June 12, 2011
Dateline: J-8, SCO-A HQ
From: ‘Ole Lazy George’
Subject: Sunday Morning, Coming Down
Well, folks, I’ve now been AWOL from BS for almost two months. The hard “jones” I had at first has somewhat faded. It’s been eroded by eating right, not drinking and exercising, all things I avoided like the plague before I got here. Now when I imagine my good times at BS, it’s all fuzzy, like those wedding pictures where the photographer smears Vaseline around the edge of the lens to create a “dreamy” effect. Don’t get me wrong, I still miss my “home away from home”, just in a more sentimental way.
For instance, I really miss sleeping in till around 10 on Sunday, taking a shower, grabbing a bite of breakfast at Village Inn with Karol and then heading to BS to watch the Cubs or NASCAR (or both, if I get hold of the remote). The camaraderie, the laughter, the ice cold beer; it’s all there in my mind. It makes me grin just thinking of it. But, like people do, I tend to block out the bad parts; spending too much money in the Prince machine, dragging my hung-over ass out of bed Monday mornings and vaguely wondering if I set anyone on fire. See what I mean? Time softens memories.
When you are in a combat zone, every day is the same. There is no weekend. Every single day, you get up, work all day, and go to bed. Sunday is no different than Thursday. It becomes monotonous. So at a recent staff meeting, General Gator’s comments really got my attention:
“Folks, burnout is a real thing. We can’t have a single point of failure here at Phoenix. It is important that you take care of yourselves and each other. Therefore, I want everyone to consider Sundays de-compression days. Take care of what needs taken care of, but also take care of yourselves. If you need to clean your hooch, get a haircut or whatever, feel free to do it. Take time for yourselves and for each other”
Everybody solemnly nodded their heads in agreement, marveling yet again at the wisdom and kindness of our leader. I also nodded in agreement, but I was already plotting! I’m thinking to myself “Hold on a minute. Is he saying what I think he’s saying?” Oh yeah. Lazy Day. Right up my alley. Quicker than a flash I added sleeping in, skipping exercise and eating whatever I wanted to the ‘haircut and taking care of myself’ thing or whatever he said. Boy, oh boy! Lazy Day!
Sunday, I got started right away. First I slept in till 9:00. Then, after my morning constitutional, I showered and headed for breakfast (this was a small hitch in my plans; if I sleep in, I miss the good hot breakfast, but if I get up and eat the good hot breakfast, I can’t sleep in. Hmmm… I sleep in). After a leisurely cold breakfast, I gave the ‘Stars and Stripes’, the daily Armed Forces newspaper, a thorough read. Here’s something weird: I’m a crossword master (as Karen Gerenson will surely attest), but I’ll tell you, whoever makes up the crossword puzzles in the Stars and Stripes must be an evil bastard, because these are the hardest I’ve ever done, bar none. And this paper is aimed at young soldiers for God’s sake! But I digress.
Next, I wander over to the office and check out the Cubs web-page and Fox News web-page. Another weird thing: you’re allowed to access certain commercial web-sites, like the Cubs and Fox news, but others you can’t; for instance Facebook. Ok, I can see Facebook. But, you also CAN’t get to any site that contains song lyrics, although you CAN go to Victoria’s Secret. You CAN go to NASCAR, but NOT to religious blogs from missionaries. Like I say – it’s weird.
Anyhoo, after catching up on e-mail and shooting the shit for a while with my equally lazy co-workers, we all wander over to the DFAC for lunch, and then take care of personal business like haircuts, laundry, etc. I have to hustle through these chores though, because The Movie starts at 4:00. That’s right, friends and neighbors; we have a Movie on Sundays. General Gator lets us show it on the big screen in the conference room. There are reasonably comfortable chairs (although one is faulty and promptly deposited me on the floor last week, an event the entire office found inordinately humorous. Frankly, I have always had a rather low opinion of those who find humor in the misfortune of others – seems mean-spirited). Sometimes we even have popcorn! (Actually, only once, because the microwave blew out the power in J-9 and J-10, where the lawyers work. Those grouchy bastards have no sense of humor. Personally, I think they’re constipated).
After the movie, it’s back to the office, put in a couple hours of light work and then head to my hooch for a little reading and then to sleep.
Since it was such a nice evening, before going to my hooch I went out to the running track and walked a few miles, watching the sun set on the mountains. My Lazy Day was over. It was a good day, but something didn’t feel quite right. As I walked, I’d been humming a tune, “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, by Kris Kristofferson.
“There’s something about a Sunday that makes a body feel alone”
I realized that you can be surrounded by people and still be lonely. You get my point. I miss you all. See you soon.
“Ole Lazy George”
PS FOR SUE: I can get cool Harley shirts from Afghanistan and Kuwait. If anyone wants them, get a count along with sizes and let me know, I’ll bring them in July. They are probably 20 bucks or so apiece.