Thursday, September 25, 2008

Somewhere in Vietnam, During the 1960s, a Lizard opened its mouth and said -- "F*ck You!"

Medyo surrealist ang title but I think this best captures the mood of Mark Baker's "Nam" - a collection of wartime stories of the Vietnam War Veterans.

This surely is an engrossing read, given na nasisingit ko ito sa aking readings - and mind you, I have a sh*tload of readings to go through for my term papers.hehe

The stories are brutally honest, giving us a glimpse into quite literally another world. One vet said that Vietnam during the war was "hell on earth." Baker described it as "a brutal Neverland, outside time and space, where little boys didn't have to grow up. They just grew old before their time."

The collected oral testimonies are a mix of the disturbing, explicit, violent, and surprisingly laugh-out-loud funny moments in the lives of the men and women who "endured the unendurable." (pasintabi kay Emperor Hirohito hehe)

Here's my pick of the funniest bits in the book, warning: explicit and/or disturbing content, but still funny though...

The day I flew in, we stayed up in the air watching the whole place get hit. I couldn't believe that was the place I was going. After the mortar attack, I got to my unit and asked to see the captain. They told me he was away from the main area of the camp....I walked out to meet him and take over command. He was dead with his head blown off and his dick in the air. He had been out there masturbating when the mortars hit and got his head blown right off. Stiff as a board with his cock in his hands. -- Granted, medyo morbid ang kwentong ito. pero kakatawa pa rin...blown off while getting ironic...

They always call us men, Marines or troopers. Never boys. But during my first fire fight in Nam, I was giggling. We got pinned down by some VC [VietCong] with an automatic weapon. Our machine gunner opens up. The next thing I hear is, 'Oh boy, I got 'em. Man, did you see his fucking head fly off?' A kid'll do that. Nobody in the unit was over twenty-one.

You try to have fun with things. Ambush was fun. It's supposed to be professional, but it's not.

'Oh boy, here he comes. I got that one.'
'This one is mine.'
'Nah, I got this one. You got the last one.'
'Man, this one's for me. Get your own.'
'He's mine.'
'Is not.'
'Is too.'
'Is not.'

-- Mga bata...kelangang mag-share ha? Learn to take turns killing VCs OK?

This last one's the killer. And I think this story deserves to be told in full, thus:

At night it would scare me. I couldn't see anything. I would sneak out and set up trip flares every night. They would all go off and I would never see a God damn thing.

Then there were the lungfish. There was water all around us and these fish would swim up. Then when the tide would go out, the fish would get caught in puddles in front of my bunker. Lungfish have lungs and they sound like human beings breathing. You'd be laying there trying to sleep, hearing horror-show-monster breathing right in front of you.

One night while it was my turn to be awake, somebody, very clearly and distinctly and right in my ear, said, 'Fuck you.' I knew I was dead. I was grabbing my rifle like one of the Three Stooges in a comedy routine. The only thing I could see was this little lizard six inches long. There was a frozen moment when the lizard blew out its little gills and went, 'Fuck you,' again.

I was waking up the other guys. 'Hey, man, this lizard just told me to go get fucked.' The three of us -- relatively grown men, three old kids, at least -- had a standoff with an ounce-and-a-half lizard. Finally, the little sucker said 'fuck you' for them, too.

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