May 26, 2011.
Dateline: Patriot Square, Camp Phoenix
From: George Shreves, Ambassador to USCENTCOM from BS
Subject: Holy Cow, It’s a Cub Fan
Patriot Square is the hub of all activity here at Camp Phoenix. It is bounded on one side by the DFAC, another by the Chapel (non-denominational, of course, steeple, no cross) the Welcome Center (should be renamed, “Don’t Ask, We Can’t Help” center), medical, security and other places that people need to go on a frequent basis. So, Patriot Square is a big open area with all this stuff around the edges.
Patriot Square also has some activities. On Tuesdays, they show MASH reruns, and they have free wi-fi connections two nights a week (20 connection limit please). Races start and end there, and troops assemble there for deployment and redeployment. Anyway, the point is, everybody passes through Patriot Square several times during the day.
As I had previously reported, they sent me over here with uniforms and stuff, but when I got here I discovered that I can wear civilian clothes. The only civilian clothes I had with me were two Cub shirts and two pairs of jeans. By wearing one jean/Cub shirt combo, I could have the other washed, so every day; I wore a Cub shirt and jeans. Finally, Caleb and Karol sent me a box with some more Cub shirts, so now I have six Cub shirts.
Because of this, I have become a local celebrity of sorts: “CUB Man”. I have discovered that there are Cubs fans all over the world. There are also assholes that like to rib people who are Cubs fans, ala Garry Caves (dickhead). Everywhere I go now, I hear cheerful calls of “CUB Man!” or “Go Cubs”. Sometimes, I hear things like “Look, he was actually alive in 1908”, or “CUBS Suck”. These latter comments are from idiots who are Cardinal fans and Yankee fans, but lack the balls to wear their teams’ colors.
Last week, I passed some Nepalese guys. After I passed them, I hear one say to the group: “yes, eet eez heem, eet eez CUB Man”! I felt like a million bucks.
One other thing about Patriot Square that merits attention is that it is the gathering point for transient troops – that is troops that are just passing through. Some of these troops are BAD ASS. I don’t say that lightly, but when these tough guys roll in out of the desert, get out of their way. Just the look in their eyes is scary enough, but some of these guys are physical monsters too.
There are lots of physical monsters in the military. I never really realized it, because I always worked with officers, but these enlisted guys spend every spare minute lifting weights, running, eating power bars and thinking up new and imaginative ways to torture themselves and each other. “Sure I’ll go on a 15 mile run blindfolded carrying 200 lbs, but ONLY if we tie our ankles together and sprinkle ground glass in our pants” “OK, but then let’s make it 30 miles and run backwards AND let scorpions bite us every 5 miles” “OK, sounds good” They’re nuts. They are also the most polite people I’ve ever met. I’m used to being a pain in the ass to most people. In fact, for years I thought my first name was “fuck you”. Not here. Here, it’s “Hello, sir” “Let me get that door for you sir”. At first I was suspicious, like I would go through the door, then they would trip me, knock me down, give me a snuggie and take my silver dollar Garry gave me. But no, they’re serious. I guess it’s the military discipline. Or maybe because I seem 100 yrs old to them, I don’t know, but I’m not bitching. Today I’m wearing my Garza Cub shirt, because it’s Thursday. The only way I would quit wearing my Cubs shirt is if I had a camo shirt that says: “You can’t kill insurgents all day long, if you don’t start in the morning” HA!
Your humble correspondent,