“You wouldn’t know what you would do if…”

Oh, that fun old phrase. I have heard it many times over the years.

Yes, I have been accused of being a know it all. I do not know it all, but given my background and essentially having five parents form a variety of backgrounds I have had a wonderful sampling of experiences. Some experiences have been great, others not so much.

For today’s tale from Griz involves that phrase used in the title of the post. I think part of it was mentioned in the post about Trigger Warning and PTSD.

“You wouldn’t know what you would do if someone shoved a gun in your face.”

That one is quite presumptuous. Many of us roaming around are veterans. The less fortunate have been combat vets and had to deal with this situation more times than you would want to know. [Free tip of the day form a vet to a civilian: Never, and I mean NEVER ask a vet if they have killed anyone. Little kids get a pass, but will likely get a kind request to never ask that question in the future.]

In my case, I am quite fortunate. I am a combat era vet, but not a combat vet. A combat vet is pretty obvious, they saw action. A combat era vet served while there was combat action, but they were not part of it. I was discharged as Gulf I was spinning up and due to a service connected injury so I was spared what my brothers and sisters in arms endured.

Now The first time that I had a pistol thrust in my face, my reaction was a bit different than the next time it happened. I had just turned the ripe age of 15. Now my step dad had this idea to no longer be a renter, be a home owner. Well the home, was full sized conventional school bus. The joke at the time was that my room would be a trailer, and when I turned 18, he would just pull the pin and I was to hope that we were parked at the time.

If you have ever been in an older bus, you may know how the door gets opened. There is a handle reach from the driver’s seat with a long rod that connects to the door. When it is pulled closed, it snaps over a small hump to be a lock. Now, if you want to open the door from the outside, you do a CPR style thrust to the screws where the rod attaches to the door. Sometimes it may take a few thrusts to get that handle to pop over.

I was about to move to Maryland with my Dad and step mother so I was having some farewell gatherings and was staying out late as it was July with great weather. When I got “home” that night, I was struggling with the lock. Then all of a sudden I got it. the door popped. Only it wasn’t me that opened the door it was my step-father. All I was was the muzzle of his Colt 1911 staring right in the middle of my face. Yes folks, it was pretty much the way that you see it depicted in the movies. That barrel sure looks HUGE! The teachings of my youth kicked in. Freeze, keep hands in view, and be calm. It only took a moment for me to be recognized and allowed in.

Once you face the one eyed stare and lived to tell the tale, it is easier the next time. For this I have to fast forward to 1989 when I was a whole 22 years old and in uniform. Like many of the enlisted men at Fort Benning (As it was called then) I went to the enlisted club on Main Post to drink and enjoy the music. At that time that music was accompanied by scantily clad young ladies (well then they were my age and a little older. As I look back, YOUNG, but legal ladies) and they had less on as the music continued. I have always carried the bouncer mentality and tended to befriend the DJs and dancers always happy to watch over them.

On this particular evening the DJ and his girlfriend had a bit of a tiff. She stormed out and the DJ was stuck in the booth. I had given her a couple of moments, then followed to check on her. After looking for a few minutes I saw her in the passenger seat of a pickup. I walked over and opened the door and was starting to ask her if she was okay. I think the conversation started off like “Are y… [sound of a round being chambered into a .45]” Only this time, I did not freeze in place, like I was taught to do. Now I holding onto more refreshed instructions and reactions. I simply rapidly reached over jammed the webbing between my thumb and forefinger between the hammer and the slide, then closed my grip over the weapon, disarming the prick who dared draw on me. Yes, had he had the balls to pull the trigger I would have had a hell of a blood blister. If he had balls AND reflexes, I could have been dead. Having “his” pistol in my possession, I finished my sentence. “Are you okay?” she said she was so I closed the discussion with throwing the pistol back at fucktard, telling him that if he ever came near me I would kill him without question. At that, he started the truck and flew out of there like his ass was on fire.

Sad thing for him was that a pen and notepad is part of your uniform. That make it cake to grab the license plate as he fled. Another thing that did not make his night is that the MPs are always roaming around the enlisted/NCO clubs since we tend to get drunk and rowdy. It you are one of my more regular readers, you have already connected the dots. The MPs rolled in and I had a chat with them about my all to recent encounter. I decided that I had had enough fun for the evening so I am a couple buddies rolled to his off post trailer. When we got their we got a call from the MPs. PFC (maybe he was a sergeant) Titus has a suspect that they needed me to come to identify. Okay, cool, I am on my way. I stroll in, PFC Titus leads me to a window and low and behold there is a very dejected and upset fuckwad and as a bonus a co-fuckwad.

It turns out that the fuckwad twins were medical holdovers like myself. Just waiting for their discharge orders to go home. Here’s the difference, I was just doing some drinking and doing my duty during duty hours. These guys were caught, on post, drunk, DUI, and in possession of not just loaded firearms, but a bunch of stolen parachute gear and other military property that they were not supposed to have.

