Archive for the ‘Getting Drunk with Heath’ Category

News Flash:  Sitting outside, in the heat of the evening last night, I was drinking a beer with our neighbor RV’er.  Innocent as an angel, I was attacked by a yellow jacket.  In my three and a halfish decades of life, I have never been stung by a bee, wasp, or stingy type bug.  However, I was certain that if stung, I would handle it with grace and dignity that you expect from a man as ruggedly amazing as the writer of this blog is.  I learned some things about myself.  I am not going to lie, for years I have wondered whether or not I would be a screamer.  Last night may have shed some light on my reaction.

I call the neighbor, “Gentleman,” because he told me his name, but as usual, I was either too self obsessed to really listen to the man, or the trauma that ensued moments later also caused memory lapses.  Because I am not afraid to lay my faults out there for you, I need you to know that he told me his name three days ago, and I am a pathetic first acquaintance.  I am an awesome friend, but you have to earn a place in my memory.  Do you know what kind of things that I am storing in my head that would be forced out if I chose to remember everything?  I am clinging to things and memories like a hoarder of thought.  I know all of the words to the opening theme song of “Who’s the Boss,” and “Growing Pains.”  I can tell you the plot lines of every “Saved by the Bell.”  These are things I need to stay balanced, to stay a renaissance man.  If I couldn’t immediately recall the fact that Zach Morris, Slater, and Screech snuck out to a club called, The Attic, underage, I would never last in future conversations that demanded the instantaneous recall of information as important as this.

So, the Gentleman is sitting across from me and sharing his life with me.  A horse photographer, that had a stint in the Navy back in ‘Nam, and has had like 37 separate careers, the Gentleman is charming and has a “man’s man” appeal.  He offers up stories of the rich people that he caters to in the equestrian world and the day-to-day grind that the rich people deal with out there.  I felt sorry for the rich people and their “first world” problems.  I mean, these people have so much money that they cannot find happiness in it, and that is sad, because money and happiness to me are directly related.  I don’t care what anybody who is reading this says; money is awesome!  When you have money, sure it can bring problems, but it can also buy awesomeness like unlimited Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Or, you can fill your gas tank all the way up instead of putting in 30 dollars and then just driving slowly with your windows down and the a/c off.  Money may not directly buy happiness, but it buys a lot of things that rock!

So, the Gentleman is sitting across from me.  I look down to my left ring finger and yellow jacket that has decided to land there and chill.  Because I always react with calm, cool, and collected emotions, you can expect that what followed would be nothing short of manly….

Here is what ensued.

I cannot recall if the yellow jacket was already stinging me, or that I am such a dancing nancy, that I just plain went crazy upon sighting this monster of the stinging bug world and jerked forward.  Because I was in this reclined chair, my jerk caused a flopping motion that I assume appeared as if I was electrocuted.  Because I had a beer in my right hand, I could not immediately swoosh this killer off of me.  Because, there was another man in front of me, I didn’t throw the full beer ten feet away from me and scream a string of five obscenities and three unintelligible ramblings, or did I?  Because, I can tolerate an insane amount of pain, I didn’t grip my ring finger like it may or may not have been there when I reached down, and then look astonishingly at the Gentleman when I found the finger to still be there, or did I?  Because I am my father’s son, maybe I not only killed the yellow jacket, but I sent it straight to hell with black magic words and tantrums and some form of rain dance.

As I gathered myself, I looked up at the Gentleman.  In his eyes, there was this look that I’ve seen before and could not mistake.  I have seen this look once when I was a kid and my father tried to kill me by cooking dinner using a hot skillet to fry pork chops.  I know….what a dick. I reached up and grabbed the skillet and burned my arm, I winced and cried, and then, when I looked to father for reassurance, he just said, “what were you expecting to happen there?”

