Misadventures in Death
“If you went out [the wire] often, just as surely as you’d eventually find yourself in a position where survival etiquette insisted that you [dehumanize everyone but your squad], it was unavoidable that you’d find yourself almost getting killed. You expected something like that to happen, but not exactly that, not until events made things obvious for you. A close call was like [a loss of innocence]: you weren’t especially proud of it, you merely reported it to the [TOC] and then stopped talking about it, knowing in the first place that the story would go around from there, and that there wasn’t really anything to be said about it anyway. [You made your report, you may have even joked about it, laughed about it] but that didn’t stop you from thinking about it a lot, doing a lot of hideous projecting from it, forming a system of pocket metaphysics around it, getting it down to where you found yourself thinking about which kind of thing was closer: [that walk outside for a smoke to be zipped by a stray bullet, stepping inside the barracks one second before a 50 cal. round implodes the door behind you, the drive down Route Tampa and having your heart stopped and noggin rung by an IED, or the mission when every truck but one got hit, or your buddy that got hurt…better him than me, right?] Then after your Dawn Patrol fantasy would turn very ugly, events again and again not quite what you had expected , and you’d realize that nothing ever came closer to death than the death of a good friend” -Michael Herr, Dispatches [with my own injected story].