Saturday, October 29, 2022

Quote of the Week: I Don't Know But I've Been Told

I was not looking for friendship at Fort Lewis. The people were boors. Trainees and drill sergeants and officers, no difference in kind. In that jungle of robots there could be no hope of finding friendship; no one could understand the brutality of the place. I did not want a friend, that was how it stood in the end. If the savages had captured me, they would not drag me into compatibility with their kind. Laughing and talking of hometowns and drag races and twin-cammed racing engines - all this was for the others. I did not like them, and there was no reason to like them. For the other trainees, it came too easy. They did more than adjust well; they thrived on basic training, thinking they were becoming men, joking at the bullyism, getting the drill sergeants to joke along with them. I held my own, not a whisper more. I hated the trainees even more than the captors. But I hated them all. Passionate, sad, desperate hate. I learned to march, but I learned alone. I gaped at the neat package of stupidity and arrogance at Fort Lewis. I was superior. I made no apologies for believing it. Without sympathy or compassion, I instructed my intellect and eyes: Ignore the horde. I kept vigil against intrusion into my private life. I shunned the herd.

 - Tim O'Brien, If I Die In a Combat Zone, pp.32-33

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