That is the look I saw in the man’s eyes, except what he said was, “You know, you need to try and think through the pain….”  When another man gives you advice about dealing with pain, you have been dominated; you are no longer in any form, the alpha; you need to haze yourself.  So, I went inside the trailer and looked at my pregnant wife, who was sitting in the 64 degree temperatures looking as if she just ran a marathon, sweating, pounding water, and breathing erratically.  I informed her that I was nearly killed by a leviathan sized yellow jacket.  There in all her pregnancy, and knowing that in only two months time, she would force a baby out of her uterus and into the free world, through a canal not normally used to pass an object of this proportion, in a violent, scream filled moment where skin tears, and lesser men will pass out, Whitney will make the final push to creating life, completing the female’s punishment for eating the apple years and years ago of torturous labor pain.  Knowing all of this, I looked her in the eyes, grabbed a bag of frozen peas, put pressure on my fresh wound, gritted my teeth, and in pain wrought words I uttered the following, “You will never know pain like I have felt tonight….”

I just wanted you to know, because I have been sitting here in pain for nine hours…


I remember watching a show on TV when I was kid called, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”  Bill Cosby was the host and his job was to illustrate one great truth; when kids are asked questions, they will be brutally honest because it is what kids do.  They haven’t been trained through years of socialization that sometimes lying is the lesser of two evils.  Children don’t understand that what they are saying could be misconstrued as inappropriate or hurtful.  And when kids do this, they usually make for some very funny moments, thusly; Bill Cosby would host a show documenting this. 

In my house, I have something similar.  I have a wife with an inability to hold back.  She does not lie, at least to me, and she is really a breath of fresh air.  I have multiple examples that make her look really and sometimes brutally honest.  I am writing this and airing it out not so that people can make broad sweeping assumptions that she is in any way a difficult or an overbearing woman, because she is not.  I actually believe that because Whitney is certified “gifted” that some of the odd things she does are actually because she is operating at a level that I don’t understand.  She is like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.  Everything she does makes perfect sense to her, but can appear funny to others…..

Here are some examples of my wife’s ability to speak candidly….even when most would just omit or lie.

  1. 1.        Today I called home and was chatting with Whitmaster 5000, aka Whitney.  She was initially very involved in the conversation, but over time she was drifting away.  I thought I might have offended her or something was going wrong at home.  Here is a terrific example of her being overly honest simply for the sake of being honest.

Heath:  Whitney are you okay?  Is something wrong?

Whitney:  Oh, no, I am fine…..I just had a booger in my nose……

                  You can agree that this is a common problem for all of mankind.  I often have things in my nose that I wish weren’t there.  And yes, the object is distracting and inconvenient—especially if the object in your nose is a crayon, which coincidentally is scarier than you think, and I would advise against putting a crayon in your nose.  I am speaking from experience.  Moreover, I have to believe that masses reading this have also dealt with the difficulties involved with boogers.  Yet, in my three decades of existence, never has, in the exact same type of situation, somebody responded to me with, “Oh, no, I am fine…..I just had a booger in my nose…..”  People, I have asked thousands of men and women if they are okay, and if something was wrong—today, June 29, 2012 is the first time someone responded with the truth.  Very refreshing.

  1. 2.        Recently, before going to the mall where I like to spend all of my time, I got dressed into my favorite pair of shorts.  The shorts are “walking awesomeness.”  I have the calves of a four year old girl, but somehow these shorts make up for it.  I walked into the living room, very confident with myself, and Whitney knew it because when I am confident, I swagger, and then I start spontaneously flexing.  I shot the question out, “How does this outfit look?”  Then, I started flexing like I was in the pre-judging for the Mr. Olympia contest.  Here is a terrific example of Whitney being overly honest simply for the sake of being honest.

Heath:   How does this outfit look?

Whitney:  Good, except the shorts and the shirt. 

                Seems harmless, except that all I was wearing was the shorts and the shirt…..Very  refreshing

  1. 3.        Situation:  At the movies preparing to buy some popcorn from the emo dressed teenager working the cash register.  Emo Cash Register Girl has a name tape on that says “manager.”  Emo Manager Cash Register Girl, sounding as if we were the biggest inconvenience ever, says “What do you need?”  Here is a terrific example of Whitney being overly honest simply for the sake of being honest.

Emo Manager Cash Register Girl:  What do you need?

Heath:  (silently thinks to himself, “does this girl have any idea who she just sounded annoyed to?  Firstly, Whitmaster 6k doesn’t take this from anyone at the movies; she used to manage a place like this.  Secondly, Whitmaster 6k is pregnant and honest”).

Whitney:  Have you lost your damn mind, child.  Am I an inconvenience to you?  I don’t even want to know how you earned your way to manager, where is your boss?

