originally published in Arthur Magazine No. 21 (March 2006)
Trust the Government
by David Reeves
I know your career isn’t going so good right now because it takes a great artist time to get his game together enough to overthrow the dominant bladdy blah…but face it, you’re unemployed.
Join the Army. I’m serious. It would totally legitimize you, your art and your tattooes. You love shitty dive bars, “found art” and thrift stores. Army bases have all of that in spades.
If you rank as one of hardened hipsters who are unafraid to waltz the avenue of Echo Park, where at least three gangsters have been gunned down in the last month then, please, for the sake of freedom, get down to the recruiter and join now before the big rush.
With the cost of gas, outsourcing and downsizing, economic conscription isn’t just for Mexicans anymore. Our great country has been mismanaging the current “White Man’s Burden” by sending the high school football squad instead of the best of the breed.
Which is why the Iraqis are so pissed off. They were expecting the Americans from the “OC” television show to liberate them. When the real teens of Orange County showed up blaring Pantera and sneaking peeks at the ankles of their women, they felt duped.
It’s a sensitivity issue and obviously Oprah is too busy to get involved so, now more than ever, America needs those coffeehouse radicals who were brave enough to gentrify Brooklyn into Williamsburg.
We need graffiti artists to go in and spray a piece so fresh that the enemies of freedom wouldn’t want to write any political shit over it. We need hardened art school vets to infiltrate Iraq and drink lattes until Sadr City is a gay neighborhood.
Now more than ever, Iraq needs competent deejays to get in there with gross of ecstacy and a case of glow sticks to rave those squares out of their veils and into the 21st century. Those Hajis still think the “Electric Slide” is just that thing interrogators keep jamming in their ass.
Don’t worry about getting killed or anything. Major combat operations have been over for over a year. When we captured Hussein everyone in the insurgency fell over dead, just like how all the Nazis died out when Hitler killed himself.
The bad news is the military piss tests for weed. The good news is there is no test for alcohol, crack and LSD, and military medics are known to hand out speed like candy.
Faced with this career choice the first question you need to ask is which armed service has the right slogan for you.
Army-“Good Enough for Government Work.”
Navy-“Years and Years of Piers and Beers.”
Air Force- “College Without Drugs.”
Marines-“First to Go, Last to Know!”
(Inside sources say, “Don’t ask and don’t tell why the Navy has the best chow of all the armed forces.”)
When you are negotiating your deal with the recruiter, be sure to hold out for a post at the front so you can collect the extra 225 dollars a month in combat pay, plus a cool ribbon or pin. Reflect on how a combat veteran like President Kerry commands respect from all true patriots.
Imagine yourself hauling 9,000 gallons of high test gas out of Basra on the Hiway of Death where Iraqis hand out “body mods” for free every day. How much more sexy can suicide get, girls?
The Army understands if you got kids or a job or are a little chickenshit. The least you can do is join the Reserves, because the Reserves are kept in the US for unlikely events such as sports/race riots, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and/or coup attempts.
After you do your six weeks of basic training, the obligation to the Reserves is a just weekend a month for two years, which is literally the least you can do to pay for a room in the fortress of “Enduring Freedom.”
Basic training won’t be any harder than Advanced Pilates. The food sucks, the coffee is instant and you will have to listen to many a cliché, but at the end you will be an American soldier able to deal infinite justice or freedom from the barrel of your M-4.
Furthermore, upon completing your obligation to the U.S Army you will be eligible to collect triple pay as a mercenary at one of our Blackwater Securities outposts in places like sunny Falloujah, where contractors bill without oversight. The slogan for the private sector is: “Licence to Kill, Mintin’ Money at Will.”
Nowadays duty in Iraq has been reduced to a routine of bomb and feed, listening to Iraqis bitch about if we can put a man on the moon why can’t we fix the plumbing or how is it we have enough electricity to shock confessions out of people but not enough to light their homes. Well, the Iraqi people should have thought of all that shit before they bombed the buildings and took the oil.
If you get confused about the mission just remember that Arabs are like American Indians were before they got so heavy into gambling: heathen wife-beaters with crazy names and allegiances that we’ll never be able to understand (unless we get some interpreters).
The only thing that could ever unify Arabs would be a common enemy. No country would ever be stupid enough to pick on every Arab country at once, considering that Pakistan has a bomb. The light at the end of the Arab unification tunnel is so bright that those who witness it will be cooked back to atoms. Doubters of this scenario should remember the car bomb is a poor man’s nuclear bomb, and this particular poor man gets richer with every gallon of gas burned.
Another benefit of soldiering is that when the Arabs set off the Big Car Boom it will be against “soft” (civilian) targets. Ask any general and he’ll tell you that the street value of a civilian life is approximately nothing.
The Military Industrial Duplex is a proven performer, breaking growth records consistently for the last 50 years. I was about to join up myself but once I did the math I realized that the bonus for getting killed is only $12,000, and I owe twentysomething thousand for college. Chalk it up as another reason it sucks that I have only one life to live for my country.
So, don’t be ashamed that you waited until after Mission Accomplished to jump on the bandwagon for the Big Win at the End. There’s still precious time to get in on the top floor on the towering twin opportunities of combat and mercenary work because it’s bound to be War as Business as Usual for the rest of days.
Last but not least, the army is the best place to learn to work American weapons, just in case the time comes we have to keep some dictator asshole and his buddies from running this great nation into the ground.