I have a past as an intern, squatter, orphan, roadie, anarchist, photographer and security guard, and people forget; but the one image I’ve had a hard time shaking off is that of a militarist. Ever since I was in the army and continued to wear the uniform pants as work gear (and a khaki cap wtf), people have been eyeing me like I’m personally responsible for the US foreign policy of “shoot first”. Five years later I still get comments, sarcastic or not, that they “Better watch out, he was in the army”.
What I do still have from boot camp as a medic, besides an in-depth knowledge of your butt-naked physique (wink), is the attitude. Combat training will do that to you: Besides teaching you the ways to escape gruesome death, it informs you just how to inflict it upon others.
Just the other day I was chatting up this girl in my favorite local bar and some buzzcut knuckledragger couldn’t seem to leave her alone. Despite her attempts to send him walking, he ended up putting his arm around her.
I carefully peeled his paw off by the pinky, dropping it back on the bar. He stood up before me: About 2 meters, 90-100 kilo’s. With my own 85 of muscleweight, I was somewhat outgunned but like I said, if you were taught to catch 5.56 bullets with your teeth, it’s kind of hard to be impressed. I calmly rose in front of him and told him with an annoyed grimace at the smell of his breath, “I’m very sorry sir, but she’s with me.” To demonstrate, I put my hand dangerously high up her thigh, feeling the tremble shimmer through her.
I sensed a shadow rise behind my opponent’s broad back: A tall, skinny man with bouncing adam’s apple. Must be the gorilla’s buttmate, I figured. “Are you crazy, asshole?” he chimed in. “Do you know that this guy is national champion Muai Thai?” Confident that his partner in fellatio had his back (har, har), he shot his hand forward to grab my collar.
Expecting as much, I caught his wrist with my right hand and reached forward with my left, slamming his acne-decorated face down on the counter top. With his bitch at our feet and out of the way, I looked back at my previous conversation partner with the annoyance now somewhat clearer in my frown. “Do we really want to go there?” I asked. Shaking his head timidly, he backed away. I snaked my arm around the willing girl’s waist and with a toothy chuckle, snatched the rope dangling from the ceiling, flinging out the door and off to fuck in my treehouse in the jungle.
You idiots are fucking rich. Seriously? I was in there for 2 years, 5 years ago, as a fucking medic. Even if I would ever have seen any real action, which I didn’t, it would have been from the sidelines until the coast was clear to drag those mouthbreathers out of there, patch them up, and send them home in a wheelchair or body bag.
In the one or two cases in my life where I punched somebody with the intent to hurt them, they basically laughed it off and continued taking their swings at me. That’s how harmful I really am. Never hurt a fucking fly and yet, perhaps based on the type of jokes I make, anyone aware that I was in the army seems to think that I mentally got stuck there somehow, and that I, with my 60kg, am dumb enough to go around picking fights.
There’s two things I am very good at in a fight: Dodging, and running. While I will do what is necessary to defend myself and others, for fuck’s sake, I couldn’t hurt you if I tried.
The guys and I are planning our next hike as we speak. After crossing Scotland and the Norwegian Lysefjorden, we all pretty much did what we originally planned to do, and find ourselves fresh out of inspiration. It’s not that we can’t find a place that catches our interest, there’s just too much of them.
In a desperate attempt to top Norway, we thought we’d take it to the extreme and go see Lapland. Because I was occupied elsewhere, the planning happened pretty much without me, while I just kind of cheered “Lapland!” from the bleachers. The bunch of us met up tonight, including me for once, to arrange the details. Someone had brought a printed brochure of our trail with black and white pictures. I took it and looked it over while they discussed things like cabins versus tents.
An hour in, I put the papers down and posed carefully, “Is there anyone who, like me, only half likes the idea of going there?” They all felt silent, and stared. I pointed at the brochure. “We’re going in July, which, by the looks of it, means that there will be no snow. With hardly any mountains to speak of, the place looks just like Scotland, which is cheaper, closer, and warmer.”
So after letting them plan the whole thing out and exchanging websites I never looked at, I pretty much said “no” and they made the mistake of taking that into account, even though I insisted that it was just an opinion and I would go with the group if they decided. When they asked for alternatives, I honestly said that I had none- I just felt like we could do better. The 24-hour sunlight probably wouldn’t allow for us to catch any northern lights at all (which was one of my prime reasons of wanting to go) and without snow, the whole place does indeed just look like Scotland.
When I admitted I had no alternative, I wrongly thought Iceland was off the list for some reason or other, I assumed the travel cost. When it was mentioned as an option again and photos were looked up, I pointed again. “That is where I want to go.”
While doing the Norwegian trail, I was already thinking it would be hard to find anything that even came close to the view there. But even then I knew the evident answer: The shit you see in Iceland, you don’t see anywhere else on this planet. Glaciers, hot water springs, geysers, fjords, cliffs and landscapes that fucking blow your mind all in one country. Did I mention they have puffins? They have fucking puffins.
So yeah, I’d like to go there. I’m not sure it will fly with my friends though, after my consistent and complete neglect. Still, it’s worth the trouble. Iceland is one of the many things on my “pre-death” list, which could become “post-death” tomorrow- You never know, right?. So the sooner, the better.