Heath:  (at this moment, in an effort to reassert control, I said the following statement)  hmmmh hmmmmh.

                I thought I was going to formulate actual words, but instead I made two long horn sounds…..Emo Manager had no skills dealing with customers and deserved Whitmaster 7k’s honesty.  I have seen Whitney choke down horrible food because she loved the wait staff so much, so this Emo girl had it coming.  Very refreshing.

  1. 4.        A few years ago, my wife The Whitness, met my commanding officer.  He was a pretty high ranking gentleman and I respected him quite a bit.  Whitness had seen him working out before, and I guess she was impressed with what she saw—I’m talking Magic Mike impressed.  Well, as the party progressed, I had the opportunity to introduce Whit to the CO.   Here is a terrific example of her being overly honest simply for the sake of being honest.

Heath:  Sir, this is my wife Whitney; Whitney, this is my Commanding Officer (said in a manner as to indicate that this man can ruin my career).

Commanding Officer:  Whitney, it is a pleasure to meet you.  Wow, Heath must have a good personality because he sure isn’t handsome enough to keep a pretty girl like you around.

Whitney:  It is so nice to meet you too.  I have to tell you, I have seen you running and you have unbelievable calves……

Commanding Officer:  (lifting the bottoms of his pant legs up and flexing).  Phillips, this is a really good woman you have here….

I didn’t know how to take this.  I initially was worried my boss would be weirded out, but I quickly realized that had I not been married, Whitney would have chosen his calves over me—and worse still, I am certain that the calf remark had placed Whitney on his list of all time favorite women.  If there is one thing I do not bring to the table in my marriage, it is a surplus of calf muscle.  Naturally, this moment has left a scar on my soul, but I drudge forward, walking on my tip-toes in hopes that I am just a late bloomer when it comes to calves.  On many occasions since, Whitnasty has tried to get me to wear her high heels around the house in an attempt to help me with my self-concept issues.  It is the cross I bear.  I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years.   

By definition, I am a Day Walker.  I can go outside during the day, but I meet most other prerequisites of the Ginger—except I have smaller toes than they do.  True Gingers have longer toes and fingers than the average human—for reals, I am a Ginger, I know this to be true—I would love to tell you it translates to larger than average other things, but I have yet to conduct any conclusive research—but for the sake of bravado, it does translate.  That isn’t to say I have normal toes and are somehow better than Gingers; to the contrary, my feet look like they were mangled in an accident.  My feet are the exact mix of my mother’s, who has Flintstone style feet, and my father’s, whose are dainty and horse hooves.  His feet actually look like they were bound as a child.

My hair has like glittering red to it, but can come across brown, which gives me my Day Walker status, but make no mistake about it, I have no soul.  If I were to grow out a goatee, my gingerality would become very evident.  I just invented “gingerality.” 

Gingers are amazing individuals.  I implore you to befriend one and see what it is I am talking about.  Gingers’ awesomeness is in all actuality a product of the rough life we lead, especially in our early years.  Blondes, brunettes, and all other hair tones have great examples of heroes to look to in times of self doubt.  Little boys with blue black hair have superman and a myriad of other super folks to admire.  Gingers have Howdy Doody, which coincidentally, my mother dressed me up as for my first ten Halloweens of my life.  Hey everybody, its Howdy Doody time.  I actually had to say this at every door for candy, because the people just thought I was a loser ginger kid looking for somebody’s pity candy.  I remember after I said it, they would have this horrible look of sadness for me, tears would well up in the bottom of their eyes and they would close the doors after giving me a package of Smarties and turn and say, “poor kid, he had no other options.”  See Figure 1 for a graphic depiction. 

 Figure 1.1  This is an actual photograph from my early Halloweens.


Now, of course, Gingers are becoming cool thanks to Horatio Cane from NCIS Miami, but I think it got cancelled…..

