Nanny Nanny Boo Boo...
Isn't that what you said when you were little, and one of your playmates got a well deserved comeuppance? Nanny nanny boo boo, or some variation thereof. Universal code for 'You get what you pay for'.
I was heading upstairs this evening to play a little Doom 3, when I spied the headline on our local fishwrapper, and read the story. 2 dead, several wounded in Iraq. Local boys, from the unit out of our NG Armory. Nanny nanny boo boo. First thought in my head.
When my son first came home from his tour in Iraq, he got leave right away and came home. He would just walk around town all day, seeing old friends, going to old haunts, soaking us back up. Reimprinting the Real World over the mad cartoon that has been playing in his head for a year since he went to Kuwait, and thence gunning into Iraq on GW's Wild Ride.
He came home one day and threw himself on the couch, angry, fairly bristling, muttering. "Fukkem" he said, "stupid motherfuckers wanna die, just fukkem." Seems his pilgrimage had taken him past our local armory, and the unit was assembled, working haphazardly at their gear. My son, I am sure was drawn to them like a bee to honey, having been only lately among civilians, yet living in the military world for nearly two years. The lure must have been irresistible, to be near an offshoot of your tribe, around the familiar green.
It was a sham. He introduced himself to the NCOIC, told him he was fresh back, and wondered if they had any questions they'd like to ask him. He was given the equivalent of 'Go away kid, ya bother me'. Now, when I was active duty, I used to train the Oregon National Guard. They were hopeless. We called them the 'Nasty Guard', and they were an enthusiastically sorry bunch, with the usual few exceptions. This NCO was one of the rules. No headgear, boots unbloused, fat gut pushing a sweaty t-shirt out of his BDU pants. When my unit was around them, there was hero worship. We never had to buy drinks. We were the real deal, and they thought we were gods. We nearly were. But there was always the envy, just underneath, the hatred for us because we reflected their weakness back at them.
So, when my son, his hair high and tight, sporting a fresh tan from the desert sun, looking sharp and military even in his civvies, came up and engaged this slob of an E7 in conversation, I know that the E7 must have just been burning. A smarter man would have dropped everything and called a huddle of his men in the shade somewhere. If they were under orders to complete some mundane task, a good NCO would have set up an opportunity to get together at another time and pump my sons head dry of invaluable intel, intel that is in no training or field manual, and can't be bought except through hard experience. But no, he turned him away with barely concealed contempt.
Are those men dead because of that? I don't know. Are those men crippled for life because of a fat slobs decision? I couldn't tell you. All I know is the first thought that popped into my head while I was reading the story...
Nanny nanny boo boo.