November 10, 2003

Veterans Day.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:11 pm

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. Unlike Memorial Day, which is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the service of our country, Veterans Day is the day set aside to honor all veterans, living or dead.

I’m a veteran and, even though while in service, I did my fair share of bitching about being in the military, today I realize that I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve, and I am a better person because of it. By cutting off your hair, putting you in a uniform, and treating you as just one of many who has to make do under difficult and aggravating circumstances, the military teaches you in short order that the world does not revolve around you. The Army also provided me with the grit to tolerate and overcome things that were difficult and which I hated at the time. These are lessons that have served me well in civilian life.

In addition, there is something about having served in the military that creates an instant kinship with others who have served. It transcends race, creed, educational level and socioeconomic class, and it lasts a lifetime. Overwhelmingly, my friends today are men who served in the military during the Vietnam War. Today, some are firemen and police officers, truck drivers and mechanics, while others work at various jobs in industry or for the government. None of that matters, for we all share something more basic, and that is that, at one point in our lives, we all were soldiers, sailors, marines or airmen, and that cuts us from the herd. And, to a man, we’re proud of what we did and have great affection and respect for one another. Quite simply, we’re friends in the truest sense of the word.

So on this Veterans Day, I salute them and all of the other men and women who have worn the uniform in service of the country.

A Trip to Costco or a Root Canal.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:41 am

I’m not sure which is worse.

This weekend, I went to Costco to pick up some things for the bar at the American Legion. Here are some impressions:

1. English? Does anyone speak it any more?

2. Family gatherings? What is with the people who make a trip to Costco an outing for the extended family? In some cases a half dozen people (with one cart) meander down the aisle, effectively blocking the way for anyone else. They often stop, of course in the center of the aisle, to hold some sort of family meeting. It is difficult to pass, as I don’t know how to say, “excuse me” in Hottentot or whatever language all the aunties and uncles were speaking. I assume that only one family member pays for a membership card, which accounts for these people shopping in packs.

3. Free-Range Children. Children are often left unattended to run up and down the aisles to do whatever tickles their fancy. Feel like bouncing a ball up and down the aisles? No problem. Help yourself to a new basketball from its box and have at it. These feral children are a special treat at the electronic keyboard display.

4. Free Food! Some people spend the morning going from free-sample station to free-sample station bulking up on whatever Costco is trying to get rid of. Don’t worry about what to do with that little paper rice pudding cup and plastic spoon if you’ve finished the pudding on the way to the next free sample station. Just leave your trash on one of the shelves. No one will notice.

6. Garment Plundering. Sure lady, pick up a sweatshirt, unfold it, hold it up to your blimp-like body with boobs like ‘55 Buick bumperettes, and when it doesn’t appear to fit (surprise, surprise), don’t bother re-folding it. Just toss it on a pile and unfold another. Repeat this process until you satisfy yourself that Costco does not stock circus tent sized sweatshirts.

7. Book Plundering. This lady must have studied under the sweatshirt lady. Pick up a book from one of the stacks, take a quick look, and if you don’t like it (maybe it didn’t contain enough pictures), don’t replace it. Just toss it.

8. Parking Lot Blockades. During your family outing to Costco (see above), be sure to spread out in the parking lot when strolling to and from the store at a snail’s pace, thereby ensuring that cars cannot pass your pack, herd, pride, pod, or whatever the hell you call it. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors. We’ll all just wait until you get to your destination.


I had a swell time.

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