U.S. Army Rangers

There are some things about the deployment experience that will cause a veteran to look off into the distance as he quietly remembers those days in vivid detail. There other are things that he will totally forget until something random sparks his memory and causes him to shake his head at the silliness of it all. This is a list dedicated to those little nuances about being deployed that you can’t experience in the real world.

1. The Smell of Iraq

One of the most significant moments a soldier has is when he gets his first nose full of the thick Iraqi air. It’s a smell that’s nearly impossible to find anywhere else in the world. A combination of burned garbage, desert heat spoiling everything, spilled sewage, and the Cradle of Civilization getting old and senile.

2. Rip-Its

An off-brand energy drink that came to be the go-to caffeine infusion for many a troop before a mission. Got the call to go hit an objective? As you head toward the ready room, you’ll always make to sure to take a quick stop at the MWR (Morale, Welfare, Recreation) facility in order to grab one or four 6-ounce cans and put them in your cargo pockets. You never know if this is going to be a simple three-hour mission or an all-nighter. Best to carry a full battle load.

3. Pirated Movies From the Bazaar

Through the generations, boredom has always been a major enemy for the man on the ground to fight off. With the nonexistent copyright laws of the Middle East, American troops have found themselves able to procure full series of their favorite TV shows for only a few bucks thanks to enterprising locals eager to make a semi-honest buck. Whole squads and sections will partake in marathon viewings of The OC, Scrubs, Lost, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. They’ll form educated and fully developed opinions and theories on the show’s characters. It becomes a huge annoyance to get called up for a mission in the middle of a particularly juicy episode.

4. Piss Bottles

You’re en route to a mission in a helicopter or a Stryker. Those Rip-Its you drank are going right through you, and you’re not even close to getting to your objective. Since you ain’t no cherry, you came prepared for this event. You take out the Gatorade bottle that also doubles as your spitter. You unbutton the front of your pants, slightly hunch over, shove your dick in the bottle, and take a piss that fills it to the top. You seal the top. As you get on target, you toss it into pile of garbage on the side of the road. There’s an off chance that a local kid will think it’s just yellow Gatorade and drink it.

5. Care Packages Filled With Useless Shit No One Wants

Teaching a rather insightful lesson of good intentions does not always equal good execution, the MWR facilities will at times be packed with care packages from well-intentioned people eager to get rid of their useless shit. The occasional care package will have goodies such as fun-sized Snickers, Hot Cheetos, Gatorade powder packs, and other shit you actually want. Others will contain generic Halloween candy, pocket Bibles, crappy disposable Bic razor blades, some cheap electronic mini-game that breaks five minutes after you start playing it, and a coupon book that expired six months ago.

6. Unintentionally Grim Cards From Kids

A good way for a kindergarten teacher to fulfill her patriotic duty and kill an hour of class time while she nurses her hangover is to have her students draw and write up cards in crayon to send to GIs overseas. The GIs will receive a crude drawing of stick figure soldiers shooting at shit and tanks that also have wings while shooting out flames and random stars plastered throughout with captions such as “Tank U for my Fredum Solgier, pleeze don’t lose yor legs,” or “Kill people with towels on their heads. USA!”

7. Rushing To The Chow Hall After A Mission

“Fuck, I’m starving. If this mission isn’t over soon, there is no way we are going to make it back in time for mid-rats. Fuck, today is Mexican Monday. My favorite!” many a Joe has thought to himself while on target. Chow is always on a soldier’s mind. In fact, having hot chow is one of life’s pleasures he’d never willingly miss. Since this is the Global War on Terrorism, there is a surprising amount of food variety cooked by cheap Filipino and Ethiopian labor.

“Holy shit, we have five minutes before chow closes,” Joe will announce to his buddies as they get back to the compound. Covered in sweat, dirt, and mud, the whole platoon will rush to the chow hall to ensure they don’t have to wait until breakfast to get their next meal.

8. Hard Drive Full of Porn

Unless you’re in a unit with females, you’re not going to be getting any pussy whatsoever if you’re deployed. Yet you’re a young, testosterone-filled freedom machine with a sack full of semen that needs to be released at regular intervals. Advances in technology have not only made quality porn cheap and accessible for the masses, it’s quite common for a soldier to have a whole external hard drive full of porn geared toward his own deviant desires. With his laptop and jack-shack you make out of your bunk bed with some extra sheets, you’re ready to give your privates some hands-on action. Or if times are truly desperate, you can always go jerk in the Port-A-Potty.