Gingers have well developed personalities.  Our senses of humor are above average because we are forced to use these attributes to convince ladies we are not alien, and furthermore that we are worth their time.  Now, all men have to come up with some gimmick to get the ladies’ attention, but for us gingers, it takes a little extra effort.    What hurts us are gingers like Carrot Top.  Even if I was Brad Pitt, but had red hair, we are still overcoming the Carrot Top stigma.   I am not saying gingers are ugly, we are not, we are a handsome and beautiful species, but we are different.  Because we are different, sometimes we are viewed as a novelty.  I think, people think about being with gingers the same way they would checking off the “mile high” notch on their list of things to do before marrying.  Also driving our personalities is our inability to tan.  I have a good body, but no one will ever see it because when I take my shirt off, you have to close your eyes.  The only way to appreciate my body is like reading Braille—close your eyes and start touching the contours of my body with your fingertips……just saying.  Every now and then when Whitney is being extra special nice to me, she will say, “Heath, I think you are a little bit tan!”  Sometimes its the little things that mean the most. 

Take some time off from what you are doing today and say hello to the ginger working down the hall from you.  You will find in them the most loyal friend you’ve ever had.  They will make you look tanner in the very least.  We may not have souls, but we have feelings.  You’d be surprised how cool a ginger kid is. 

I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years. 


Saturday night, a night that will forever live in infamy.  Two words:  Party Bus.  Party Busses are the devil, especially when you are a naturally competitive person like me.  Now, couple that with a frugal mindset, and you have a recipe for destruction.  Why?  Well it’s simple.  When the bus doors close and the music starts blaring, I made my first bad decision.  I started thinking in a fiscal mindset.  I thought that the beers on the bus are paid for; the beers in the bar are not.  So, I needed to drink as fast and furiously as possible the free beers and that way I would not drink at all in the bar.  This is a sound philosophy on paper only—like communism.  This philosophy would work if a drunken man had self discipline.  All that really happens is I drink fast and furiously in the bus all the free beers I can, and then in the bar, I drink fast and furiously all the not free drinks I can.  Add those two together and you have a tall, stumbling, fumbling, ginger man that should not be allowed out. 

My saving grace is all owed to a woman who was attending a Male Review two hours away.  At around eleven o’clock, I placed a call to Whitney and she began distance babysitting.  Because I don’t drink to this extent, we were in uncharted territory.  She called me a cab, but apparently I went military on the cab driver and evaded capture by the first one she sent.  I was too good to be caught.  See Figure 1.

 Figure 1.  Once again, my own property. 

The second one was better prepared and Whitney talked me into his van from her cell phone.  Once safely on the cab, I remember clips and phrases of the ride home.  I know this:  I live ten minutes from home and the bill was 50 dollars—better than a DUI, but still expensive.  I remember waking up from a quick nod off and seeing the meter.  I was on the phone with Whitney again.  I started belittling the cab driver about the prices.  He was an unbelievable sport and deserves an apology from me.  My wife talked me in the house and I thought I went to bed.  At some point during my slumber a poltergeist must have visited our home, because when I woke up hours later, all of the furniture was moved in the living and dining room seven inches to the left. 

These are the words of a horrible drunk.  This is a weekend where I swear off the devil’s water for good.

Here are some questions to which I fear the answers are all in the affirmative:

  1. 1.        Heath, did you pee in public?
  2. 2.        Heath, did you cry on the phone to your wife that she wasn’t getting the cab there fast enough and then elude the cab she sent, and then call her again and tell her she wasn’t working hard enough to get you home?
  3. 3.        Heath, did you wake up naked, but not go to bed naked?
  4. 4.        Heath, did you murder anyone on Saturday?
  5. 5.        Heath, did you wake up with a horrible feeling of guilt like you murdered someone on Saturday?
  6. 6.       Heath, when you went back to get your car, did it feel like you were returning to scene of a crime?
  7. 7.       Heath, did you pee twice in public?
  8. 8.       Heath, did you knowingly try to drink more than all the other riders on the bus combined.
  9. 9.       Heath, do you still feel like a bucket of smashed assholes?
  10. 10.   Heath, would you be dead today if Whitney didn’t kick ass and take names?

Whitney, I owe you more in return for taking care of me than I give you, but I make this promise, when that baby comes a walloping out of your stomach, you can go out and get piss drunk, evade a cab, pee in public (which you’re already good at), come home, move the furniture, and wake up oblivious to it all.  I will be here for you and like the last time, I will put on the Tina Turner story movie and let you stay in bed all day.  You’re my hero.  I just wanted you to know, because I have been holding it in for years….

