2 thoughts on ““A Rifleman’s Lament”

    • Never did have the proverbial – not even apocryphal “messed pants from either direction – which proves just how stupid I got under fire: hiding behind a camera’s range-finder somehow immunitized me too often. ‘Twas only when I had to drop the camera – or the tape recorder (I sometimes contributed tape to radio reports) and had to use the rifle for something other than a handy armrest, its front sight posts and rear sight arrangement (M-16) attached by use of a long shoelace to balance under my right shoulder. Then I got scared. I do not do scared well at all. But the tales of pee-fronted jungle utilities or shat-pants I am sure are moderately exaggerated. Too often we had too little water even for teen-brushing or what became a euphemistic “whore’s bath a touch of soap in a washcloth dipped into an overturned helmet to wash the pits and pubes and not much else once every few days if a stream was in the offing. The discomforts of war-waging should be the subject of peacenick demonstrations, not overly mythologized baby-killing and gang-raping. Never saw anything approaching even a harsh word from an American. Vietnamese and Korean Marines, however, used a heavy tongue and heavier hand. I saw their point when I saw what villagers had to have known – large unexploded bomts turned into massive man-killing booby-trap mines alongside roadsides long before they became Improvised Explosive Devices (so sanitized and homogenized!) which provoked allied responses on the villagers whose rice harvests we were protecting. But, hey, I was a young writer/photographer who “had to see the elephant.” And I did. Now I am wary of zoos of any kind, Yassy. Sorry for the rant…not really, just for the time it takes to write and read when I have so many other things to slap down on this screen. Enow! I shall push publish and grin my way through my grime and gristle with a few chuckles strewn for seasoning.

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