If you are familiar with the military justice system, it is fairly different than the civilian system. We are property and get treated differently. They very likely turned their almost out status into convicted felons serving time doing hard labor (I was told that at Fort Benning, hard labor mean pretty much splitting wood form sun up to sun down with meal breaks. Maybe it is true, maybe it isn’t. I would like to hear form some with a definitive answer to know.) then when their sentences were over, they would be given dishonorable discharges before they could head for home with their tails tucked between their legs.

To this day I have not had to stare down another muzzle unless it was one that I owned and was cleaning or inspecting.

I did once face a drunk man with two knives. That was a fun New Year’s Eve. Long story short, I was bouncing for a roommate at her bar. Dude was too drunk and got belligerent so she tossed him. He did not think that a woman had the right to stop a man from drinking. Now, she COULD have dealt with him, but I stepped in (sorry ladies… at least now I wait to see if you want me to step in, or if YOU want the fun of dealing with these assholes.) and he pulled the two kitchen knives. I did an outside crescent kick taking one knife from him while shaving a layer of two from my combat boot. That pissed me off later as I had hours of spit shining on those boots. Estúpido borracho retreats to his car and it starting it up. I on the other hand and now wound up tight. I spotted a section of pipe and proceeded to go to town on tonto borracho’s car. That window was TOAST and he tore off out of the parking lot, but not before hit me with his car. I saw the hit coming and jumped up to reduce the impact. I bound off the windshield and rolled off the side. Jackalope was playing pinball from car to car for who know how many blocks before the cops got him. I spent the stoke of midnight that new year in the ER at Bethesda Naval Medical Center getting glass picked from my scalp and making sure that nothing else was damaged.

So yeah, for many of life’s adventures I do happen to fucking well know how I would react. Next time you are tempted to ask a stupid question, rethink about it. Think about the odds and probabilities that you will not like the answer or it may make you look the fool.

Trigger Warning… PTSD

That phrase in an email at work caused me to have to have a friendly discussion with my boss. I will not go into that discussion beyond the fact that my use of the phase was known to be in a sense of humor.

The other party felt that it was offensive.

Okay, so are you so fucking self absorbed that your (I am assuming that it was their) feelings that felt infringed upon?

I have sat on this for a bit now and in some ways it has been brewing and stewing. It has visited me while I was going to sleep, or even waking up.

Should it bother me? Prebaby not, but it does.

I have to wonder if they are laying claim to the PTSD as they have experienced something in their lifetime. If they have experienced something, I hope that they heal from it.

But to deny me the use of the phrase Trigger Warning… or PTSD?

You can fuck right the hell off.

Do I have PTSD? damn right I do.

Lets touch on some of my past lives and areas where a little PTSD may be in order, so if you are tender of heart and not up for real feelings, please head to https://www.disney.com right now.

Trigger Warning…

I was a latchkey kid starting at 2nd grade. Yes, I know today it would be considered a shame for a child to wake, shower, dress, and feed themselves… it would be criminal for them to be allowed to hop on their bike (without a helmet even) and ride to school.

After school I would ride/walk home then have to entertain myself until 5-6pm when my father would get home. I really wish that he would take my calls so that I could express to him how sorry that I am that I was not a better kid, teen, or even early adult. I did not become a really good person until after he stopped taking my calls. I may cover that more later.

Trigger Warning…

While riding my bike one day, I was outriding bullies, I had a steep hill to get away, but it was not an easy ride down. I ended up hitting a rock and tumbling. I hit my head in the process and going unconscious. I have no idea how long I was out. When I came back to the real world, I walked my bike down Stark Street (for the non-local, just know that it is a major throughfare in Portland Oregon) and I passed a high school girl who looked at me and almost lost her lunch. I got back home and found out why, Most of my hair was matted blood. I probably told my dad about it when he got home. I was already cleaned up by then. It was not the first (or last) time that I patched myself up.

Trigger Warning…

One may get a little PTSD from getting into arguments to the nose to nose level with an outlaw biker step dad. Yes there was yelling… yes there was screaming… but once I stopped running form bullies and actually taking a stand and beating the fuck out of them for fun, I stopped backing down. I even got into one fight because another kid asked “Fuck you, wanna fight” Game on! But that is a story for another post. My mother quickly saw the writing on the wall, I was no longer interested in her or I being abused any further and that since a 15 year old was literacy nose to nose with a 50+ year old biker and not showing fear, I had to be extricated form the situation. {sorry sis, i know that we really have not talked about some of my baggage with your dad.]

Trigger Warning…

That same 15 year old trying to get into the bus that had been converted into a home… to unlock the door of an old bus, you do a CPR trust to pop the lock on the door release. Well I was having trouble that night. Then the door opened and I got to have my first stare down the barrel of a Colt 1911 .45ACP. Yes, it is an attention getter. Did I lose sleep over it? Nope, but it was only a day or two before I moved to the East Coast and started a new life. It was the last direct abuse that I endured from him.

Trigger Warning…

Before I went into the Army I was homeless for a short minute (after a serious of poor decisions/action so don’t think I am proclaiming innocence here). When my folks found out, They took me back in while I was waiting to ship to Fort Benning Georgia. I learned some things during that stint, but it was a mild lesson.

