaraderie that makes a guy who’s not even a “buddy” a comrade. And in my experience it’s just not the same with women. Not in the service, not on a sports team, not anywhere. (I'm not trying to rag on women or anything. This all makes sense in my head. LOL) I suppose most would just say “that’s the way it’s supposed to be” but I’m not your average girl, and it’s really a lose/lose kind of situation I’m in.

I have this inability to form any sort of long term bond with women. My best friend Melissa being the rare exception, but we’re so like minded on some things it’s scary. All the female friends I’ve had over the years end up fighting over guys, getting catty over who hangs out with who more, or just gossiping about other women’s fashion, boyfriends and other stupid trivial crap that I just can’t be bothered with every single day and every single conversation. I mean I like being girly, I like fashion, I like men, but there’s only so much gossipy conversation I can handle in one sitting.

I once dated a guy who told me how refreshing it was to date a girl who would go to a sports event with him and actually pay attention to the game and know who the players were, or the fact that I’d flip him shit for locking his keys in the car on our first date. But in that same respect, most men don’t want a girlfriend who’s a “guy’s girl.” They want the sexpot wannabe housewife, or the casual fling, and I don’t blame them. It just makes dating really hard for me.

Wow, that got way off topic…. It all really does make sense in my head, but probably not to anyone else. I think I’m just lonely and am letting things get to me. Meh.

Anyway, back to “Jarhead.” – The details of these guys day-to-day lives is... well I dunno what it is, but I know it makes it seem like I was there with them, feeling their fear, pain, anger, frustrations, laughs and sorrows. A fly on the wall. Any book that can put me in the thick of it is always worth my time and this one more so than usual. This guy, Anthony Swofford, writes like poetry and I'm eating up every juicy bit of it.


Favorite Quotes (12 so far):
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"...Swofford, you are a goddamn Marine Corps grunt. You are the most savage, the meanest, the crudest, the most unforgiving creature in God's cruel kingdom. You are a killer, not a goddamn bugle player. That bugle shit is from the movies. You ain't Frank Fucking Sinatra."

"Aye, aye, Staff Sergant."

"You're in Third Platoon, G Company. Third is full of drunks and half-wits. Maybe you can bring some respectability to the sons of bitches."

"Thanks Staff Sergant."

"Don't thank me. Just don't fucking die."

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I enjoyed hearing their manifestos against the Corps -- the Suck, as they called it, "because it sucks dicks to be in it and it sucks the life out of you."

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The paradoxes of love are the paradoxes of war, the lesson goes, the thing you love most deeply might someday fail you.

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We run in silence. Troy is smaller and faster than me, but I can outdistance him. He tries to tire me out quickly, and I attempt to finish him off slowly. We run and runn and the hours pass, and even though we're going in circles, I'm running away from whatever I left back in the barracks. I'm swirling around the thing until it becomes part of the swirl, and the swirl becomes part of me, and I'm still part of that small sickness, and that sickness is still a small part of me, but it no longer has me bent over at the waist, chewing on the muzzle of my rifle. Maybe someday in the future I will revisit the sickness, but for now I'm done with it.

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Cortes acts like a boot, wears his gear like a boot, and asks boot questions. He falls behind on humps, complains about the lack of hot chow, tries to hide porn mags, and swears he doesn't masturbate and that he'll never go down on a woman. Standard boot fare.

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Despite our various disagreements on anything from religion to sports teams to poker rules .... we are a tight platoon, and it doesn't matter whom you train with every day in your team .... you can look anywhere and you always have a friend. And if need be, because of stupidity or vanity or selfishness, you also have someone near who will slap you or field-fuck you or spend a few days telling you what a worthless piece of shit you are, until you realize that whatever bug you have up your ass is about a week late in being removed.

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The warrior becomes a hero, and the society celebrates the death and destruction of war, two things the warrior never celebrates. The warrior celebrates the fact of having survived, not of killing Japs or Krauts or gooks or Russkies or ragheads. That large and complex emotional mess called national victory holds no sway for the warrior. It is necessary to remind civilians of this fact, to make them hear the voice of the warrior.


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The mail generally arrives two or three times a week, I especially enjoy recieveing letters on Sundays because it makes me feel as though we're being treated with special consideration, getting mail on a day of the week no in the States will.

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In the middle of December we begin receiving shipments of Any Marine letters. .... Atticus's letter is actually a short note scrawled on a pink index card, supposedly from a recent university dropout: I just quite Yale. I like to fuck a lot and drop acid. Write me soon if you like to fuck a lot and drop acid. Thanks. Obviously, Atticus has hit the vein. the other Any Marines look defeated. We all gather around Atticus to read the soon-famous note ourselves and make sure he isn't lying. I like to fuck a lot and drop acid becomes one of our rallying cries, better than any Ohh-rah or Semper fi.

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The men of STA Platoon are my family. Mother, father, sister, brother, we play each of these to one another, because we must. This is when I begin to understand that when you are a part of war, life goes on for the people who aren't. They don't stop living to write you letters and keep you abreast of how they've stopped living. They marry the right and wrong people, make bad investments, get in car wrecks, die, birth children, get drunk, use drugs, have sex, become infected with diseases, and eat civilized meals.

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"We've been here too long. It's our home, so how can it all of the sudden be a war zone?"

"Bastards were just waiting fo us to acclimatize, for the cool weather to get here. They think they're doing us a favor by waiting this long."

"Welcome to the motherfucker."

"Welcome to the motherfucker."

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...and, if only for a moment, he makes us feel better, or at least loved, loved in the way men love one another when they enter combat -- loved as brothers love brothers and fathers love sons and sons love fathers -- because they are men and they might soon die in one another's arms.


I could've included a lot more conversation quotes, but they woul've been long and most likely not make any sense, since they are mostly related to some paragraph or conversation earlier. And, besides some are way vulgar and amusing to me, but not nessecarily to others.

Tags: books, ramblings
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