Monday, January 21, 2013 5 comments


First off, I need to get in a little rant before I start part duex. What's the point of writing a blog and scheduling a post to go up at a certain time when Blogger just pretends it will do it and then deletes it? I know I did it right this time, but no, it just shits it out of the Internet into some lost blog abyss. No more blogging in advance for me.

Okay. Here we go.

The Ballad of Stolen Valor: Part 2

It was a cold, dark night and the winds of El Paso whipped around me as I made the long walk from my car to the front doors of hell. Too dramatic? Okay, it was cold as balls and I was in a dark parking lot, trying to make a beeline for the door of work. I was trying to pry the exit door open (it was easier than going to the other side of the building), while juggling my coffee, lunch bag, and purse, when I heard him before I saw him. "Watch your six!" he yelled out with a cackle following it.

I don't know what he was expecting. Maybe he thought he would startle me and I would some type of PTSD flashback and he could see my moves? Maybe he thought we would bond over his usage of a "military" phrase? Or maybe, he's just a creepy rapist in a dark parking lot? Yeah, that's probably it. I did my best to ignore him as I finally got the door open, but he tried to squeeze past me. Um, apparently someone forgot the doors have a sensor to open them from the inside. So literally the door opens wide as he pushes past me and he looks even more like a rapist. "Oh, my bad," he says and all I can think is "You're going down tonight, fucker."

As I plopped myself down in my office chair, I began to devise a plan. I would wait until lunch and call him out in front of EVERYONE. Of course I would keep and ear out all night for his tales of Taliban killin' glory. But then it happened. I made an ally I will forever be blog indebted to.

His name is Tim. We will call him Midcity Stoner. MS is originally from SoCal, but thankfully didn't call it that. I would have hated him immediately. He used to work at Walmart, got fired for punching his manager, smokes weed like he's Snoop Dogg, and is my height or slightly taller (5'4"). He's thick, borderline fat, but has that sort of laugh that makes you laugh too, even if what he's laughing at was stupid. He calls me Tiff, only because the first time he did I asked him not to. He asked me why and I told him that a tiff is a petty little fight. So he never stopped. Whatevs. I call him much worse.

I'm walking back to the computer room to grab some paper and Midcity Stoner pops out of nowhere (scaring the shit out of me) and says "Tiff, come here. I gotta tell you this shit." We covertly make our way to the corner where diapers meets clothes and he fills me in.

MS: You know I fucking hate Mario, right?
Me: Well yeah, doesn't everyone?
MS: He he he. Yeah. Everyone. Even his family I think.
Me: True.
MS: So you were military right? Air Force or some shit?
Me: Yes, that exact shit.
MS: So you know about planes?
Me: Probably not as much as I should, but enough to call bullshit. Please tell me you have bullshit.
MS: Girl, I've got some serious shit.
Me: Please...continue. (Yes, I made an evil hand gesture, think the psych ward guy from Beauty and the Beast)
MS: Alright, so we're talking about Transformers 3 right?
Me: Why? It was terrible!
MS: I know, but its the only movie in the break room and we're gonna put it on during lunch.
Me: Got it. Continue.
MS: So Kenyon (another guy we work with...who's dreds have creatures) says like man that shit was crazy when theys in they squirrel suits. And Mario's fucking eyes light up and he starts saying that he used that shit when he parachuted or some shit into Baghdad.
Me: *could've heard a pin drop*
MS: Wait though, he said he parachuted from a B1. I don't know shit about shit like that but I know that's not that kind of plane.
Me: *finding my voice* What. The. Fuck.
MS: Right?
Me: Let's go with the plane first, no one, EVER, would jump, not parachute, but jump from a B1. It's a bomber. It holds bombs, not people. And who fucking "parachutes"? Seriously. I have never heard anyone who has been to Jump school call it Parachuting school.
MS: You look heated.
Me: He's just such a fucking liar.
MS: Call his ass out. That's what we do in my hood.
Me: That's what we do in my hood too.
Kenyon: *next isle over* Oh you got a hood?
Me: Yeah, you know. I keep it gangster.
Kenyon: I feel you.
MS: You're fucking stupid Tiff.
Me: I know.

