by OPOVV, ©2018

(Aug. 29, 2018) — “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to ‘The Pulse of the Nation,’ your place to go for entertaining the truth. Hello, my name is Roving and, because we had such a favorable response, we’ve sent Professor Zorkophsky back down to Madam Shylocks’s Fortune-Telling Emporium located in Cassadaga, FL for another stab at what makes many of our Veterans call it a day. Modern technology allows me to send you down to Florida where Professor Zorkophsky is on the stoop.”

“Hello, Roving, but please, call me ‘Zork’; there’s no need to be so formal. Hello, people out there in Viewing Land. There’s a note on the door that says, ‘Back in 5.’ Okay, so maybe I’ll just ramble a bit. So here’s the scoop: picture a rock, okay? Add some water that we’ll call oceans, lakes and rivers. Let’s add some fish and plenty of mosquitoes, of which there’s a few buzzing me now. Let’s add some humans and, to be completely accurate, the common cold. And while we’re at it, let’s make it complicated by introducing meteorites and tsunamis; blizzards and earthquakes; and every couple of thousand years an ice age and a geomagnetic reversal.

“Sounds complicated? You ain’t heard nothin’ yet. You want ‘complicated,’ how about adding a billion or so crazed psychos running around beheading all the Jews, Christians and everyone else who isn’t as crazed as they are? And here she is, the lady of the hour.”

“You bring cash? Good. Let’s go in and move it! Now, before we open the porch door into the house, let’s see if we can send whatever flying critters snuck in to Flying Critter Heaven. Okay, you all know where to sit so let’s get the show on the road. Thanks for the crisp twenties.”

“What’s the root cause of our military men committing suicide?”

“Lack of focus.”

“Say what?”

“They lost any self-respect they ever had. Not so hard to understand, when you think about it. Little boy growing up reading about knights in shinning armor and then joining the military, only to learn about how life really is: we’re amoebas attacking one another.”

“That’s it?”

“Well, no, there’s more. There’s commitment and trust and expectations involved, but basically it’s back to the amoebas, in the petri dish, attacking one another.”

’Petri dish?’”

“Battlefield; Field of Honor; or, if you’re a Navy Seaman, it’s the place where people’s luck runs out; the place where they buy the farm.”

“Oh. Are farms expensive?”

“What are you, some kind of nut? No, farms are free; all it takes are nightmares and cold sweat and shaking all over, and fear. Mostly fear. Fear’s the worse.”

“You mean like ‘afraid?’”

“What are you, some kind of nut? No, these people are not afraid in the least: trust me. No, I said fear; I didn’t say afraidPTSD has nothing to do with what other people think; it’s what they think of themselves, which isn’t much, as I’ve said, because they’ve reached the end of their rope: they failed to leave any safety line. They forgot the Seaman’s most trusted maximum: one hand for the ship and one for yourself.”

“But doesn’t the Captain say, ‘Two hands for the ship?’”

“Of course they do; sure they do, which is why we have those 22+ suicides a day. Look, they lied, okay? Face it: it happens.”

“So, what, they need a lifeline?”

“Yes, they do, but, and this is the hard part, those who put all their eggs in one basket are playing Russian roulette.”

“Speak a little plainer, please.”

“Okay, these guys did something that they would not have gotten away with back home, you with me? Maybe they had to, well, use your imagination. Now, back here in the States, it’s over, but maybe it’s not over for them, so they latch on to someone. Maybe they get married and it all goes downhill.”

“So then what?”

“So they blame themselves, but it’s not their fault. Look, remember that scene in Good Will Hunting, where the guy tells the kid, It’s not your fault’? I’m telling you, every guy with PTSD cried like a stuck pig and if they didn’t then they’re lying.”

“So you said they lost any self-respect they ever had.  How do they get it back?”

“Slowly, one day at a time. And then before you know it, another day goes by. Here’s a trick: rather than consider each hour one hour, consider, if you will, each half-hour one hour. So, at noon, it’s 2400, but at the real 2400 it’s 4800.”

“That’s nuts.”

“But it’s not quite as nuts as blowing yourself away, is it? And that’s the point. Look, not only lovelorn women come to me; a number of troubled Veterans seek me out and that’s what I tell them: a day at a time, okay?”

“Works for me.”

“Time’s up. Bye.”

“And this is Roving saying thank you for watching and, on behalf of the crew and Zork and Madam Shylock, I’ll be wishing you all a goodnight: Goodnight.

“Good show, guys. Go grab a burger: my treat.”

Sky Pilot” (7:30)


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