9. The Deployment-Eight

Just because you aren’t getting any pussy doesn’t mean you won’t see females. If fact, you’ll see them throughout the installation doing various jobs. You’ll see the occasional prize specimen of femininity, but more often you’ll see chicks you wouldn’t fuck with your buddy’s dick. A couple of months of not having any sexual contact with females will have you creating elaborate fantasies about that one Air Force E-6 you always see at the chow hall with the buck teeth, horrible acne, and a totally flat chest. Yet she does have a big ass that even a military uniform can’t hide. Oh, what you wouldn’t give to have those cellulite-covered ass cheeks bouncing off your dick.

10. Overhearing Your Buddy Argue With Their Significant Other On The Phone

“You’re a fucking stupid cunt. I’m going to fucking kill you and that motherfucker when I get back home,” you’ll casually overhear one of your buddies say to his significant other as you use an Army computer to Facebook-stalk chicks you used to like in high school. Since you’re doing some rather important stuff for national security, all forms of communication you have with the rest of the world are being monitored. This means that there is very little privacy when it comes to telephone conversations that everyone in the room can hear.

11. The Smell of the Locals

The locals have a uniquely foul body odor to them. Whether it’s because they live in a shit hole and can’t shower regularly, their diet, or other social/economical factors that we don’t understand, there is no denying it. You can smell a local from ten to fifteen feet away. Wearing leather gloves is mandatory on missions, so it helps out when you have to handle and move a PUC (Person Under Control) from point A to B. Their smell will funk up your gloves for a day or two.

12. Scraggly, Feral Dogs of Various Breeds

There are many feral dogs of nearly any kind of breed you can think of roaming the streets of Iraq. They’ll travel in packs digging through rubble and garbage looking for something to eat. You’ll see little Yorkshire Terriers who answered the call of the wild running alongside German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers. Most of the dogs are not pure breeds and are so deeply intermixed that you can’t even begin to guess what type of breed they are. The dogs will usually avoid American troops, making them smarter than your average terrorist. TC mark









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Shutterstock / Agnes Kantaruk
Shutterstock / Agnes Kantaruk

I don’t entirely trust people who don’t know how to cook. That may sound judgmental and well, it is. Thing is: I like to cook. In fact, I love it and I have loved it ever since I was 13 and my single mom was working all the time and if I wanted to eat something I either had to microwave another pizza pocket or teach my ass how to make my own food.

I chose to cook. And I’m damn glad I did because learning to cook out of necessity is what led me to understanding just how artful and wonderful cooking can be in a whole slew of other ways. So I really get it when I run into to a fellow adult who can look me straight in the eye and tell me, quite matter-of-factly, “Oh, I don’t cook.”
 
Whaaaa?

How can that be? How can someone in this modern day and age navigate life without ever learning one of the most fundamental, useful, and creative skills known to man?

And beyond that, who the hell would ever want to date (or marry) one of these people? (The future husband of my 5-year-old daughter should take note.)

Think about this for a second. If you have reached the age of 25 and you don’t know how to make a pasta dish or cook a steak or steam some veggies for yourself, what do you think that says about you as a person, much less a potential relationship partner? Does it indicate that you’ve just been so busy with your education and your work life that you haven’t had the time to learn to create a basic dish for yourself to eat? I don’t think so. I think that what it clearly says about you is that you:

a) lack a certain type of basic ambition

or

b) have been coddled and fed and now rely on take-out as your new mommy/daddy figure

or

c) were never taught to cook and therefore just figured that teaching yourself something so necessary and worthwhile was just not … well … worthwhile.

In a lot of cases, I suspect that it’s a combination of all three that leads to the type of people who actually boast that they simply do not cook. And that is a frightening and sad notion, if you ask me. Not a day goes by when I don’t have time to cook something for my kids or better yet, for myself. I dig preparing my own food and when I can’t do it it pisses me off. Why? Well, for one thing I’ve long known that cooking isn’t just a job you have to do, like mopping the floor or getting the oil changed on the car. Cooking is something entirely different; it’s a whole separate other galaxy away from ‘chores’ and that kind of crap.

When you stand in your own kitchen and cut vegetables and slice garlic and get a pan ready to saute a piece of fish or a pork chop or a fat mushroom, you’re not obligated to dig what you’re doing.