So we devised a plan. I would take my lunch at the same time as everyone else, we would cue up the squirrel flying scene from Transformers 3 and wait for him to start. As soon as he opened his mouth with that bullshit, I would strike. I was giddy to say the least. He strutted in the break room about 20 seconds after I called for lunch. Such a fucking camper, but MS was right behind him. He didn't even go to the fridge, he cued up the movie. As the last employee strolled in, he hit play. Stolen Valor almost came.

SV: Yeah this is the best part!
Me: Why's that?
SV: Um, have you seen it? They fucking HALO. It's awesome. I guess you'd have to experience to get it.
Me: And you have?
SV: Pffft. Wouldn't you like to know.
Me: Yeah, I would.
SV: I bet you would.
Me: Well you'd win that bet because I would love to hear about your time in the service. Navy, right?
SV: Yeah.
MS: I thought you said the Army.
SV: No way bro, I'm a squid all the way.
MS: But you told me and Selena Army.
SV: You must have been high or something. *drunk hyena laugh*

I sensed what could happen here. He could try to divert attention on to MS so he wouldn't have to tell me about his service. I had to redirect.

Me: So seriously dude, you've done that?
SV: Uh yeah. I think I said that.
Me: Like operational or just for an exercise?
SV: We parachuted into Baghdad.
Me: You did what now?
SV: When the war started, we had to parachute into Baghdad because that was the only way in.
Me: When was this?
SV: When the war started.
Me: But when?
SV: Like end of 2001, start of 2002.
Me: But you said you were involved in Umm Qasr in 03.
SV: Yeah, and?
Me: But that was the first battle of the war.
SV: Of the official war.

Could shit have popped off secretly before the war started? Sure. Was this man involved in it? Hell no.

Is this what Navy bad asses look like? 

He went on to say that they had to parachute into Baghdad because there was no airport. So this place, aptly named Baghdad International airport since 1980, doesn't exist:

Baghdad International Airport is actually just a mirage. Oh, you flew into there? No, you didn't.

I asked him what kind of plane he jumped from. He said, " I PARACHUTED from a B-1. Who says jump? Hahaha." Um, everyone says jump. You go to jump school to learn how to jump. What the fuck? But I almost missed the plane he said he jumped from. Almost. 

Me: You jumped from a B-1?
SV: That's what I said.
Me: That's crazy. 
SV: Yeah.
Me: No that's literally crazy. A B-1 is a bomber. Where did you jump from? The bomb bay?
SV: Whatever. I was Navy. I don't know the planes. 
Me: Neither do I really, but I know you can't jump from a bomber.
SV: I meant M-1.
Me: That's a rifle.
SV: You know what I mean.
Me: No, I don't think I do.

There was a long, awkward silence...from him. Everyone else was stifling their laughs.

SV: What's the plane that they talk about in that chant thing?
Me: Do you mean a C-130?
SV: Yeah, that's the one.
Me: How do you mix that up with a B-1 Bomber or an M-1 carbine?
SV: *calls me something awful in Spanish*

Everyone was rolling at this point. No one tried to hide it. He got called the fuck out and yet, he wasn't done. He started talking about when he and his buddies went on a beer run to a nearby FOD (not FOB or forward operating base, but FOD, foreign object damage) and their convoy got blown up. Listen, I watched all 13 glorious episodes of Over There more times than I can recall and I know that that exact story happened in the same episode Bo gets his leg blown off in. I wish I could have had the smarts to record him telling this story as it was a shot by shot reference to that scene. Cool story bro, but Steven Bochco beat you to it. I held in my laughter and said "Man, I've had to do FOD checks so many times, but I've never seen anyone get blown up doing those."

