Every life is filled with ups and downs, although the scales can be tilted for some people. I would say that my life has had a good share of ups. My downs generally represent themselves in the form of stress. At work, or when I’m building my house, or during my time in the Army I would find myself surrounded by stress; I guess I could count those as my down times.
My second deployment to Iraq had been fairly stressful. I had been in charge of more than I had the first time and the closest link in my chain of command was usually a couple hundred miles away. In short, I was given a job and some guys, and thrown out into the big wide world (to the horror of most). That was fine with me, but by the end, I was pretty maxed out on the stress-o-meter.
After ten months the deployment was at an end. I had moved my guys and all of my equipment back to Baghdad International Airport, all the equipment had been inventoried and I had been able to fudge the numbers enough that I wasn’t going to lose all of my pay for any damaged items (that dick of a Captain not withstanding). All of my missions were complete and all that was left was to show the new crew around when they showed up in two days. That meant I had two days… TWO DAYS with nothing to do. I hadn’t had a day off since three months before I got there. I made a plan while I took the first hot shower I had taken in a week and wondered how many people had jacked-off in the shower stall I was in over the past few years. I found my guys in their tent and told them that I would be at the detachment HQ building and if they needed anything they could just fuck off and leave me alone.
Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) was the place to be with the Army in Iraq. Large dining facilities and even some American restaurants. I had preferred to pretend I was Moses during my deployment and led my team in giant circles in the desert to the south of Baghdad (those guys really hated me for that). I walked strait over to the Pizza Hut and bought two medium supreme pizzas. I swung my rifle across my back and carried those pizzas the 1.5 miles to the detachment building. I got their around 9pm and they had all left for the day. No problem, they had told me the key code; I opened the door and stepped into the clammy cool of the air conditioned trailer. I retrieved the two 2-liters of Mountain Dew that I had found in the commissary and stored in the refrigerator, promising to painfully murder anyone who had touched them. Success, they were still sealed. They had set up a PlayStation in the trailer and hooked it into a projector and I had managed to procure a copy of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. To say I was stoked was an understatement.
What followed was an orgy of cheese, Mountain Dew, pepperoni, video gaming, cursing, laughing, crying, tomato sauce and the occasional trip to the out-house (4 liters of Mountain Dew is more than most bladders can handle). At 5am I turned off the projector and surveyed what I had done. The game had been beaten and only one control had been broken. Both pizzas were gone (even the crust) and not a drop of Mountain Dew remained. I was happier and more proud of myself than I had been for a while. I dumped all of my trash on the Captains desk cause fuck that guy and made the long slog back to my tent 1.5 miles away. I laid down on my cot and slept for 16 hours strait.
When I awoke I sat up, stretched and looked at the clock. Hmmm, 9am and the new guys wouldn’t be around until late tomorrow. I went and took a shower in a different stall, checked in on my guys and walked outside into the warm night air. The commissary was still open; I wondered if they had any Mountain Dew left.