Who gives a fuck, right?
Well, I’m gonna tell you where I was.
Give a fuck or not.
It was a beautiful cloudless early fall day…one of those fall days where the faint smell of autumn leaves is in the air…bringing thoughts of football games, warm sweaters, bonfires, whisky flasks, and shapely coeds.
But I digress…
At the time, I worked a four-day workweek (nights, as usual), and Tuesdays were my mid-week day off.
My wife and kids were off to school by the time I dragged my sorry ass out of the rack.
My plans for the day were not earth-shattering: Shit, shower, shave, do some yard work at my elderly mother and father’s home on the other side of town, and search for some small parts for my 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle I was in the extremely slow process of restoring.
I never turned on a radio or a TV while preparing for my day.
I hop into my Oldsmobile and immediately pop in a Lynyrd Skynyrd cassette. (I know…a cassette? Lynyrd Skynyrd? An Oldsmobile? Fuck! How old ARE you, grandpa?)
First thing I had to do was fuel my car, so on the way to my parent’s house, I stopped at a truck stop.
It was here that I first sensed that something was awry.
At the pumps, people looked more angry, shitty, and pissed off than usual…but I thought nothing of it at the time.
Inside at the busy cashier’s counter, I detected the same thing.
Nobody was talking.
You could cut the atmosphere with a knife.
Walking out to my car I thought, “Something is up. Something bad has happened. I better eject the Skynyrd tape and listen to the radio.”
No more “Mississippi Kid” for today…
Out on the interstate I hear some shit about planes hitting the World Trade Center buildings. One of the towers has already collapsed. The second tower is expected to fall at any moment.
What. The. Fuck? What kind of asshole flies airliners into skyscrapers? It is an attack. It is war. It is my Pearl Harbor moment.
As soon as I get to my parent’s house, I run in and loudly ask Mom if she’s got the TV on. She replies that she does not.
I tell her, “Turn it on! We’re under attack!”
As soon as her old Philco warms up, we are amazed by what we are seeing.
What. The. Fuck?
Mom doesn’t say such things, but I do.
My father strolled into the house, and I asked him what he thought. I told him I thought it was this generation’s “Pearl Harbor” moment.
I don’t remember Dad’s exact words, but it didn’t seem to me that he was all that shocked and emotional as I was.
“Yeah…that’s really sumpthin,’ isn’t it?”
Maybe it was because he had better things to worry about…like maybe the lung cancer that was killing him. In six months, he would be dead. What the fuck did he care about some shit like Muslim motherfuckers vaporizing Americans wholesale?
He was probably more concerned about his next breath…and I don’t blame him one bit.
Over the next few days, the rage and anger in me rose to stratospheric levels…almost to the point where I could not function normally.
I wanted someone to hate. I wanted someone whose neck I could wrap my hands around and slowly squeeze the life out of.
But who? Nameless, faceless, goat-humping Islamic dickheads without a country. How in the hell do I, or anybody, fight that?
I bought a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag. (I’ve flown it every day since 9/11. It makes me feel better. We all must do our part.)
Went to church that Sunday. It was not a pretty sight. I broke down right there in front of my family, my God, everybody…sobbing…with tears of rage…asking for relief from the hatred that was eating me alive.
Went to my old Marine Corps Reserve unit to ask them if I could re-up to get some payback.
They said, “Thanks, but no thanks, old-timer. This war will be a young man’s game. Try the National Guard.”
At work, I generously suggested to my boss that he should use company funds to erect a flagpole in front of the facility in order to display our patriotism and solidarity and togetherness.
He agreed, and within a week the pole was in place and I was given the honor of being the first to hoist the colors.
I was a big hero. Sorta.
The pole was installed by patriotic workmen who seemingly forgot to use a level.
The pole was crooked. Pretty much.
USA! USA! USA!
All of this reminds me of the national feelings of “patriotism and solidarity and togetherness” of those early days after the 9/11 attacks.
Sure…it lasted…what…three days…a week?
Then it was right back to the politics and finger pointing…enough to make a guy vomit.
A decade has passed.
Big Brother is tightening the noose.
Frogs in a simmering pot.
The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are being used as ass-wipe.
Multiple, never-ending wars with uncounted lives and treasure squandered.
The country is broke and then some.
Its citizens are more polarized than ever before.
The Free Shit Army is set to unleash blitzkrieg.
Bin Laden’s brain-pan has been ventilated, and he sleeps with the fishes.
Yet he wins.