You might hate it. But if you DO hate it, then it’s my opinion that you lack a certain type of romance, plain and simple. Because cooking is very much like romance, like real tried and true romance, not this sh*t you think you might find if you spend another hour or two on Tinder or whatever. Cooking requires heart. It demands that you give a damn about someone else, the person or person(s) you are cooking for, whether they’re your own hungry kids or someone you’ve just met and are trying to impress in the hope that they might want to spend a little more time with you.

So in a lot of ways when you say to someone, even in passing, “Well, I don’t cook,” what you’re really saying to them (and to the world in general) is, “Well, I don’t have much heart or interest in fundamental things that show people I care about them!”

Jeez.

You might as well just tell people, “You know, I really don’t have much time to give a damn about you, but I’d love it if you were attracted to me anyway!”

Okay, perhaps that’s an oversimplification of my point, but still. I imagine that I’m speaking for a whole lot of people when I tell you that people who don’t cook aren’t as attractive or sexy or probably even as much of a catch as people who do. I’ve never been with a woman who didn’t know how to cook and I can honestly say to you that each and every single time any of them made a meal for me, I was intensely turned on in a really primal way. And I feel like they felt the same way about me cooking for them, too. Guys, girls, it doesn’t matter.

When you can cook and you know it, you understand that you are so way ahead of anyone who cannot.

And when you set a dish of food you just made down in front of someone you think is hot or cool or funny or charming or hopefully all of that in equal measure, I can tell you this much for sure. You are putting yourself up on a seriously badass pedestal without even knowing it. Because the human heart knows what it knows and it follows those same leads down unconsciously, year after year, century after century. And home cooked food has always been a shoo-in when it comes to falling in love.

Sure, you might meet someone else who doesn’t cook and the two of you might sail off into the Take-out sunset. But I doubt it.

Look, do us all a favor, will ya? Lean to cook. It’s easy as hell. It will ignite certain passions in you that you didn’t even know where there. And people will like you more; trust me.
No more excuses.

Cook. Make love. Live a little. And stop acting like a little kid. TC mark

This post originally appeared at YourTango.

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I catch your scent sometimes. In crowded places where the air gets thick and people rush past but their clouds hang frozen in the air. And there you were, in the most vivid of memories, from that one whiff, I could feel the soft of your skin, see the creases of your eyes, hear the heartiness of your laugh.

I used to lie awake while you slept. I used to delicately touch your face and endless wonder what cosmic alignments brought you into my broken life. I used to be devoured by my fears of not being enough for someone so charismatic, so vibrant, so endlessly charming that much of my days were spent swimming in dark waters of anxious insecurities.

I tried to hide the tenderness. The eternal flame of powerful emotions that ripped through me whenever I thought of you, but they burned ever brighter by the day. I felt sick when I exposed too much, when my mouth kept talking about how lovely and perfect you were when all I wanted to do was have the self-control to say nothing. Be cool, be aloof, the one who cares the least holds the power. But I lost all reason when I met you. I descended into a place where I couldn’t think, I could only feel, and I wanted to feel you every second.

You saddened and frustrated me. You spoke of love like it was a tangible thing you could study and know. I wanted you to get lost in your own heart, to jump into the unknown and unleash your truest, most hidden self to only me. But you remained guarded. I confused your lust and passion for my body as a connection to my mind and soul. I fell so fast and so deep that other parts of my life ceased to matter. I was convinced you had more depth than you wanted me to know about, that if I got close enough to the farthest centre of your soul, I could break you open and you would become equally overcome with love for me.

You fell away. Or maybe I pushed you with my impatience, with my intensity, with my endless need to be equally enthralled with each other. I woke up at the bottom of the rabbit hole, more broken than before. Being with you stopped filling me with excitement and anticipation and instead was replaced with only disappointments, in you and in myself. Maybe I had misjudged you, that what you presented to me was always all there would ever be. Or maybe it was, simply that, I wasn’t the one for you and you weren’t the one for me and we ran together for as long as we could until life faded us out.

