Thank You For Your Service, Huh, Yeah, Right...
By Jack Perry
You know, I’ll tell you a secret. I used to be very depressed over the whole state of affairs in this country. Then one day, it came to me that it’s all just a grand illusion. None of it is actual reality. Therefore, one should laugh at it and also laugh at the clowns taking this all seriously. As if voting in Flookey McPheerson is going to actually make a bit of difference in the grand scheme of things. Once we have President McPheerson, he will start wars, of course. And real people will die in them. Lots of people will die in them. Why? Because they enlisted believing in the illusion. That it was REAL and America was a real place governed by laws, concerned with righteousness and justice. Huh. I made that mistake once and got assigned to the purgatory of the 101st Airborne for my sins.
People say, “Thank you for your service…” but won’t make good on that because I don’t eat the correct trendy mountainous shrubs, drink coffee made with exotic-cat defecated beans, and ride the coolest bicycle made from alloys pioneered by the United States government. Thank me for my service…hmmm…I’d rather have that time back and I’ll give them back the awards sitting in a box full of other useless junk. If I can find the box under boxes of other forgotten crap I’ve also forgotten to take the plunge and throw away. People now think dogtags are cool. They’ve become jewelry they sell at the mall! Hey people, those were issued to identify the body! Or what might be left of it, if anything! Hel-LO!!! That’s why you had to list religion on them, so they knew whose prayers went with what dead body so they could match them up. The army is all about things matching. Especially funding from the Department of Defense matching their imperial ambitions which they won’t admit to on this side of the Rubicon, er, Potomac. Yes, and they’re made of a very high grade of stainless steel. I wish I could find kitchen cutlery made of that steel. Then they wouldn’t stain the sink. But the dogtag needs to not corrode during decomposition, see. That’s a world of difference from onion juice. Amazing things, and now they’ve become fad jewelry. It’s the same as wearing a coroner’s toe tag, you dolts!!!
If people really knew that a day of walking in your garden in quiet contemplation would do more for you than a year in the service of this regime, nobody would enlist. From time to time, I run across people who think these were the best days of their lives. I feel sorry for them. I learned a lot, but not what the army taught me. (Though what they taught me several years and a lot of meditation to unlearn.) The army knows this because several anti-war folks have sprung from the loins of the military. So they’d always search the barracks and made notes of who was reading what. I left anti-war books for them to find, getting into the spirit of the Cold War we were willing to lose men in horrifying training accidents to show the Russkies whose choppers crash better. What? You wanted a safe helicopter to fly in?! What, you think this is Air Force One?! Get on there, soldier! They asked, “Where did you get these books?” From the post library on the base here. “What?! We better check that out. Library procurement will have a lot to answer for!” They never asked if I read them so I never volunteered that information. Never volunteer—lesson numero uno in the army. You already made that epic mistake and that’s why you’re there in the first place repeating the mantra of, “If only, If only, If only…” Yes, if only you’d hung up the phone when the recruiter called. The recruiter invites you to lunch at some fast-food burger joint, or they did back in the day. Yeah, the free lunch that costs you a fortune. It’s like volunteering to be meshuggeneh, I tell you. No, wait, it IS volunteering to be meshuggeneh. Trust me on that one.
It took a lot of time and travel to start erasing the vestigial tail issued by the United States Army. The throwback gene to our reptilian ancestors, if that be true. If not, the army deems it to be true and plans accordingly. “Tail, Reptile-Type, One Each! Place it into your duffel bags and hold up your hand assembly group! Come on, hurry up, get your heads out of your duffelbags!” So, what goes in the duffelbag, the tail or the head or both? Ah! This is the United States Army! The head goes elsewhere! Feh! I wouldn’t take a million dollars for the experience, but I wouldn’t pay a nickel for it, either. Wait, I’d rather have the million dollars. I’ve paid far, far more than a nickel thanks to the army.
Look, kids, the United States government spends a lot of money to convince you that the military is a swell place. Hey, after basic training and AIT, it’s just like a 9 to 5 job! There’s college money, maybe bonus money! How did they do this back in the day? “I Want YOU To Be A Mamluk!” You go in there and you think you’re being such a great patriot. A True Believer. Everyone’s in awe, they put your picture in the paper and all that. Yeah, well, the obituaries put peoples’ pictures in the paper, too. You don’t see people clamoring for that publicity. Read how they did it in the First World War, a war so great they called it the Great War at first and so great it spawned a sequel just a couple decades later. They got everyone hopped up on patriotism which, if it were a controlled substance, would be right up there with heroin and cocaine. The reality? Human wave assaults against machine guns. Millions of dead. Skeletons are still turning up after heavy rains. The first use of chemical weapons. Gee, the bug spray works so well against the ants in the house, maybe we should try it on soldiers! And they did. This show must go on! It has passed into being a mini-series! They have to keep bringing in new characters as the original ones get killed off. That’s where you come in, kid.
So it must all be laughed at. This great time I’m told I had, to be proud of my country and my veteran status. Proud? Of what? Having been an accomplice of this racket? Where’s that nickel? I’ll trade it for that million dollars and mail my awards to the Pentagon with instructions on where they can stash them.