I have been putting this one together for years, I just didn’t know it.  After watching too many episodes of Grimm, I have been thinking about the types of people that I see on a daily basis.  For those of you who don’t get what I am saying, allow me to get you caught up.  Grimm is a detective that has an ability to look at people and see what they really are.  Sometimes people he sees are actually evil fairytale characters parading around disguised as humans in order to attain their maniacal goals.  I cannot actually see anything other than what you see, but I have an uncanny ability to lump people together into groups.  What I have also noticed is that people with certain traits behave in similar ways.  Sometimes it is not a simple trait, but actions that people undertake i.e. Judgmental Runners all tend to act the same while judgmentally running, which I describe in detail in an earlier edition entitled, Judgmental Runners.  I encourage you to read it because it is a freaking very real phenomenon.  I have also used my wife, who I call Whitney for the sake of anonymity, to illustrate another sect of the human population, Pregnant Zombies.

Sometimes it does break down to a simple trait.  To be fair, and to avoid people calling me overly judgmental myself, I am a Tube Head.  Tube Heads are everywhere and they are pretty much a benign sect of the human population.  Famous Tube Heads include the actor who plays Dr. House, Abe Lincoln ( you might remember him as a Vampire Slayer, or the guy who kept the union together), and probably the most remarkable tube head, Beaker from The Muppet Show.

 Beaker, and oddly, this is very similar to a couple pictures of me

 Abe Lincoln

  Dr House, who looks oddly like my Uncle Scott

  Okay, here I am.  I have painted my face to accentuate the tube like nature of my head.  There is a little Beaker in there.

The tell tale sign you are dealing with a Tube Head is if there is no differential between the largest part of his or her head and the largest part of his or her neck.  Tube Heads are often referred to as Hotdog Heads.  The Hotdog Head’s only known enemies are Hamburger Heads, the worst type of people.   (The Hamburglar)

For the sake of full disclosure, all Phillips men are Tube Heads; this is a fact, and it is undisputable.

Getting to the meat of the story….the people I want to discuss today are a serious issue to all humans.  The Wide-Eyed Girl.  This perpetually surprised looking specimen is a threat to any they come in contact with.  Wide-Eyed girls may or may not exhibit bat-shit crazy tendencies until later in life, but rest assured, their true colors are lurking below the surface and they are unforgiving with their wrath.  Wide-Eyed Girls should not be cornered, they will act out or commit to random and irrational behavior.  Take for example the Wide-Eyed Girl, better known as, The Runaway Bride:

(Wide-Eyed and bushy tailed)

The Runaway Bride was so belligerent in her actions that at one point her fiancé, who she pretty much left at the altar, was actually suspected of foul play.  She showed back up out of nowhere as wide-eyed as ever.   Don’t mistake this Wide-Eyed danger to everyone around her for the beautiful and charming Julia Roberts on a quest to find out how she likes her eggs at Richard Gere’s expense (I asked my wife what the movie, Runaway Bride was about and this is what she said).  This woman actually called the police during her cross country jaunt and claimed she was abducted by another couple and sexually abused……all lies.  Nobody in their right mind would abduct a Wide-Eyed woman, even criminals avoid this species.  Be on the lookout, this woman is a menace to society, and worst of all, she is still out there.  Of note, her jilted fiancé was a Hamburger Head, what a dumbass.

I am not a politically charged person, but I know a Wide-Eyed Girl when I see her:

Just sayin……Cuckoo, Cuckoo.  There has also been limited occurrences of Wide-Eyed problems entering the male sex:

The scariest thing about Busey is that you can see a startling similarity between him and Pelosi….

My favorite specimen knew she was a Wide-Eyed Girl, and tried to hide it by distracting us with whimsical hair, squinted eyes, and a dirty appearance:

This woman wore a diaper to run across country in order to more expediently get to Florida to kill an estranged lover.  No big deal.  I am all about making things streamlined, even murder.  The apparent common ground for the wide-eyed is a propensity to run.  Even Nancy has been known to randomly travel the United States speaking gibberish to anyone willing to listen.

