Monday, May 29, 2006

Reflections on Memorial Day...

Did you know…

Only 27% of Americans even know what Memorial Day is FOR?

Can you believe that?

For anyone who is not from the U.S., Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor our fallen soldiers…those who gave their very lives in service to this country.

To honor these brave men and women, Americans take a day off from work, make it a long weekend and spend the day getting drunk out of their heads around the grill or at the beach.

My friends, my brothers and sisters in arms…they died so we, as Americans, could have the right to IGNORE their sacrifices.

Today I spent the day in Thomasville, NC. “Where is Thomasville?” you might ask? I’ll tell you. Thomasville is a tiny little Podunk town in North Carolina…a town a little bit smaller than my living room. They are also the ONLY town in ALL of North Carolina who organized Memorial Day activities. Oh, sure…all over the country there were little services and such, but in North Carolina, only ONE TOWN had a parade, or a COMMUNITY organized Memorial Service that the TOWN paid for. I guess everyone in Raleigh, Greensboro or Charlotte was too busy getting drunk at the beach.

There is apparently a MySpace group called “Fuck The Troops”… I won’t bore you with their uninformed diatribes. I will, instead, say only this…

I will lay down my life to defend their right to defame the memories of the soldiers who have fallen. Do I agree with them? Of course I don’t. Do I think they’re all a bunch of ungrateful morons? You better believe I do. But I believe in this country, and despite the failings of our President and his staff, I believe in the ideals this nation was founded upon, even if, every day, we are assaulted by the words, sounds and images of those who would exploit those rights and privileges for their own selfish ends.

I’ll be honest with you…some nights I lie awake and wish that my name could be listed among the fallen.

That way, I would have been remembered well…and not returned home a broken shell…unable to let people get close to me again…fucking up every relationship I had…driving people who I love, and who once loved me, to abandon me out of fear, or a desire to protect themselves from the person I’ve become.

But I was not destined for Valhalla, it would seem. So now I wander, lost and hurting, broken and wounded both inside and out, wondering when I’ll stop feeling like this…

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Maybe you fuckers are right...


Saturday night, I got really really drunk.

I've not been that torn up in a long long time.

Through the fog and haze, all I could think of was much I love much I want and need HER. How, despite the rollercoaster, all I want is to be by her side...through the good and the bad...the laughter and the tears...the wind, rain and sun.

But so many of you useless fucks seem to think I'll just go right back to being who I many of you shallow fools seem to think that therapy (in several forms), and an all-consuming desire to NEVER hurt her again isn't ever going to be enough.

And the more I hear it, the more you make it the truth.

Not where SHE is I'll never hurt HER again.

But you fucksticks better watch out, lest I decide to start lashing out at all of YOU.

You're false. You're the bad ones, not me. I'm not the bad one anymore. I don't want to be the bad one anymore. I've stopped being the bad one. You keep wanting to remind me of how bad I was...

What...are you TRYING to get me to backslide? Is there some betting pool I don't know about?

You useles fucks just do yourselves a favor and take a hike. I'm not your goddamn whipping boy anymore. Leave me alone.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Just a thought...

Those of you who claim to give a darn about me...

If you're trying to 'keep track of my life' by reading my blog, I have a much better idea.


JEEZ-LOUISE!!! Stop being so goddamn timid that you can't even CALL.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I feel betrayed by my country.

I had something brought to my attention recently and it riles me...

Subject: Hi-School - Certificate of Completion

The "Certificate of Completion or Attendance" that is being
offered in lieu of high school diplomas, is a part of Bush's "No Child Left
Behind". This is how it works:

It is for students who are unable to pass both the Language Arts
and Math portions of the 10th grade ISTEP. Students must take the same
10th grade test over in the 11th and 12th grades until they pass both
portions. If they are unable to pass the 10th grade test by the
12th grade then they have two options:

1. Drop out and go to a GED program or,
2. Accept a "Certificate of Completion" - it is NOT a diploma.
Once a student accepts it, they cannot ever get a diploma or a GED.
A certificate of completion means that a student can never (as long as they

1. go to the armed services
2. go to college
3. go to trade school
4. go to journeyman's school
5. go to beauty school
6. go to culinary arts school
7. get a federal loan in their lifetime

This is the portion of NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND (2001) that Bush
slipped in during the 2004 revision of the NCLB bill. It has not been
publicized. At a high school in Indiana, in 2005, there were 87
seniors in the graduation class. Five got diplomas and 82 got
"Certificates of Completion".

This is being referred to as the "Paper Plantation". It is better for
students to drop out and get into a GED program so they may
seek other forms of education, later in life, if they desire to do

A "Certificate of Completion"??????

ARE YOU #%$#@$#%$%$#@$% KIDDING ME??????????

For years...YEARS...I resisted calling myself a 'teacher'. I was a Drill Instructor, I told myself. I don't teach.

Recently, thanks to my supportive teammates and the nurturing and gentle (and sometimes less-than-gentle) guidance of my administrators, I realize that I AM a teacher.

I don't teach Math, but occasionally, I remember something from middle school that 'clicks' with a student better than the method being taught in the classroom.

I don't teach Science, but on occasion, I remember a nifty experiment that I'm able to duplicate in order to make the Science teacher's job a bit more interesting.