And though I know that I will never be able to explain how quick and furiously I became smitten with you or why you never made the trip to that place for me, I will always wonder if you remember my perfume. If the scent of it on another reminds you just as vividly of those moments together, when everything was brilliant and full of possibility. TC mark









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It was the last time!
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You don’t know my name. But I know your heart. I know that it beats to offset my laughter. I know that the way it’ll tap below my ear will be the rhythm to my favorite song… one that was imbedded in my soul long, long ago. It is the song that was always stuck in my head, but one whose origin I never knew. And I know that its rifts and the creases were left open for me to fill; they were left broken for me to seal.

You don’t know my name. But I know your eyes. I know that they will twist my insides like taffy and my lips to forge a smile. I know that they will overpower me like a Florida summer… warm with joy and wet with the knowledge that I could so easily break you. They will see right through me like an x-ray, but I welcome it. I welcome your eyes into the depths of my soul and all of its tantalizing secrets.

You don’t know my name. But I know your hands. I know that I will count the changes through the years… The lines that form from our adventures, the rough parts that come from your manual aid, and the way your skin remains the softest touch against my own. Your hands will lace with mine until they intertwine with the children we will spend the rest of our lives protecting.

You don’t know my name. But I know your voice. I know that the way you say goodbye will be bittersweet, but the way you say hello will spark an immortal fire in my heart. I know that your voice will anger me and appease me simultaneously. I will disagree with the words that it carries, but will fall for the words that you seldom leave out. I know that I could live the rest of my life peacefully as soon as I heard you whisper, “I love you.”

You don’t know my name. But I know your soul. I know that in its gravities is a story I’ve been waiting my whole life to read. It’s a story that is the answer to my every writer’s block. It’s the beginning to my end and the end to my beginning. It’s everything and nothing contemporaneously. It’s the contradiction and the answer to everything I’ve ever known. It’s the key to mine and I the key to yours. It’s a broken piece of faultlessness that is lined with familiarity. It’s my soul’s mate.

You don’t know my name. But I know your laugh. I know that it is the remedy to every one of my broken hearts. I know that its vibration will live in my veins so I always ascertain the positive in life. I know that it will be as loud as it is curious, but more contagious than any laughter I’ve come to know. I know I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure out new ways to hear it.

You don’t know my name. But I know your lips. I know that the moment they align with mine the world will turn upside down. Everything will seem horribly confusing and true at the same time. I know it will catalyze fear into my heart because I will understand that you then control it completely. I know yours will be the last I ever kiss. I know that there will be no butterflies, no fireworks, but there will be an end to the fickle world, as I know it. It will be soft, white like smog, and peaceful. All will be right, and every wrong before it will finally make sense.

You don’t know my name. But I know I will love you. I know all the days that are trickling away are only getting me closer to you. I know I should not settle for just any heart, any set of hands or eyes or lips, for any voice or any soul, and for any laugh. I will not settle until it is clear to me my search has rightfully ceased. I will not stop looking until I am sincerely found. And I want you to know that I will wait for you as long as it may take.

You don’t know my name. But I know you. I know you inside and out, and I have spent my whole life dreaming of you. You are the answer to my every birthday wish, my every prayer, and the desire behind every shooting star I haven’t seen. I know you because you belong to me, and I to you. Our entire lives are a set of journeys and detours meant to mold us into who we are meant to be before we become us.

You don’t know my name. But I know that forever only begins when you attach yours to my own. TC mark

You don’t know my name. But I know your heart. I know that it beats to offset my laughter. I know that the way it’ll tap below my ear will be the rhythm to my favorite song… one that was imbedded in my soul long, long ago. It is the song that was always stuck in my head, but one whose origin I never knew. And I know that its rifts and the creases were left open for me to fill; they were left broken for me to seal.

You don’t know my name. But I know your eyes. I know that they will twist my insides like taffy and my lips to forge a smile. I know that they will overpower me like a Florida summer… warm with joy and wet with the knowledge that I could so easily break you. They will see right through me like an x-ray, but I welcome it. I welcome your eyes into the depths of my soul and all of its tantalizing secrets.

You don’t know my name. But I know your hands. I know that I will count the changes through the years… The lines that form from our adventures, the rough parts that come from your manual aid, and the way your skin remains the softest touch against my own. Your hands will lace with mine until they intertwine with the children we will spend the rest of our lives protecting.

You don’t know my name. But I know your voice. I know that the way you say goodbye will be bittersweet, but the way you say hello will spark an immortal fire in my heart. I know that your voice will anger me and appease me simultaneously. I will disagree with the words that it carries, but will fall for the words that you seldom leave out. I know that I could live the rest of my life peacefully as soon as I heard you whisper, “I love you.”

