My Beautiful Wickedness


By all means…

block their pain. But it would be REALLY good if you could quit putting them in situations where people keep blowing them up.

I don’t know that anyone in the reading audience knows exactly what being blown up does to a human body. I do. My father’s leg was blown off in an industrial accident — a long and harrowing story which I might tell sometime — in an explosion very similar to what you’d get if you stepped on an IED or a pop-mine. The force of the explosion perforates both of your eardrums immediately. You cannot hear what anyone around you is screaming. The pain is incredible. Your foot has vaporized off your leg. Your tibia looks like something a dog chewed. You are bleeding copiously out the ragged hole that is now the bottom of your body; you’ll need a tourniquet within the next minute or you will lose conciousness. You are burned and your clothing is still on fire. The impact of the blast has driven dirt, rock, and metal deep under your skin, cutting you everywhere so that the blood seeps under your skin; this crap will be working its way out of your body for the next two decades and some of it you will carry trapped in your joints for the rest of your life. You’ve been mostly blinded by the shrapnel. You’re double concussed — once as you were propelled upward with the force of the explosion, and once from slamming into the ground as you fell to earth. You’re choking from the dust and the smoke of the blast. You’re vomiting because you can’t breathe, because you’ve looked down. It’s a moment that separates everything before from everything after.

This is what has happened at least 25,000 times to American soldiers in Iraq. These guys. These women. Let their bodies tell you the story of what they’ve seen, what they are being asked to do on our behalf. Can you keep asking this? If you can’t, then what the hell are you doing to stop it?

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