You know, when I heard a guy from my high school had joined the Marines shortly after September 11th, I was stunned, and I didn’t believe it, especially because of the guy. One of the goofiest, silliest guys in school, I don’t think he ever fought with anyone in his life, joined the fucking Marines.

I don’t know him that well, so I don’t know why, although it’s come down the grapevine that he was apparently having trouble with school a couple years ago and was looking for direction. I’ll bet he didn’t think he was going to be directed to Iraq, but things never turn out the way you plan.

I was emailed a picture of him this afternoon, clean shaven and looking about five years younger than when last I saw him (he now actually looks younger than he is), and standing next to what appears to be a deuce-and-a-half truck somewhere in the desert.

I learned from the LA Times that he’s now a Lance Corporal, and I learned from his dad’s letter to the Washington Post that he’s now actually in Iraq.

This is just so fucked up and bizarre I can’t comprehend it. I should be able to, because most of the people fighting this war are my age or a couple years younger, but he’s the only person I know of from my high school who’s over there.

Granted, I went to a rich, snotty private school in ultra-liberal DC, and that’s probably a huge part of why I don’t know too many people who joined the military, let alone got shipped over to Iraq.

The other closest person I know in the military right now is my housekeeper/nanny’s son Alex, who’s still in South Carolina because he’s an instructor in aircraft maintenence, and teaches hundreds of Marines a month how to fix shit when it breaks.

Nivia, his mom, was like a second mother to me for a long, long time, and I know how worried she gets about him. I remember how pissed she got at him when he lied and said he got shipped to San Diego for a month, when in fact he got shipped to Bosnia.

Ugh. Just when I thought I was juuuuuuust conflicted enough about this entire goddamn mess, there come these little reminders that make this shit really hit home.

I fight the urge to bury my head in the sand until this war is all over every day, because the fact that I want to ignore it this badly means it is something I simply cannot ignore. But some days, I really have to fight.

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