You don’t know my name. But I know your soul. I know that in its gravities is a story I’ve been waiting my whole life to read. It’s a story that is the answer to my every writer’s block. It’s the beginning to my end and the end to my beginning. It’s everything and nothing contemporaneously. It’s the contradiction and the answer to everything I’ve ever known. It’s the key to mine and I the key to yours. It’s a broken piece of faultlessness that is lined with familiarity. It’s my soul’s mate.

You don’t know my name. But I know your laugh. I know that it is the remedy to every one of my broken hearts. I know that its vibration will live in my veins so I always ascertain the positive in life. I know that it will be as loud as it is curious, but more contagious than any laughter I’ve come to know. I know I will spend the rest of my life trying to figure out new ways to hear it.

You don’t know my name. But I know your lips. I know that the moment they align with mine the world will turn upside down. Everything will seem horribly confusing and true at the same time. I know it will catalyze fear into my heart because I will understand that you then control it completely. I know yours will be the last I ever kiss. I know that there will be no butterflies, no fireworks, but there will be an end to the fickle world, as I know it. It will be soft, white like smog, and peaceful. All will be right, and every wrong before it will finally make sense.

You don’t know my name. But I know I will love you. I know all the days that are trickling away are only getting me closer to you. I know I should not settle for just any heart, any set of hands or eyes or lips, for any voice or any soul, and for any laugh. I will not settle until it is clear to me my search has rightfully ceased. I will not stop looking until I am sincerely found. And I want you to know that I will wait for you as long as it may take.

You don’t know my name. But I know you. I know you inside and out, and I have spent my whole life dreaming of you. You are the answer to my every birthday wish, my every prayer, and the desire behind every shooting star I haven’t seen. I know you because you belong to me, and I to you. Our entire lives are a set of journeys and detours meant to mold us into who we are meant to be before we become us.

You don’t know my name. But I know that forever only begins when you attach yours to my own. TC mark









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ahahah it's true
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The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

1. You take your vitamins (even if they are the gummy kind.)

2. You attempt to floss every so often, but not regularly. That shit is tedious.

3. When you run out of toilet paper you actually put on a new roll instead of leaving it in the immediate vicinity of the toilet. Except sometimes you actually just leave it sitting on top of the empty cardboard.

4. You have bedding that you’re proud of. Most of the time no one actually sees it because you rarely ever make your bed, but that’s beside the point.

5. You complete most of the things on your “to do” list. Bonus points if you’ve actually created a physical list and aren’t just mentally checking things off in your head.

6. You’re organized. Even if your version of organized means that your living space is a complete disaster, but you still know where literally everything is. That’s what I like to call an organized mess.

7. You go grocery shopping. So what if cereal, peanut butter, and pizza rolls are all staples in your cabinet? No one is judging.

8. Coffee has become a constant in your life. It might be iced coffee with more cream and sugar than actual coffee, but caffeine is caffeine and most adults require it to function, right?

9. You drink responsibly. If that means drinking excessively then chugging water and popping Advil before bed, then so be it!

10. You remember people’s birthdays (thank you Facebook, iCalendar, etc. for preventing us from seeming like awful people.) Because, let’s be real, that’s the only way you’ll ever remember.

11. You’re really great at expressing your emotions. Keep in mind that screaming loudly, crying uncontrollably, and lashing out inexplicably are all forms of expression.

12. You have patience. You can wait on line at Five Guys for at least 10 minutes without complaining (as long as there’s free peanuts.)

13. Coming prepared is important to you. That’s why you always bring your big bag to the movies. No way are you paying an obscene amount for popcorn and a drink. Thinking ahead!

14. Maintaining your appearance is something you do well. Whoever invented dry shampoo so that you don’t have to wash your hair every day is a goddamn genius. Seriously.

15. You work well under pressure. This is exactly why you save that huge paper for the night before it’s due. It’s amazing how much more efficient you are when you procrastinate!

16. You are great at managing your money. You always purchase things on sale…even if you go shopping every time there’s a sale.

17. You can take responsibility for your actions. You are perfectly capable of sincerely apologizing for being late to/blowing off an event. The fact that you decided to binge watch your favorite series on Netflix instead is irrelevant…Sorry not sorry. TC mark









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