RANGER AGAINST WAR: Body of Evidence <

Friday, November 11, 2011

Body of Evidence

Alienation as our present destiny
is achieved only by outrageous violence

perpetrated by human beings on human beings

--R. D. Laing

It is of fundamental importance not to make

the positivist mistake of assuming
that because a group’s members are in formation
this means that they’re necessarily on course
--R. D. Laing

Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body
--A Painful Case, James Joyce

This is dedicated to all who know of what I speak.

As a reader of cheap mysteries and police procedurals, we are wed to the concept of means, motives and opportunity, the keys to solving any crime. These are the same concepts that led all of us veterans to the status we inhabit.

The wars were the means and the Army the opportunity, leaving the motive for individual examination. Before doing that, however, let us examine the literal body of evidence. I will use my body of evidence, but there are millions of you out there possessing similar evidence in and on your bodies.

Is it the scarred and battered body that is the veteran, or is it the thing between the ears? In civilian life there is a presumption of unity, but that is not exactly true for veterans. We all know about the mind - body schism, and that there is more than one me occupying our bodies at any given time. The following are some veteran schisms:

The me that force marched while freezing cold and body numb. There is the me that wanted to cry because I was so miserably exhausted with no hope for relief; that is the me that wanted mercy. Then there is the me that has no mercy.

There is the disembodied me that stood outside of my body, and still does on occasion, watching in wonder and amazement at the play of life. There is the me that depersonalizes and splits the being; veterans can do disembodied every day of their lives.

So the mind is a veteran,
and I am in a danger zone without far security. There are so many me's that I could have my own parade, or at least my own float. If it is my mind that makes me a vet, then we should combine Memorial and Veterans Day because there is some dead veteran in there, too.

If it is my body, the evidence is a little more obvious. The ears are shot and constantly buzz and are painful. The head is prone to basal cell carcinoma, along with the arms and neck. The cervical spine is arthritic. The arms, hands and legs are numb, lacking areas of sensation. The left ulnar nerve is damaged, the hands shake, the lumbar spine should be DX'd. The left testis doesn't hang with it's twin, and some will say I'm just plain nuts beyond the obvious lack.

So the body is a veteran, too, but a very lucky one at that. My physical condition at 65 is still so much better that that of many of my fellows.

Which returns me to the question:
is it my mind or my body that makes me a veteran? We have the means and opportunity, but have not answered "motive" yet. Regardless of the answer, we are left with a body of evidence which allows me to stand outside of myself and see that I crossed a bridge a long time ago, a bridge without a return pass.
Having crossed that bridge I am forever a veteran, even now, amongst civilians.

When I depersonalize at least I can get out of my head
and go watch a parade, if one should pass me by; not so for many other vets.

To all my fellow vets I send my admiration and best wishes.

FYI: Ranger's vet rep informed him about an online resource for 200+ stores and services offering discounts to veterans: BradsDeals.com

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Anonymous Deryle said...

Well Jim..
That's a hard one to draw to...Thanks.
Yielding to one gone long before:

“My arms have mutinied against me — brutes!
My fingers fidget like ten idle brats,
My back's been stiff for hours, damned hours.
Death never gives his squad a Stand-at-ease.”

'My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.''
--Wilfred Owen

There it is.

Friday, November 11, 2011 at 3:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Rez Dog said...

There it is, indeed. We crossed a line many years ago and are forever changed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 11:04:00 AM GMT-5  

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