Trigger Warnings (multiple)…

While I was in basic training, I blew out one of my knees and was pulled from training. At first it was all oh poor your here, take some worthless pain pills and drive on private. When that did not work, they threatened to recycle me. (For my civilian friends, that means to start me from day one again) Well, that did not help me heal either. I know it is a damn shock isn’t it? So They put me in physical therapy for a while. Then I had a brand new doctor (I knew from her rank) tell me… “You know private, these injuries usually get better when you get home.” Inside I was livid and I wanted to yell “BITCH, I was fuckin homeless when I came into the Army, what makes you think that I want to go back?” Remember, I was not the kinder, and gentler Griz that you may now how yet… I was able to civilly tell her that I did not want out of the army as I had no place else to go. She then took my crutches away and kicked me out of physical therapy. As you can imaging, that also did not heal me, physically or mentally. The hobbling around blew out my other knee. I was pulled form training entirely and did desk duty in the office. Ultimately, they did a bone scan (another story for another day) and told me, “Private, Uncle Sam broke his new toy, and I am afraid that you will likely never walk straight again”. That took me to a very dark place and I started sketching things that my platoon mates noticed and reported to a drill sergeant. Next thing I now, I am having an appointment with a doc across the street to discuss my suicidal ideations. A month or two after that, I noticed that I was getting a weird vibe from the drill sergeants and officers around me and is was SUPER WEIRD. Then the Senior Drill called me over and told me to get in a vehicle. Odd, I have not been taken for a ride unless it was in the back of a deuce and a half (big truck folks). I was taken to Main Post, to the CID office. CID stands for Criminal Investigation Division. For you NCIS TV show fans, this is a Army version. It turned out that there was a guy back home that wanted to date my high school sweetheart who had broken up with me a couple years earlier… but He seemed to feel that I was in the way. How would I be cleared from his path to courtship? Well call the Battalion and claim that I was selling drugs in the company, not just little stuff either. apparently they thought that I was dealing cocaine. He was going to mail them the evidence that I was mailing it to his “girlfriend” Now I start studying law (as a hobbyist, in 8th grade (yes another story for another day)) I knew that it would mean nothing as the chain of evidence would be shit and any attorney could get that tossed, even if I represented myself, I could have. For the record, to that point of my life, I had never seen coke, let along taken or sold it. As of today, I have seen it, in other people’s possession, but I have not touched, handled, or consumed it in any way shape or form. My DD-214 friends know that this mere accusation ended my time in the service. There was a female agent in the room and I (even today) took my Military Customs and Courtesies class seriously. I am careful with my words in mixed company, unless I know that that company is okay with the words. I did have a few vehement slips in courtesies as I told him that his case was full of shit and that there was no evidence as I had done nothing of the kind. When I was discharged form the Army the following Monday, I called my ex to let her know that I would be heading back to town soon. She already knew that I was discharged and in fact the guy that was accusing me of crimes, told her before I had received my orders that I was being discharged and when. As a postal worker, how would he have known. So after a few weeks staying near Benning with friends, I headed back to Maryland. My ex let me stay in her guest room.

Trigger Warning…

After another bad decision, I moved out of her home to the streets, more specifically into a large park. Winter came quickly, and if you know Maryland, that is often not a pleasant thing it get damn cold, bitter to the bone cold. More bad decisions, but… I broke into a home nearby and stole camping gear, food, and wine. I was finding warm places to sleep when things were bad. I would sneak into a laundry room in an apartment complex and sack out behind the driers because they were warm. Sleep with women simply for a shower. I did get a job, buy could not earn enough to get out of the woods. I got “home” one night to find out that my entire campsite was gone. both tents and all of my belongings poof. I got caught sleeping in a room among the tunnels under the mall that I was working in. It turns out that I snore SOOOO badly that it can scare people (who knew?!?). My boss connected me with one of the food court staffers who rented rooms and I moved over there. It was pretty soon when the police that had seized my camp connected all of my uniforms, discharge papers, and medical records to my new job. They came to have a chat with me, and once again, I got to go for a ride. This ride resulted in cuffs, prints, and pictures. I may have to tell that story again for you later on.

I will skip a bunch of other trigger warnings for tonight

Trigger Warning…

Did you know that if you spend enough years in call centers taking many mean and angry callers that you can get a form of Tourette’s? When my phone rings I (and many other colleagues) reflexively curse. I have silenced my phone and it stayed silenced for years. It wasn’t until I wanted to be sure that I did not miss my current boss’ calls that I made changes to my phones settings. When he calls it now plays the Darth Vader March. It is not me being mean, it was his suggestion as I love him dearly. He has been the best boss in my many careers and I would walk over coals for him. When he retires, I will cry…

Trigger warning…

I am so pro-choice that I do not judge those that choose to end their own life. I have contemplated it many times.

Trigger Warning…

So if you think that you get to monopolize the phrases Trigger Warning or PTSD, you are likely a sadly mistaken millennial who has no fuckin’ clue as to what PTSD is really about. Have your life situations been as bad as what I have shared with you tonight? (I deeply hope not) I even held some things still within my mind and other elements I have discussed with nobody and never will.

Trigger Warning… PTSD Trigger Warning… PTSD Trigger Warning… PTSD Trigger Warning… PTSD