Today is Veteran's Day. Go find some veterans and hug them, but try not to do it in a creepy way - you're supposed to be thanking them.
Normally I would write a post that just said thank you, or list out the people in my life who have served their country, or something along those lines. This year I've decide to give everyone a gift. Below is a true story as told by my amazing and beautiful friend Erin, who is a veteran of the U.S. Army and who is also super awesome. Thanks to all the veterans everywhere!
The Bird Story
I joined the Army on September 10, 2001 because I have magnificent timing. "What could go wrong?" Yep. Anyway, I became an Engineer in the Army and ended up getting stationed in Germany. Incidentally, I was the only female engineer in my company for nine months straight. Please remind me in the future to tell you about the initial hilarity/eventual nightmare that this entailed.
I got to Germany right about the time when George W. was busy pissing off all of Europe with his stupid WMD bullshit about Iraq-- he *especially* had pissed off the French and the German people. Fantastic. We were not very welcome in Germany. I remember being on Guard Duty (standing at the entrance of the base, fully armed and prepared to blow away anybody who posed a threat) and an elderly German man rode past on his bicycle, giving me the finger and yelling, "Go back to your own country!" I completely agreed with him. Anyway, bad things started to happen-- people yelling at us on the street, bar fights and eventually a stabbing at the local pub. We were put on Base Restriction for our own protection.
There were exactly four things to do on base: go to the movies, rent movies, bowl and get drunk. Usually, the first three activities involved the fourth.
One night, after going bowling (while drinking), coming back to the barracks and watching a movie with some friends (while drinking) and then finally settling in alone in my room (while drinking), I decided that I was not quite drunk enough. Mind you, in the course of four hours, I had consumed three giant German beers and one... it's not a pint, and it's not a fifth-- it's the one in between-- let's call it a fish bowl-- so, I had consumed three giant German beers and one fishbowl of tequila. But I wasn't drunk enough, so I went to the base liquor store and bought another fish bowl of tequila, went back to my room and popped in another movie. I got about halfway through my second fish bowl and... I started to not feel so good.
Are you familiar with the stage of inebriation when you know you're going to be sick but you *really* think that you can prevent it from happening? This stage usually involves food.
It was around one in the morning at this point and everything on base was closed. The only food I had in my room: bread and peanut butter. Score. Peanut butter sandwiches. I made myself a stack of peanut butter sandwiches, maybe 5 or 6 of them, and started happily munching away at them. Halfway into the second sandwich, I realized that I did indeed feel better...but I was so thirsty from the peanut butter. I didn't feel like going *all the way* down the hall to get some water, and after all, I had that half-bottle of tequila sitting right there next to me, and I *was* feeling better, soooo... I washed all 5 or 6 sandwiches down with the rest of that bottle of tequila.
Strangely enough, shortly after, I started to feel not so good again. And again, I thought I could fix the problem. "I'm just hot. I should take my clothes off." So I did, and that helped a little, but I was still not feeling so good. "The window," I thought, "I need to open the window." And I did. These were old Nazi barracks (I'm not kidding, seriously, they used to be Nazi barracks), and they had the giant windows that went all the way to the ceiling. So, three in the morning, wintertime in Germany, I am naked, relishing the cold winter air on my naked body. After a minute, I felt okay and I left the window open and slipped into bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow, the room started spinning out of control and I shot right back up, stumbled over to the open window and proceeded to vomit for what seemed like an eternity. Remember, I'm 5'7" and weigh all of 120 pounds and I've consumed three giant beers, two fish bowls of tequila and 5 or 6 peanut butter sandwiches, all of which were brewing in my stomach the whole night. Drunk as I was, I can still remember thinking-- as I was puking-- "Jesus, this is taking FOREVER." At some point, I stopped and made it back to bed.
I woke up the next morning cold and confused. "It's freezing in here! Why is the window open? Why am I naked? What did I DO last night?" It all came back to me when I went to close the window and saw that I had not *quite* cleared the ledge all the way while I was puking my guts out the night before, as there was a huge, frozen mound of tequila/peanut butter sandwich vomit right outside my window. Fuck. Me.
One of the many things that blow about the military is something called Base Inspection, and this usually involves the Commander of the base strolling around and seeing what's fucked up. It can happen at any time. Knowing this, I went outside to see what the damage looked like from the ground. This is when I discovered the 15-foot long puke-cicle stretching from my window to the ground along the side of the building, with another little frozen mound of puke at the bottom. "I'm too hung-over for this. I'll deal with this tomorrow and hope for the best."
There was no inspection that day, thank goodness.
The next morning, I woke up unpleasantly early to sound of 10,000 birds chirping right outside my window. "What the fuck!" I opened my curtains to find that the puke mound was gone, and all sorts of birds were hanging out on my ledge, pecking away at what was left of it. "That's disgusting." I immediately went outside to see what was still left on the side of the building, and holy shit, it was ALL gone. All of it, the mound on my ledge, the puke-cicle, the mound on the ground, all of it. "Oh my god, thank goodness, I really didn't want to clean that up. But that's fucking disgusting." Relieved, I went back inside and didn't think much of it again.
Yes, at least not for a day or two when I started seeing dead birds around base. And not just one or two, but a whole mess of them. The first dead bird: "Aww, a dead bird." The second: "Huh, that's weird, I just saw a dead bird." The third: "What's with all the dead birds?" The fourth, fifth and so on and so on... "Wait a minute. Oh, fuck." I finally realized that all the dead birds on base were right next to buildings. I looked up at some point and that's when I discovered what clearly appeared to be a bird splat mark on one of the building windows. The birds, who were completely shitfaced on my tequila vomit, were drunkenly flying into windows and accidentally killing themselves.
I never harmed a single human being when I served. But I think I killed a shit-ton of birds.
In conclusion, birds are gross.