“Boys In Bobby-Mac’s Band”

(February 23, 2019)

When I Viet-Nam(ed)

never met personally

‘Bobby Mac’s’ Dim Kids*

*(Long-Lost Secretary of Defense – such an offensive dishonest term: why not an honest Secretary of War instead? – Robert S. McNamara inserted into the military mainstream – during a resumption of the last-used Universal Draft between Korea and The Dominican Republic (1965) – a draft of what became known as “Bobby Mac’s” One Hundred Thousand. They were young men who did not – and perhaps could not – qualify on the mental jungle gym ladder of brightness called Eye-Que Exam, into the Army. Same time as he inserted those monstrously big Rome Plows to furrow our side of The Demilitarized Zone (why it acronymed out to DMZ is beyong my poor ken) thus making it “impossible” for those wily North Vietnamese Army stalwarts to slip into South Vietnam. No one told Bobby Mac about the Ho Chi Minh Trail? But the former new car lot salesman supreme – it was Ford, no? – went ahead an socially experimented with people who shoot (and get shot) for a living. And he pied-in-the-skied a sweet deal for Big Farm Implement’s sake to make it so much harder for Our Side to slip up to the hypothetical border because there was no cover left. For these and many other executive decisions, The Boys In His Band have unfond memories of just about anyone named Bobby Mac. The Marine Corps, of which institution I had to lie and cheat (but not steal) just to get in and the only reason they took me I now am convinced is because someone spied me reading without moving my lips, apparently had none of Bobby’s Fabled Hundred Thou. Then, why, Dear Commandant – did I and one or two of my fellow “college maggots” have to try to get three or five of our boot camp platoon’s members each to recall enough “facts” to pass both the mid-terms and the finals. I gave up after three sessions when I figured two of my four or five could not read and the other three moved their lips and used fingers to point out the words, so I took the test for them: they all got 100s and I gave me a 98 to fool the monitors. I was – we all were – told any “cheating” on the preliminary knowledge test or the final test (which one must pass in order to graduate from boot camp) was a court-martial offense. As if that were a threat: going to the brig seemed like a reprieve after the first few encounters with “posture adjustment” and gig-line straightening, among other attempts to instill a military bearing on our race of slime called now ever so reverently “recruits.” I still owe Ed Spoon a big huss for repaying my loan of a test – twice – and his repayment after, finally, I fell afoul of The System at the rifle range. I still swear I had both the safety engaged and the magazine stripper guide inserted correctly against the released bolt “both times” when I was singled out for special attention and my platoon ‘mates paid for my sins with extra-extra attention…not to mention the low crawl through the sandspur patch and our new platoon rag getting furled. It was the first time I ever heard my actual name emitted from the mouth of our Senior Drill Instructor. ‘Til then I had achieved every “Boot’s” dream: anonymity.” Ed Spoon repaid my small kindness many times over that last week at The Range and no one in our platoon ever hinted at a midnight mayhem. Those two weeks at the range were mine own crucible when I faced a bunch of my fears, both real and imagined, that I might never get to wear a deflated basketball with a plucked buzzard sitting atop a bent and rusty sewing-thread fouled screw.)

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