If you are a Wide-Eyed Girl, and you are concerned that you may be on the verge of a turn towards crazy, relax, everything is going to be okay.  You can beat this thing.  The key is recognizing the symptoms and knowing what to avoid.  I think it best for you to avoid weddings or engaging in adulterous affairs with married men.  Maybe more specifically, you should avoid all things related or pertaining to marriage, weddings, or murder.  If you are married to a Wide-Eyed Girl, you have an uphill road to climb, but it is doable.  If my wife was a Wide-Eyed Girl, I would sleep with one eye open as wide as possible.  The only way to beat a Wide-Eyed Girl is to keep yours open wider.

I just wanted you to know because I have been holding it in for years.

I just want to go to sleep.  I want to count down from ten to one, but never make it to one because the drugs are so good.  I just want to be put to sleep and wake up in a room to see a nurse’s kind and gentle face looking down on me like a dream saying, “Hello Mr. Phillips, you’re all done, it was an absolute success.  We’ve phoned your wife and she will be back shortly; you can go home; what a great day.”  I want to see pastel colored walls that soothe the soul and leave me longing to return to this sacred instance again later.  I want the entire evolution to feel like those television shows that document people who die, have an out of body experience, and when they come back they almost wish they had stayed in the euphoria that was death.

This would be my perfect trip to the dentist.  And this cannot happen, because dentists work directly for the devil.

If there is a dentist reading this, and you feel offended, I want you to know that it is nothing personal; it is just a harsh reality I have learned after long days of anguish and torment—and these are just the days leading up to an appointment.  Furthermore, I encourage all dentists to start their own blog, and in your blog, you can discuss pathetic weaklings like me.  I know much has happened since the days where you just got a man drunk off whiskey, tied his arms down, and went to town on his molars; and yet, I still feel like this is pretty much what happens when I visit the dentist, except nowadays it is frowned upon to get patients drunk.  So, in some aspects, it is worse today.

To some extent, I feel like dentistry is a voodoo science part of the medical system.  Maybe more so, like it is a learn-as- you-go profession, which absolutely scares the hell out of me.  Plus, and this is huge, who becomes a dentist?  Well, why did you become what you are?  Usually this is answered with a comment along the lines of, “because I really enjoy helping people, and I am interested in the human mouth…”  I don’t know, but it definitely has the connotation that dentists are comfortable sitting in a dentist chair, so they are already out of touch with me from the get go.  They are out of touch and indifferent to my suffering.  They all have the same look on their faces that my father had one time when I fell off of my bike rounding a corner too fast.  After hydroplaning three hundred feet and removing the skin from all points of contact with the asphalt, I proceeded to enter a state of shock where I ran around in circles screaming like a bitch.  My dad’s ever sympathetic attempt at helping his mortally wounded son was to yell at him for embarrassing him in public under the “men don’t act like little bitches” clause of the fatherhood code.  That tone with which he dealt with me is the same tone that dentists talk to me when I enter their torture lair.

I actually have to train to go to the dentist’s office.  My regiment is as strict as any of my workout routines I utilize to get this startlingly handsome and built physique….anyways.  I am going to walk you through what goes on in the days leading up to any random appointment forced upon me by radical zealot dentists seeking to oppress innocent people with their black magic.

First Exercise:

Similar to water boarding except at a dentist’s office there is never any break for a confession, just torture.  The exercise involves me filling my mouth with water, leaning back in my chair and holding the water in my mouth as long as possible.  I hold the water in my mouth until I cannot stand it and then spit.  I repeat constantly.  This simulates the following:

I have this inability to remain calm while saliva, blood, and dental waste fill up my mouth.  It is like a claustrophobia that sets in the second my head goes back and I realize that 1).  I am not getting the volume of air I want to get into my lungs through my nostrils, and 2).  I have a diminished ability to swallow properly.  I would rather be buried alive.  This claustrophobia causes sheer terror in my soul.  I lose my mind.  Time slows to a near standstill; I lose the ability to make the oxygen I am breathing enter my bloodstream.  Everything is shutting down.  My vision tunnels.  I want to cry, I want to seek refuge anywhere else in that moment.  I want out of this hell chair. Now.

Second Exercise:

Clench my hands together overlapping my fingers like a man in deep prayer.  (Note: I have already been praying about this dentist trip for days, so I do not pray at this moment.  However, I resume praying on the drive to the dentist’s office).  No, I squeeze as hard as I can for as long as I can.  This simulates the following:

From the second that lady that keeps handing the dentist instruments of torture lowers my head below parallel; I begin clutching my hands together in terror.  I have actually made my front two joints on all of my fingers physically separate from my hand during a cleaning.  It is not from the pain that may ensue, but from the onset of the aforementioned claustrophobia setting in.