I don't teach Language Arts, but my passion for reading...particularly poetry and Shakespeare, I've been able to pass on to many of the students of my school. Do you have any idea how it feels to have a young man who has spent most of his middle school years trying as hard as he can to 'perpetrate a pimp', or stay 'thugged out', come to me with a LOVE POEM for his girl, and ask me to help him re-write it? And to be able to pull down my book of Sonnets from Shakespeare, going through them with him until we find one he likes?

I don't teach Social Studies, but the Military has sent me all over the world, and I've experienced every side of many cultures, good and bad. Occasionally, my "war stories" to the kids help things 'click' with them in Social Studies class.

Guess what? I teach.

Here's the problem.

For every MINUTE I spend with some young man, digging through Shakespeare, so he can find a way to tell a young lady, "What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and you are the Sun!"...

Some no-talent CRIMINAL with nothing more to connect to his name other than he got SHOT NINE TIMES is spending HOURS telling this same young man to objectify and abuse the same women.

For every SECOND I spend adjusting some young man's collar, teaching him how to tie a necktie, telling him how James Brown and all the Motown brothers wore suits and ties on made them look neat and dignified...the audience took them seriously because they wore a suit to work...
Some LOSER is on television encouraging him to walk around with his pants around his arse, with gang colors displayed and gaudy, tacky chains around his neck.

The school I work at has a policy..."Discipline with Dignity". My goodness, it's frustrating to try to preserve the dignity of children who HAVE NO SENSE OF DIGNITY!!!!!

And now...our President...the man I swore to serve and protect...the very representative of our Nation...

He has basically told students, "It's okay if you're dumb. It's okay if you're lazy. Or heck...maybe you have a legitimate learning disabilty, and your parents are TOO SCREWED UP TO HELP US...we'll just make you occupy space in a classroom for a few years, and then send you on your way."



Do you know how many times I've sat in a conference room and had to literally bite my tongue to keep from telling a parent, "HOLY COW! I'VE DISCOVERED YOUR CHILD'S PROBLEM!!! HIS PARENTS AREN'T WORTH A CRAP!"

Calm down, boss...I love my job too much to ever do that.

PARENTS...PLEASE!!! When I went off to Afghanistan, I thought I was saving the world. When I came back from Afghanistan, I realized that there are forces in this country that are working as hard as they can to make it NOT WORTH SAVING!!! You want to know why the rest of the world hates us? TURN ON THE TV!!!!


Please, we TEACHERS are all alone out here sometimes!!! We can't do it without you parents!!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? students like to play strategy games. They'd experimented with "Risk" and liked it, so I went out and bought the RISK: STAR WARS - CLONE WARS edition of the game. You can play it like regular RISK, or with special rules specific to that version of the game so's it mirrors "Revenge of the Sith".'s my issue.

The game comes with groovy dice... two regular ol' white dice with black dots, and three BLACK dice with WHITE dots... as well as some 8-sided dice.

None of my students had ever seen black dice with white dots. Now...I know that seems pretty mundane to a geek like me who spends plenty of time in gamers shops...who has, in his life, owned a 100-sided die (almost as big as a friggin' golf ball)...groovy stuff like that. But these guys thought the black dice with white dots looked pretty neat.

So...should I be surprised that when the end of the day came, and we were all scrambling to pack the game away properly... that all of a sudden I'm short a pair of black dice?

One of the kids had pocketed a pair of my black dice. Now...I decided to cut the kid a break and play it off like he'd done it by accident... but I'm more than reasonably confident that it was NOT an accident.


What the heck is going on with kids these days, that a 13-year old boy will just snatch something as simple as a pair of DICE...and will give no regards to the fact that it belongs to a teacher?

Yup...handbasket. That's what we're in. I wonder where we're going?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006



Where to begin?

How about mentioning that I just spent the past 20 minutes on my knees in prayer.

Now…let me make sure you guys understand something about me. I am deeply religious, and deeply faithful. I am a Christian. I have no problem sharing that detail of my life with those around me. I will NOT, however, shove it down anyone’s throat. I always admired that about Sheperd Book…surrounded by ‘heathens a-plenty, right here’, but was never more than a gentle nudge in the heavenly direction. Like Book, I share my faith when asked, and try not to make people uncomfortable with it otherwise. That’s the quickest way for them to shut down.

I digress.

I spent the past 20 minutes on my knees in earnest prayer because of an unexpected visitor today. A kid named Brandon.

Brandon had been assigned to me when I used to run a Boot Camp for Juvenile Offenders here in North Carolina. Brandon was actually a pretty good kid who just needed direction and discipline. After graduating from my program, he went on to complete High School and joined the Army.

He just came by today to tell me he’s going to Iraq.

Just typing those words cause my throat to close…my vision blurs…

I felt myself ‘shut down’ parts of my brain, most of my emotions… I immediately shifted from grinning at a young man who’d become a friend, back to the stern, ‘business is business’ Drill Instructor he had known for 10 weeks. I think he saw what I was doing, trying so hard to stay strong in front of him so his own confidence and resolve would not waver. I shook his hand and told him to be careful, and that I fully expected him to return here to speak to my current cadets about his experiences there.

Then I came into my office, shut and locked the door and quietly fell apart.

His name is Brandon. He’s in the 3rd Infantry Division, and he’s going to Iraq. He has a wife and a young daughter.

As wrong as it is for me to ask you to make any one soldier overseas ‘special’, God, pay special attention to this one, please.

ANYONE who would like to contact me via email or telephone to share a brief prayer with me, please do so. You are all welcome.