Gee whiz info for the day: FOD, or foreign object damage, occurs when rocks or debris get on the flight line and damage the planes. When driving a vehicle onto the flight line, you're are supposed to stop before entering, check your tires for rocks, remove them, and then proceed slowly onto the flight line. Or just get out of your vehicle, pretend to look for shit, then get back into your vehicle.

The whole time he's popping off at the mouth, I'm posting his antics on my FB wall. My friend Melissa (we can work on blog names later) was in the Navy and was a great resource for me whilst calling him out. I asked him here he went to Boot and he got that answer right, but then told me he went to BUD/S and graduated on 9/11 ("The first one") and then it was boots to ground right after. Or is it boots to plane to air to ground?

Lunch ended far too soon. I couldn't stop though. Our word for the night became "jump." I streamed Kriss Kross' "Jump" and House of Pain's "Jump Around" on repeat through the PA system for much longer than would have been funny...except it was hilarious because Stolen Valor didn't get it. He...wait for it...actually jumped during the third or fourth playing of "Jump" and said, "Oh I fucking love this song!" Midcity Stoner almost died. We made sure to work the word jump into every conversation we had. "Hey, I need you to jump over to the bike section and get me this." "Make sure you don't jump off that ladder. It's pretty high. Not B1 high, but high." It was endless. The unspoken rule was that you couldn't just use it to use it. Stolen Valor had to be present. And each time, he just didn't understand that we were mocking him. He would just try to offer his opinion as a subject matter expert. 

There was much more to this post the first (and second) time I wrote it, but I will end it here today. Be ready next week for Part 3: The firing squad.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 1 comments

IRaq and Roll

Any of you who know me in real life and are not currently hiding my posts on your Facebook feed, know that I have been posting on the semi-regular about this ass hat I work with. His name is Mario, but I have given him a blog name BEFORE I even thought to blog about him.

The first time I met...wait for it...Stolen Valor, I was on a ladder, trying to not fall and crack my head open. He walked up, grabbed the frame, shook it a little bit, and then said "Oh shit, don't fall!" He then laughed like a drunk Hyena with a sinus infection for far longer than was appropriate. I calmly stepped down from the ladder, squared off with him, and said, "So it's funny to scare the shit out of someone while they are 25 feet off of the ground?" His face was priceless. He must have thought I was someone else (because there are so many white girls where I work) because he looked beyond shocked. He began backpedaling all over the place, saying he thought I was Maria or Alma or Beatrice (all short, squat Hispanics) and that they normally joke like that.

"So you think violating safety rules is a joke?" I asked in my best cop voice. "Oh no its cuz they like for me to tease them" he explained with a petulant but cocky tone. "Well, I don't. And you won't be doing it again. To me, or them. Got it?" I stated, rather than asked. I didn't wait for an answer. I walked into the back room and went straight to my "office." I needed to shake off the anger and fear I had from almost falling. See, I don't have a fear of heights, I have a fear of falling from them. Big difference.

But it didn't end. I'm angrily clicking the keys of my keyboard, trying to find a stupid signage report that my lovely coworker didn't finish and I feel two hands on my shoulders. As I'm preparing to take my keyboard and crack whomever the fuck it is in the face, I hear "Oy yey gringa, I'm sorry I scared you." I stand up, step to the side, then turn slowly and as dramatically as possible (I am nothing if not effective) and say "Listen, no need to touch. Ever." He laughs and says "Oh did I scare you? You jumped like someone shot a gun or something." "No," I replied, "I wouldn't jump from a gunshot. I jump when I'm in the back of a dark warehouse and feel creepy rapist hands on my shoulders." However, all he caught was that a gunshot wouldn't scare me.

