RECOVERY

I’m now three weeks into my recovery from spinal surgery and can better appreciate the significance of my decision. Most people with back issues – and they are legion – must confront the frightening possibilities that any commitment to surgery entails. I know I damn sure did, I resisted for YEARS, after reading statistics and negative outcomes. I noticed that throughout my world, the only votes for surgery came from surgeons. Everyone else counseled, “Don’t do it!” So I tried epidural injections, traction, inversion, yoga, acupuncture, physical therapy…

And I finally reached the point that my life had become so negatively affected by my back pain, it was no longer worth living. I’m serious. Having survived PTSD, having survived fatal injuries in Vietnam, the person I had become, lived in pain 24/7. And I was no longer a man I recognized or could accept being. If such was what lay ahead for me, I must either remedy it or move on to whatever is Next.

Younger and far stronger

Since November 17th, my reality is transformed. Each day I grow a little stronger. Oh, mistake me not, I am a total pussy today. I’m in the worst physical shape of my adult life. I can’t fight…and I can’t run. But I am without pain. And in time to come, I will regain my conditioning, once I’m cleared to proceed.

I can now look back on ever so many moments of having to disguise my issues, over the past seven years or so. So much pressure, so much stress in my life to disguise my reality. Pain meds made me numbed, subverted my work as an artist. Stage productions when I had to weather a wave of pain during performance…regretting the concern I caused my fellow actors, who knew what I was enduring. Film shoots when I had to lie on a craft services table between takes, to let the spasms subside. Attending theater performances when I lay in the upper levels, flat on my back and just listening…because it was the only way to get to see/hear it. Deceiving my agents, directors, friends, colleagues…afraid to accept a role, for fear I might break down and sabotage the project. Fearful to travel, that I might break down, far from home. Fearful to interact socially, not wanting to spoil the fun of others. And sexually? Yo, pain is kryptonite, regarding carnality. Not saying I couldn’t…or didn’t…Just sayin’ I no longer “represented”… as I am sorely wont to do…

So it’s been a long hard slog these past 7 years or so. We must each make our own choices, regarding surgical risk/reward. I’m grateful for my own outcome. I hope that others who chose my pro-active choice will find a surgeon worthy of their trust. And I accept that, at my age, yet more obstacles lie ahead. But I will face them with the same objective resolve.

Tucker chooses A Rectangular Life…
Creation.
Quality of life…
A swift and decisive Departure. No lingering, no settling.
LIFE is meant to be LIVED. Ho Kah He.

TO SERVE AND PROTECT

I have a thought as I consider the depravity of this Oklahoma police officer, recently convicted for numerous sexual assaults. I will not post the image of this degenerate. These men (and women) take an oath to serve and protect us. I wonder how likely it is that NONE of his colleagues were aware of his foul deeds…and I think it is time for us, the public to influence this Blue Code of Silence.
At service academies, cadets aware of infractions are subject to discipline similar to those having committed the infractions. An Honor Code. Criminals present during a homicide are subject to similar penalties whether or not they personally pulled the trigger.
I am suggesting that it is time to start levying punishment for police officers who can be proven to have been aware of their fellow officers misconduct. This Blue Code, this “don’t be a snitch” is high school horseshit. You took an oath. You owe it to the public and you owe it to your righteous fellow officers to speak up. You are not some mercenary army; you patrol our streets and you are paid to protect our lives. Yes, it’s a tough job. If you’re not up to it, turn in your badge and gun and get the fuck out of Dodge.
Enough is enough.

CIB

I was drafted into the Army. When I got to Ft. Bragg for basic, I noticed the officers and NCO’s who had a CIB. Combat Infantrymans Badge. That certified to me that they’d been doing the job, they knew what the fuck was up. Jump wings and Ranger tabs are symbols of completed training. The CIB acknowledges conduct under fire. I came to regard that distinction as the mark of a warrior…and it is my decoration I most value.

We know the majesty of our awesome arsenal of weapons systems…and yet we are constantly reminded that they cannot defeat ISIS…or ISIL fer crissake…
We are told that we must go in, boots on the ground, to root out this terrorist menace. The mission of Infantry: To close with and destroy the enemy, thru fire and maneuver. I am an Infantryman. Our motto is FOLLOW ME.

But I digress. My point is that we spend hundreds of billions of dollars on ever more intricate and EXPENSIVE donations to the MIC…that are worthless when it comes to countering asymmetrical warfare. WW II tactics did not work in Vietnam. So, instead of multi-service overruns on the F-22 fighter…or obscenely expensive aircraft carriers and submarines…how’s about we commit some of this money to train and outfit and support the ground troops that are ultimately gonna carry this water? Huh? Quit using our fear to line the pockets of defense contractors. We got the young men and women willing to do this job. Train em better, equip them better, support them better and goddamn well pay em better. And get ready to spend some more on those who make it back home…cause some of them are gonna be fucked up. It’s just a consequence of the job. Stop reinventing the wheel. Put the round peg in the round hole and get on with it.CIB_ACTUAL_Compressed