(Official I-Was-There Picture taken by Matthew Clark)
It's how our U.S. Army tells our boys and girls that they are truly loved! Shoot their veins full of fun and fury. Adaptation is everything, and being immune to Anthrax seems to be the going thing when preparing a soldier to go "Over There". Every time I tell someone that my son is in the Army they ask "Is he over there?" I've decided to answer them with "He's in my heart, and anywhere else he's suppose to be." I'm told I'm not really suppose to say when he's OVER THERE due to security issues. I mean, it's not a secret that we have men and women in Iraq, but I suppose specifically I'm not suppose to say WHO exactly is there.
Here's my thought on the secrecy of it all. You know those peel off name tags that attach to a soldier's uniform? Well, if you're in Baghdad, and you stand back a few feet and to see that one of the soldiers standing in front of you has a last name so long that they used two bars to fit it in, chances are STRINGFELLLOW is Over There! I suppose they could all wear tags that say "Clark" or "Davis" that would be confusing to the world - they could tattoo the bottom of their feet with their real names because they're suppose to keep that part of their bodies covered at all times. I think they could even use Sharpee (like Caity does for eye-liner) and write their name, rank, and serial number (do they have serial numbers now?) on the inside of their helmets - there's no secret about it, if they're there, they're there.
This morning when my son called to tell me he had just been pumped up with a good sized dose of Anthrax he didn't seem too concerned about it. He mentioned it in passing, and then went straight into the reasons why he thinks he'll try out for Division One football here in Oklahoma as soon as he returns, but if he doesn't get it straight up he'll try out for an Arena Football League (Oklahoma Yard Dogs) while attending college - he's still rocking back and forth on joining the guard immediately, something about growing his hair out to his shoulders for a couple of years before he commits to it, but doesn't want to lose any rank or seniority. Oh, the chooses he's forced to make....while Anthrax courses through his veins!
Somewhat less threatening than football injuries that may occur, he placed the possibility of actually dying from the venom he had just received. Here's how it went from my point of view:
Reuben: Oh, if I die from this you get like $400,000.00 but you have to give the girls something like $50,000 each so they can at least get through college, is that cool?
Mom: Shut up.
Reuben: I'm just sayin', I die you're covered. Oh, and don't forget the funeral stuff because I thought about that just when the medic pushed the thing, I'm like "Oh wow, I have my funeral planned out and it could be happening this week".
Mom: Shut up.
Reuben: Anyway, I'm trying out for the Arena Football League when I get back, but I'll give OU a shot at it too, I'm not that big, but I could be a safety. Yeah, I could be a damn good safety. Do they even have a weak spot? Probably not, if I went for the Yard Dogs I'd be like this Whack Lineman slash (/) Safety guy. He's not that big, I'm not that big, but hell I could grow out my hair and be like really awesome.
Mom: Would you still be a Guard when you come back?
Reuben: I don't know if I'm big enough, the line's pretty big at OU and probably in the Arena league too - I'm only 5'11" now remember? I lost my height when I joined the Army.
Mom: Shut up. I meant the National Guard.
Reuben: They don't really have a team Mom. If you're going to play for the Army you have to go to West Pointe.
Reuben: (Laughing at me) Love ya Mom, gotta go. We're running 12 miles today to see if we keel over or not.
Thank you U.S. Army - You haven't taken his humor, even if he dies he'll have that damn smile.