TIME

Long time ago, I used to wear a Seiko wristwatch that featured the date AND the day on the clockface. Mon, Tue, Wed, etc were in black..but Sun was in red. It stopped one day, very near the epicenter of a deafening explosion. I think it was 1:18…and there was a young LT bleedTuckersMap-v4ing out in the jungle. I finally wrote about it, years ago. SUNDAY, BLOODY SUNDAY.

The watch is in a large plastic zip-loc bag, high up on closet shelf along with a few other things, like some letters, a map case, dog tags and a compass, all of which are covered with this faded reddish-brown residue. This Sunday will mark the 45th anniversary of Sunday, September 14th, 1969. At some point on Sunday, I’ll probably reach up there and take the bag down, open it and lay out the items. There’s no fixed ceremony…I’ll just handle them and look at them and remember. And then put them back up there. Seems like the odds would be 7-1 or something like that, but the date really hasn’t fallen on that many Sundays over the years.

Used to be pretty bad. Anniversary Syndrome. I’d be in a locked, darkened room, sobbing for hours. Took me years to realize what I was sobbing. “He was so young…” And he was. He shouldn’t have gotten any older, really shouldn’t have….yet he did. In ’88’, a couple friends told me I needed to talk to someone. I guess I was finally ready, after 8 years of depression and Survivor Guilt. And when I finally did, life got a lot better. 8 lost years, 36 to 44, pretty much the prime of my professional life. I worked but I was just passing time, really looking for a way out.

If you hurt, don’t wait. Don’t waste any more years. Talk to someone.
THE SOLDIERS PROJECT

This image was created by a graphic artist, fine poet and friend, Rick Lupert for my book, RETURN TO EDEN.

FT. BLISS

There is a film I want you to remember. FT BLISS. You’ll want to see this.

It’s about a female medic, twice deployed and facing redeployment, who is struggling to win and retain the love of her son, now six years old. But it’s about so much more. Parental roles, female roles in the military, the difficulties faced after returning home fom war, sacrifices, emotional shutdowns, Survivor Guilt.

It was researched, written and directed, brilliantly by Claudia Myers. The cast is accomplished and uniformly excellent. But the lead role, the starring role is portrayed by Michelle Monaghan. Her Maggie is a great character and she is unforgettable. Michelle will do bigger films but this role is iconic. I view her work here as I viewed that of Dana Delany, in CHINA BEACH, who embodied the nurses that cared for us in Vietnam. I told Dana that I so admired her work, that it was never self-indulgent, every ounce of emotion was authentic and earned. Just so with Michelle’s work. It is an emotional film but I never once felt manipulated, every feeling was earned. Michelle and I had met in Toronto this summer, filming PIXELS. I was flattered that she remembered me and grateful for the chance to congratulate her.

I spent ten weeks at Ft Bliss many years ago, learning Vietnamese before deploying as a Military Advisor. My memories are more resonant when I think of the miles driven late at night in my GTO, across the border to New Mexico, where I was dating a Mexican stripper. Is that racist? Jesus, I dunno… just know its the truth. Don’t judge. I was Infantry, Airborne and assigned. Not then expected or expecting to come home whole, if at all

The film was done in 21 days, many characters filming their arcs in ONE or TWO days! Stunning professionalism. It was made for a song with private financing. I am tickled to think of those investors being so handsomely rewarded for their faith in this personal story, told with such craft, truth and heart.

The single regret from tonite- not acknowledging the date. 9-11. Today, many affected Americans are struggling, much like they did in 2002. 13 years later, it still resonates. Sunday September 14th will be the 45th anniversary of a very difficult day in Vietnam in my life. It still resonates. The Soldiers Project exists to treat that pain. Encourage people in your life, still struggling, to reach out. Help exists. http://www.thesoldiersproject.org/

FT BLISS. Go see it when you get the chance. You’ll thank me.

KNOW WHEN TO FOLD EM…

Boy and TeacherAt some point, and it won’t be long, I’m gonna be who I really am. September 14th will have come and gone. My shoulder will have healed and been rehabbed. My gout will be medicated and under control. And the cocktail of meds I’ve been taking will diminish…and I’ll then be able to assess what Tucker has left in the tank. I watched John work yesterday on stage and realized, “You can’t do a role like that right now, Tucker. Maybe in a few months, maybe not…but you don’t have the stamina….and those are the roles that have always interested you. ”

It’s something professional athletes all face, but at a younger age. Knowing when to walk away. We know of the power pitcher who has evolved into the wily veteran, no longer able to throw at 95 mph but can change speeds and move the ball around and so extends his career. The hallmark of my work has always been a combination of energy and passion. If you’ve seen me play a character, you know that I am invested, that I really fucking care. If that is gone, then who am I? What then do I bring to the table? I see many professionals, doing fine work well into their 70’s and even 80’s. But many of us have also worked with accomplished actors who have reached a point where they need huge cue cards to read their lines and struggle with take after take…

Again, no decisions just now…but this question has reached the level of consciousness. And no, this isn’t a plea for encouragement – “You can still do it, Tucker!” I know better than anyone what I can do and why I do it. But it is an interesting place in life at which to have arrived.

Don’t cry for me, Argentina, I’ll be fine. But does this speak to any of your own realities?