Sunday, September 19, 2010


Due to a confluence of reasons that I won't go into here, I decided to fast on Saturday in honor of Yom Kippur. Even though I'm not Jewish.

In keeping with the theme of "atonement" for the day, I did something that felt like a penance: cleaned my bathroom. While I did that I listened to This American Life, my favorite radio show. This week there was a story about a vet who returned from the Iraq war and was all messed up and violent because of it.

This story hit me at just the right time, because lately I'd been feeling uneasy for something I wrote on this here blog a while back. I wrote about an experience I had at an airport, where I witnessed the family of a serviceperson get all bent out of shape because they weren't given free drinks at a fast food place.

I still believe that their indignation at not getting free drinks was misplaced, but I do feel bad about some of the things I wrote about soldiers that post. I know that soldiers during wartime must have one of the most awful jobs imaginable. I tried to downplay that in my post and I was wrong. How many of us have to go to work every day worried that people are trying to kill you? And not just an isolated wacko, but an entire army of people who make it their job to kill you?

However you feel about the politics of war-- whether it's a necessary evil or an ineffective and dangerous way to settle disputes-- I think it's undeniable that the stress and trauma that individuals go through during war is uniquely horrifying. So I apologize for downplaying that.

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