Third Exercise:

This is a compound movement that begins with the second exercise.  I have to practice breaking my hands apart and then, using my right hand, which is permanently in the clutching position at this point.  Once broken apart, I practice extending my index finger into a hook position.  This hook position is, in my head, the universal “put that suction thing in my mouth and cease all work” signal.  I brief the dentist on this prior to the initiation of the hellish journey to clean teeth.

These exercises have helped me through many trips to the dentist.  I have contemplated having all my teeth removed down to the gums to avoid repeat trips to the dentist.  What can I say; I am weak and need help.  If a dental procedure is optional, that means it won’t happen.  Lord, have mercy on my soul.

I just wanted you to know because I have been holding it in for years….

A very small percent of the American population has worn or will ever wear the uniform of the United States military.  The military is a peculiar thing and the people within it maybe more so.  These likely young 18-25 year old warriors fight with happy hearts and volunteer to do so.  A common theme among those who joined the military when I did and before, is that we did so under no pretense of war; did I believe that war was an impossibility; would it have been a game changer when confronted with the option to enlist or not?  I don’t know.  I doubt that I was ever that pragmatic about my decision making when I was 18.  But who knows.  One thing is certain: The men and women who have joined after 2001 joined in a very different climate than I did.  There was no question about where they would be in the short months after basic training was completed.

Today is Memorial Day, and as I sat down to write my seemingly random thoughts on mundane subjects, I knew that I couldn’t do it.  My wife was sitting next to me reading, and I, unbeknownst to her, was looking at her and remembering a Memorial Day weekend a few years ago when I got to travel home to see her during a break from pre-deployment training for the Marine Corps.  So, I tell you never take me seriously. I lied.  There is nothing funny in the following paragraphs, nothing made up, or exaggerated. But, it is worth reading, because it is real.

I sat in my seat of the airliner waiting impatiently for word from the pilot to get it together and complete his pre-flight checks.  At this point in my life I had been in the military for ten years and was used to travel, but nothing felt as good as getting home, and it never happened fast enough.  After a short time, the pilot came over the speaker and said everything was ready and that we were next in line for takeoff, but that he wasn’t moving from parking.  His voice, in a noticeably solemn tone, then told us passengers to look out the left side of the plane and to see what was keeping us on the ground.  I, along with other passengers, scrambled from our seats to see two service members making their last voyage home to rest transferring from one plane to another.  A Marine escort stood by, seemingly unshaken, watching his brother or sister in arms being moved ceremonially.  I scanned the personnel working.  I noticed the man who drove the   luggage vehicle had stopped, removed his hat, and stood motionless as the small procession made its way from his right to left.

All of the angst involved in flying home faded into the background.  For a second, we weren’t the most important thing happening, and maybe for a second we all agreed about something.  We all believed that we should witness this moment, and I believe that each one of us knew that seeing that moment would change us.  It wasn’t about politics or feigning support for a war you didn’t agree with.  It was about humanity, it was about knowing that these young men and women had the convictions necessary to look death in the eye because they believed in something.  I can assure you that both of these heroes were somebody’s child, father, mother, brother, or sister. They had written letters home and described their plans for post deployment.  I can guarantee you that the people they served with were their extended family, whom they loved, fought, cried, and laughed with the same way your children do, or you did with your siblings.  I know that when these Marines needed a confidant, they turned to their family members in uniform and found the solace they were looking for.  I know that the friendships they made were forged in battle, and that their spirit would live on in the men and women still fighting.

We don’t take the time to remember in some attempt to glamorize war.  We don’t remember so that we can win support for the politics of war.  We don’t remember our fallen brothers, sisters, and sons—daughters, husbands or wives because we are blindly patriotic.  We remember because in doing so we acknowledge the price of commitment.  We don’t remember in a “why did it have to be them” mentality, but in a spirit of understanding that where these young men and women went, fought, and laid down their lives, they were among their closest family.  In remembering, we are reminded that these men and women made decisions to be where they were and the badge they wear on their souls is the highest honor a military member can wear.