Writing Wrongs

January 11, 2006

For all the time you can sink into the internet, for all the blog hopping, and “just one more entry/one more link/I gotta read this,” I really love the internet sometimes. Where else can you locate information on unmasking procedures after an M8 Chemical Alarm goes off, find out how to clean your M16, plus discover who was on the cover (and what she wore) of the February 1991 Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Believe it or not, these are all things I wanted to know while working on The Boys’ Club.

Now I used to be able to fieldstrip an M16. In my sleep. Alas. No more. What was funny was that looking at the cleaning instructions online, walking through the procedure brought it all back. Not just the physical task, the names of the different parts, but the feel of it, the smell of Breakfree. I doubt I used 95% of what I read, but I’m willing to bet I wrote the scene with 100% more authority.

While I was deployed, my mom would send me women’s magazines. Junk food for the brain, as she called it. There was so much mail, that there was no problem with them making it past the censors (Muslin host country). These so-called women’s magazines were wildly popular with my male troops.

One sergeant shuffled up to me, shyly, not long after I received a bundle of magazines in a care package. “Ma’am, I don’t suppose when you’re done with that, I could look at it?” It was all I could do not to laugh. And I gave him the magazine right then. As much as I appreciated receiving them, when you haven’t had a shower for a couple of weeks, have forgotten makeup exists, never mind how to apply it, and are generally grubby, there’s only so much of this you can take:

Oh, that big hair! That big, trashy hair. Those bee-stung lips. That dress. That is a dress, isn’t it? I think I had one of those. Actually, I had two. And I wore them as leg warmers. Thank you, Ms. Basinger, for the memories.

And thank the internet.

Note: I’m also over at the Wet Noodle Posse today.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 10:09 a.m.

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