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What's in a Name?


I apologize if some of you received this more than once. The internet here is always patchy at best and I might've had a little moment of mental distress while trying to send.

Man, are you guys ever lucky. I don't think I've ever generated this much stuff in so short a time. It should be make sense, even if I've had little time to sleep. My mind does race often so I've gotta put those thoughts to paper as soon as I can. This update shouldn't be as offensive, but as usual, there's a warning when necessary.

Your comments and feedback are welcome.

What's in a Name

Unlike in the civilian world where people work, shop, play, go to school, mill about, etc in complete anonymity, the vast majority of us in the military have our last names prominently displayed on our chest, over the right shirt pocket to be exact. There are exceptions – some people wear “sterile” uniforms, meaning there are no markings of rank, name or unit affiliation of any kind on display. Some people wear civilian clothes, like me. Well, I thank those regular Joes with their nametags on display for everyone to see. Let me tell you why.

You at the gym, home, work, school, or church know and greet one another by your first names. It’s what we do, our cultural norm, unless of course someone has a title, like Professor, Father, Doctor or Coach. In my civilian job back home I greet people by their first names, if I know them. In the military it’s usually rank and last name. Thankfully I find entertainment in the ridiculous last names with which Soldiers have had to suffer their whole lives. I keep a piece of paper and pen on me at all times to jot down those crazy names – and other random thoughts. Here are a few I’ve noticed.

These are real names of actual people I’ve seen on the FOB. Glasscock – he’s a real toolbag and I don’t mean that in the good sense. He has the face of a ferret and beady eyes (kinda like Frank Burns from M.A.S.H.) and always has this ridiculous look on his mug. People tell me he tries to act like a tough-guy Ranger and wants to be associated with them but in reality, he sits on his ever expanding ass behind a desk and makes bad decisions. Yeah, we “suffered” at the expense of one of those bad decisions. He’s a douche, and it’s so obvious.

The other day I walked into the DFAC and Achilles was doing head count – that’s the thankless task of counting the people who enter. What a noble name for such a mundane chore. No, he wasn’t dressed in some gladiator outfit and didn’t have a sword or spear. He had a crossword puzzle book and by the looks of it wasn’t doing too well. Maybe he should take up sword fighting.

Lieutenant Kirk was a skinny dude with an eager look on his face. I bet he’s anxiously awaiting promotion to Captain. Just imagine – Captain Kirk! Too bad there aren’t any extra Starships in need of a Captain around here. He’s probably in charge of nothing more glamorous than a fleet of dump trucks or shit suckers. What? You’ve never heard of the shit sucker trucks? Allow me to explain.

The shit sucker truck, or SST, is basically a medium size fire truck type vehicle with a huge cylindrical tank in the “cab” of the “pick up” portion, if you will. The tank lays horizontal and is attached to a motor of some kind. There are hoses of various types attached to the tank at different points. The Afghan drivers (and cleaners) go around to all the port-a-johns on base and “suck” the “shit” outta the port-a-john receptacle. Hence, the name. A cleaner uses another hose to spray potable water all over the inside and outside of the port-a-john. It’s very necessary because our locally employed Afghan friends have the most bizarre method of crapping. Remember the squattin description from a previous update? Well, Afghans don’t sit on the toilet seat while doing #2, they climb up on the seat and squat over the hole, which leaves the seats soiled with mud and occasionally crap (Afghans are notoriously bad aimers). There are specific port-a-johns for local nationals, US, etc, but for those can’t even read their own language, you can’t expect them to read ours. I’m so thankful I use a proper latrine building. Afghans are only allowed in to clean. Back to funny names…..

The DFAC is the best place to see people. I’ve seen Butcher & Baker together (but no Candlestick maker); Knight, Day & Weeks; Penny & Nickels; Love, Healer, Grubb, Colon, Poison (no shit – hope he’s not a cook), Threat, Gross (he looks like a vampire ), Peacock, Lavender, Bloom, Musicol, Littlejohn, Chew, a guy with last name Tiffany (poor bastard – ya know he was teased mercilessly as a kid, another guy name Darling – that would suck, Duke, Kiester, Popenfoos, and three of my favorites: Cockey, Sick & Poleskin. Sick had better not be a medic. Cockey is actually a cool guy. And what kinda hell would it be growing up with the name Poleskin?

There was also the time when I sat across from a table of guys, 4 of whom had last names beginning with the letter “Z.” Only in the military! I wonder if they formed an exclusive club or something. A whole new batch of Soldiers just arrived to replace the units which are returning to the states. Don’t worry, I’ll update this section, you can bet on it.

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