I was just reading Boo's blog about that she just reached the one year anniversary of her blog. It's been quite a ride.
She remarked that not long after, she started reading my Iraq blog. I'm going to have go back and look for her first comment.
What a difference a year has made! A year ago, I had just returned to Baghdad after my two week R&R at home.
Just prior to going home, we had to attend a briefing from the Chaplain. One of the things he told us was to have three stories ready. The first story should be something light and funny about life in Iraq. The second story should be deeper and more informative, but also keep it light and funny. The third story is your "no shit, there I was..." story.
He told us to freely tell everyone the first story. People will want to hear something funny so that will tell them things weren't that bad for you. Most people will want to hear just this story.
He then told us that there will be some family or close friends that will press for more stories and that's where the second story comes in. A story that will show some of the tough times but have a happy ending so that they know that you're okay.
Finally, he warned us to be very careful with the third story. Not very many people who have never been to war will understand what that story really means to you. It could also alter their impression of you forever so be very careful who you tell that story to.
Since I've been back, I've told quite a few of the funny stories. I've also told a few of the second stories. Most people just laugh and life goes on. But the other day, I was sitting with two other soldiers joking about things. Both have had long careers in the Guard but have never deployed. Both are good men. We started talking about the FX TV show, "Over There" and in particular one scene in a recent episode. I didn't see that episode since I haven't bothered to watch it after watching 10 minutes of the first episode. We were all agreeing about how hokey that show was and I told them a story I had never told outside of our unit. I tried to make light of it but they weren't laughing. In fact, they had shocked looks on their faces. I excused myself and went back to my desk. The Chaplain was right.