Could be an eyeball, but you'd think
someone would notice losing an eyeball
or really any skin of that amount
--Capri Sun mold brouhaha
Where lowland is,
that’s where water goes.
All medicine wants
is pain to cure
--Cry Out, Rumi
Power gives life and energy;
force takes these away
--Power Versus Force, David Hawkins
I'm sitting in a coffee shop watching a three-year-old jab a straw into one of those foil packets called fruit boxes, ripping into the little treat like Airborne soldiers hitting a topless joint. (That's topless oysters, of course.)
Which reminded me of an understated yet eloquent scene in the film Retrepo, about a remote base in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. In it, the camera panned the village elders who were squatting around during one of the mandatory weekly shuras with their U.S. occupiers, then zoomed in on one of the old men fumbling with his U.S. issue juice box and sippy straw, unsure of how to make the thing operational.
Meanwhile, we are brought back to the clearly agitated, foul-mouthed aggressive U.S. Army Captain, seemingly making little headway into the hearts or minds of his audience. The juxtaposition could not have been louder: The old man with the gnarled hands could not figure out what in the hell he was supposed to do with the Capri Sun packet distributed at the largess of the U.S. Army. He was looking at the straw not knowing whether to shit or go blind, a poignant microcosm of the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan.
This man never saw a fruit box and his life was none the worse for this fact. And a smart-ass Captain dispensing a 200 mL drink is not the success story that will blossom in our lifetime. That little fruit box is the symbol of the futility of our wars and their philosophy.
That's the truth according to Ranger, who shuns soda and fruit boxes as there has already been too much artificial sweetener in his life. He reckons the same could probably be said for the gnarly Afghan elder, as well.