"Oh, you know guns? You military?" he asked, tilting his head up to appear taller. In that moment, I knew. I fucking knew. He was going to be the bane of my existence. The rest of the night became a game of 20 questions, times 100. As he asked about my service (which I didn't really confirm) he mixed in his time in the Army, switched to calling it Navy, then back to Army and finishing strong with Navy. I wanted to call him out on it, but I decided that engaging him would be far worse.

It wasn't until I took my break that I really wanted to choke the life out of him. He sat right next to me, like scooted the chair even closer and began to probe me....for information. Had I ever been shot? Had I ever fired a gun? Did I say I was Army? Where was I stationed at? Was I ever down range? Did I know anyone in the Navy? I gave curt, one-word answers if I answered at all, but it dawned on me more and more with each question that he was trying to see how much I really knew about the he could gauge how much bullshit he could get away with.

The next night when I arrived at work, he was waiting for me. Literally waiting at my desk. I say excuse me as politely as I can muster, but he still stands in front of my chair. "Can I help you with something Mario?" I ask. "Nah, I'm just back here. Watching them unload the truck, Angel wants me to oversee" he says, bragging to me. "Don't you have to be able to see them to oversee?" I ask. "Ah yeah, I got this," he replies. Okay, he can't take a hint, so I sort of motion for him to step aside. He laughs and  moves aside, but not silently.

SV: That was like a signal, huh? Like military stuff. But I got it, you know, cuz we were both military. Air Force right?
Me: Yes Mario. Air Force.
SV: Oh so like, you guys got pampered, huh? Not us man. We were in the shit. I graduated for my job on 9/11 and it was like go go go go after that. Yeah, I've been to war.
Me: That's great Mario (I'm thoroughly engrossed in my inbox)
SV: Yeah, I was on the George Washington, that's a ship, a big one. But we docked in Iraq and then went in from there.
Me: (Looking up from my inbox) You docked IN Iraq?
SV: Yeah, bet you didn't know that huh? Yeah, Iraq is by the ocean.
Me: Well, it's on the Persian Gulf, not an ocean. But I didn't think a carrier could dock in Umm Qasr. And I really didn't think that the US Navy would send a carrier INTO Iraq. (Yes, I know where Umm Qasr is...I have an excellent memory...I don't think he accounted for that).
SV: Yeah, well they did.
Me: I thought only spec ops went into Umm Qasr in 03. I mean, it was kind of a big deal battle.
SV: Yeah, how do you think I know about it?

This is important to remember for my next blog in The Ballad of Stolen Valor series. Umm Qasr, or rather, the battle of Umm Qasr was one of, if not the first objectives of the Iraqi invasion. Take the port, you control all supplies coming in. American and British Marines with some Polish bad asses took Umm Qasr. The only Navy involved was the trained divers who detect and remove underwater mines. So is he a diver now? Seriously, I remember all of that from a doc on the History channel and a little from when it was initially reported but I'm pretty sure a quick wikipedia search could get him more accurate shit.

I was just about to ask him for detail (to nail him with) but I think he saw the doubt on my face and he quickly bolted back over to truck land. No goodbye, no "Oh I think they called for me", nada. I went about my business for the night and tried to make a mental note of all the bullshit I heard him spewing as I passed. He was Angel's responsibility, not mine, so instead of telling him to shut up and get back to work, I just absorbed. In the span of six hours or so, I heard the terms AR15, parachuted, squirrel suit, boat, kill, hit, shot, almost, this close, and a few dozen others repeated with such fervor that I wanted to pounce on him and rip out his jugular. All of it was bullshit, even if I hadn't caught the full stories surrounding the words. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit (yes, read that like Kristen Bell says it in Forgetting Sarah Marshall).

I knew I couldn't let him keep this up, but our shift was almost done and I was a busy girl. I would have to strike the next night....

This concludes "The Ballad of Stolen Valor: Part 1." Tune in next week for part 2.

Seriously, I know I've been a lazy blogger, but I will have part 2 up for you all next week. Promise. Why? Because I've already written it  and it's scheduled for a week from today. I have to keep you all coming back somehow.