I went to the Grasshopper on Thursday night. It's in a part of town that one who was a pussy might call "mean", and so there is a certain type of person that goes there. It's down by the section of town that has a trailer park, and has a severe flood zone, and so the bar is respected by few but loved by many. I've talked about the place before, and the main reason that people go there is because of the dollar beers that occur only on Thursday nights.
There's one thing I really dig about bars, and that's that you meet very interesting people there when you're forced to talk to them. Now, in New Jersey, there's a "ban on smoking", which means that all people who smoke are relegated to the outside of the bars. Even though I don't agree with this fascist law, I abide by it, simply because no one else will stand up to it. I was loaded on this fine Thursday night, but I remember parts of it. Eventually, after a few drinks, I went outside for my first smoke... I met some interesting folks.
Some frat boy and his girlfriend were having a cigarette with some tall, lean, rangy looking fucker, and I could tell they were trying to get away from him. I ambled over in that direction and kind of saved the couple from this guy. He seemed interesting, so I started bullshitting with him. I don't know how we got talking about it, but somehow politics came up (although when I get drunk I do tend to yell about how Republicans are fascists). This guy agreed apparently.
"I was in fucking Vietnam man. They fucked us, they lied to us. I'd give my life for my country, but I'd never fucking do it again", he told me, as the smoke curled around his scroungy beard; this guy looked like he was in Vietnam.
Now, this sentence didn't really make sense, but I'm assuming he meant sign up to fight a politician's war. "If this country ever gets attacked, I'll fight. But never anywhere else". I think this guy learned the hard way that the government will trade blood for money. He's the kind of guy that I'll see at an Allman Brother's concert in a few years, and wonder why he looks familiar. This night, however, will not cross my mind when that happens, and I'll probably wander away drunk.
This conversation was ironic, being as my buddy Tosi from Little Falls was sitting inside that same bar. He just graduated college, and the entire time he did that ROTC shit, so he's heading into the Army shortly. I think he was born in Georgia or Carolina or some hillbilly state, and he does look like you would think Southerners should look: tall, blond, and lean. He's got no accent, but you can tell from his demeanor he's at least part redneck. He was a history major who barely made it out of college, and he's surprisingly liberal for coming from the old Army home that he comes from. His father was in the 82nd Airborne, and his grandfather was one of those crazy fucking Rangers that climbed the cliffs at Normandy. It's an impressive resume, and far better than my own family's, although I like to think that my family just tended to live on the other side of the law then his (I'm sure our stories are just as good, in that outlaw way, of course.)
It's kind of funny, because when he comes home, I tend to see other folks from that town that I often lose contact with. They all end up in the Army or the Marines, every damn one of them. The few girls I know through them are always marrying Marines, dating soldiers, blah blah. Needless to say, we all stay away from politics when we're drinking- they tend to be a little more...Pro-America than I. Being a far lefty, I don't want to start shit with buddies who are still laying their lives on the line, regardless of whether or not I agree with the mission.
It can get tiring being around people who are in the Army, but not with this guy. I mean, I'm really close with Tosi, and he never acts like a soldier. He knows the shit that I think will be cool, like the parts about blowing shit up, and he knows that I dig history. However, he never gets out of hand with it, never starts blowing smoke up people's asses about how he's a soldier, and certainly doesn't trust the government. Don't get me wrong, he's a son of a bitch, just like me, but he's not arrogant about it.
It irritates the fuck out of me that my buddy is going to end up over there in that shithole of a country called Iraq. I was diggin the fact that two of my friends got back safely, and now he's going to be taking off soon. I'd say that I'm closer with him than anyone else from that circle of people from Little Falls, and that's what worries me; I can't go to any more funerals for any more brothers. I sometimes get that feeling that I won't make it out of these years without losing another one, and that somehow this Iraq war that I've railed against so solidly is going to have some drastic effect on my own life. It's not a good feeling.
At the end of the night, I was outside talking to a broad that I've known for a while. Her husband is in the Army, but she cheats on him constantly. It's a good thing they got married before he left for Iraq...I used to wonder why she never slept at night, and why she'd always be posting shit on Myspace at the odd hours of the night whining about insomnia. Now, of course, I know why.