So Paul and I have both been deployed on Navy ships in what is called a Marine Expeditionary Unit or MEU. These are the Navy ships that you hear about on the news being moved to the Gulf in response to whatever horrible new grievance has been perpetrated by countries whose main exports are sand or whenever Godzilla melts down another Japanese nuclear reactor. We storm ashore to help like in those hilarious Marine Corps commercials that are currently airing on television. And they are hilarious. Hilarious because we are so cravenly politically correct these days that even in an institution like the Marine Corps whose chief function is to kill people and break things, we are depicting a confused image of Marines pouring out of armored amphibious vehicles, screaming, rifles raised, as Cobra attack helicopters roar over their shoulders while in the back of these vehicles and helicopters you can see big cardboard crates with the word “AID!” stenciled in huge letters. This is so fucking funny to me. It’s like running up to a hobo with teeth bared, knife in hand, dragging him up off his sad little refrigerator box by his shabby lapels and just when he’s sure that he’s about to meet his maker, you cram a twenty dollar bill into his fist and scream “God Bless you, you filthy fuck!”
But I digress. This is a thing that both Paul and I have done. More Paul, who spent his time in Afghanistan handing out the aid and building schools, whilst I used a missile to blow people’s sheep to kingdom come that Paul then had to pay for. Things happen. Anywho, you may be asking yourself, “what is like to be on a Navy ship for seven months sailing around slowly losing your sanity and starting to actually hope there will be a war somewhere just for something to do?” Or you may think that that was a pretty good description right there. Or you may still be stuck on the “me killing a whole bunch of sheep” thing.
They’re coming back for revenge!
Let me describe this experience to you with an analogy. During these deployments we go to many different ports. Particularly in the South Pacific. In these ports, we see… things. In Thailand there is a show in which a woman literally fires a wide variety of flotsam out of her lady parts at a gaping, horrified, and strangely transfixed audience. These can be anything from a ping-pong ball, to a dart-board type dart at a balloon, or, in one horrifying example, a canary. A live, mother-flipping canary. Now while this canary is alive, it is living a cursed life. A half life. Like Voldemort in the first Harry Potter. Or Paul’s ex-girlfriend. While this bird comes out alive, it’s kind of fucked up and doesn’t know which way is up. It has seem some shit. This is the perfect analogy for what being on the MEU is like. You are kept crammed into a cramped, dark, dank space. You don’t ever see the sunlight but you feel your environment moving all around you. Then, at some point, you are suddenly release upon the world. You are disoriented and nauseous, pale and emaciated, and kind of slimy (mostly from being around the Navy). You are expected to fly, people are gawking at you and you are suddenly in a dingy place filled with cigarette smoke and various odors, each one more offensive than the next. Then some rice is served and your insides explode. The end.