For the few that are unaware, I have been to Iraq four times. I don’t say that as a badge of honor or some kind of accomplishment because it really isn’t an accomplishment, it is essentially the results of either good decisions or bad decisions that I have made in my life.

Initially I joined the military because I was in a marriage that I was not happy with and I projected out the future and it looked bleak. I joined in July of 2001. I subsequently was in basic training on September 11th, 2001.

In 2003 I was sent to Iraq; twice. Once at the beginning of the year and than again towards the end of the year. I finally got out of the Army (or so I thought), in 2005. In 2007 I was called back in via a strange loophole that somehow forced me into the US Army reserves and I was sent to Iraq again.

I returned from Iraq (number 3) in 2008 and than in 2011 I joined a contracting company and went to Iraq for the fourth time.

Now onto the bigger point.


During my last deployment I worked night shift. I would spend hours in the middle of a large office listening to the nonsense bickering of a few people. I would normally let them ramble on because it kept me awake. On my time off I would watch clips on youtube or buy bootleg movies. On occasion the internet would carry enough signal to stream television shows off of hulu or netflix. Although, for the most part those sites were blocked.

The sleeping arrangements were a bit odd as we were issued rooms in large trailers with a shared bathroom. While we had our own rooms it was comparable to a small bedroom size. I had a desk, a chair, a wall locker and a bed. My only entertainment was my computer and kindle.

The smell that brings me back to my deployment (number 4) was the putrid odor of human feces being pumped out of the large bins. The smell was completely unique and stomach turning.

On occasion I think about the nine months that I spent on my last deployment. I think about how for about an hour a day I would find happiness in a book or while watching a television show.

On a particularly sad day I sauntered over to my room (trailer) with a gloomy almost suicidal weight on my shoulders. I searched for something/ anything to make me happy. I searched through all of my books and all of my bootleg dvds. I needed something to pull me out of the state I was in. I needed the burden of my life to be released. I just wanted to be away from everything. When I finally found something to watch I hoped that it would pull me out of the dark cloud and it did. This video made me forget about the feces smell and my bum knee. It made me feel like I could keep going. I know it is silly but for one brief three minute window there was no Iraq and I was whole again.

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