(as part of my ‘self-inventory’, meaning literally, an ‘inventory of selves”)
The Soldier (aka “Sarge” and “The Marine”) is #4 or so on our list of “power members”; that is to say “he” can come forward of his own volition, or when we ‘call’ him or ‘thrust’ him ‘up front’. He can be very cool (unemotional, detached, extremely ‘logical’, never gets angry) – but at the same time is extremely efficient, has dedicated himself to ‘our mission’ (whatever that mission may be) – and like any good soldier, does nothing ‘himself’, but instead obeys orders from ‘below’ (meaning from an alternate personality; whether it be me, M3, M2, M1, or some others.) He can be extremely brutal, and extremely deadly – and yes – he knows how to kill with just one finger (and not just on a trigger; he knows how to kill someone barehanded with one . . . little . . . finger.)
His ‘friends’ inside are Mikie, Matthew (kind of: he raises his eyebrows sometimes at Matthew’s orders, then questions me , M3, about them) – and the BEAST. The BEAST is kind of his ‘pet’ – far beyond just a ‘tiger on a leash’, the Beast will respond to the Soldier’s commands (while ignoring some of us others) – and is the Soldier’s equivalent of a thermonuclear war going off. You don’t want to EVER engage the Soldier, M2, and the Beast all at the same time. Things can get rather bloody and violent – and the BEAST loves guts and things. (The thought just occurred: That might explain his name!) But this isn’t about the Beast (he’s for sometime later). It’s about ‘my man’, the Soldier being.
When I take my ‘walk’ everyday (for health and exercise), I let the soldier out. I wonder how many folks realize what they see then isn’t “me”, it’s the Soldier. If you ever want to get his attention (or ‘draw him out’) – just yell (or bark, or say): “MARINE”. Fellow Marines would understand; just ask one.
Turns are precise – right oblique, left oblique, right face, left face. Stepping off with my right foot. Standing at parade rest. No “diddy-bopping” (bouncing up and down when you walk). Fingers curled, thumbs to the front. In my mind are often the words “Hup-two-three-four”. To say this part of me is highly observant is like saying the ocean is ‘damp’. A gross understatement. I spent some time “noticing” him and his behaviors today because while I knew I ‘switched’ to him while walking, I’d never really paid a lot of attention to his mannerisms.
Eyes front. If he is watching you off to the side, it is out of the sides of his eyes. If he must turn his (my) head, it’s a sharp military “eyes left” or “eyes right”. My/his pace is somewhat faster than I remember us taking in the Marine Corps, but that’s all right – its good for me. It’s more of a military “forced march” pace. He usually doesn’t ‘come out’ unless we have somewhere to go (in this case, to the store to get my cigarettes – marching for my health while destroying it at the same time.) But I don’t smoke while I’m marching. Smoking in formation (even if it’s a formation of one) is forbidden.
This guy fits your military description of a solder to a “T” – plus some. He is exactly what they mean by “your best friend – or worst enemy”. I find myself sometimes stopping while on my march – helping a lady take out the trash the other day, or pausing at a churchyard to pitch in with some yard work when I saw a need for an extra hand. On the other hand, he can be quite deadly. An expert with weapons of all kinds, plus the ability to kill a person with – yes, you can believe it, because it’s true – one finger. Just one finger and bang! – just as good as shooting you, you are dead. Able to withstand extreme discomfort and pain – lots of either. Able to stay hidden in the woods, swamps, or deserts without moving so much as a finger for hours and hours on end (waiting in ambush). Even when covered with ants or ticks or . . . whatever. Totally fearless – this is the part that would run into ANY burning building to save someone inside with no thought to myself or my others. He is your FRIEND. But cross him in the wrong way – not by words, but in action – and you’ve got an enemy that would make your worst nightmares look like pleasant daydreams.
To give you an example: I was walking today, and a car paused to make a turn away from me, to the left (I’m on the right side of the road.) Some kid yells – an attempt to ‘startle’ me, I know. Immediately >I< have to reach ‘forward’ and tell him to ignore this thing. That it is not a threat. Do you want to know what HIS reaction was? To step that one step briskly up to the car, seize the person by the throat, hauling them out their window by it, and then stomp him to death. It would have been over in less than three seconds. That’s how deadly this guy can be.
But on the other hand, he is, like I said, a ‘good guy’. Hard but firm. Firm, but fair. Looking only for threats to others, and then towards me. And oh God! – sharply observant. It’s amazing – I found myself paying attention to what HE pays attention to. The weed heads bowing in the wind. The distant woods – is there anyone lurking there? The glittering stones smoothed flat into the pavement. The second story windows of houses (snipers anywhere?). Corners (anyone going to pop out? And if so – quick, who is it, and what, if any threat is there?) Never flinching – even when the cars or trucks race by only a foot or two away (he’s gonna get us run over one day if we’re not careful!)
This guy likes / loves kids – but would shoot one without remorse or delay if he saw it (the child) was weaponized. This comes from my Vietnam training, where the Vietnamese would ‘weaponize’ their children by strapping grenades or explosives on them. Even a baby laying in the road is a potential threat. (Is it wired to “go off”?) Not that he would ignore it – but he’d inspect it carefully from a distance, taking his time before touching it or lifting it – making sure it wasn’t ‘wired’ or something. He smiled at two little boy’s riding their bikes. And if the baby wasn’t weaponized, he’d take it into his arms with all the tenderness and compassion of a comforting mother to go get it to an aid station (his words, but he means the proper authorities to take care of it.)
You will know if you pass by “him” – or I. He will give you either a curt nod – or if you are a working man, perhaps a short salute. He is extremely polite, using “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am” and “Yessir” or “Nosir”. Never “yeah” or “yup” or “nope”. That’s not him, not his style. Like I said: he’s a military man, and the very definition of all that could ever hope to encompass. I won’t say he’s a sharp dresser – I tend to wear what is defined as “grunge”, though to me it’s merely my working clothes – much more comfortable than dress wear. But I noticed as I switched from my normal ambling self to his ‘style’ – we stopped to button up our shirt, tucking it in neatly, and gathering the folds in the back – military style. (A tight “V” in the back.)
This is the guy I used to go hunting with. This is the guy, when blended with my other personalities, can become something else – a very efficient survival machine.
I thought about that some today while I was walking and watching him watching the world (again, so keenly, so observantly). He relies on the analytical mind for function and efficiency, while the notetaker feeds him clues. (As in: that’s not a threat, that is. You need to do this or that for survival.) He doesn’t have to ‘query’ those other minds; they automatically feed him the information he needs to survive – in any environment or terrain. (Examples: “don’t eat polar bear liver. They are too high in vitamin A, which will kill you. Ditto seal liver. Cook your locusts and grasshoppers; they contain parasites. Ants and grubs are okay, as are butterflies (to eat). Bamboo shoots are good to eat; and yes, like Yule Gibbons said: you CAN eat parts of a pine tree – the seeds. To eat acorns, boil them first to remove the bitter flavor, and save the ‘broth’ for tannic acid, which can then be used in conjunction with an animal’s brains to tan a hide.) Things like that. The list is very long, almost endless, because he’s had 14 years of survival training. And yes – he can survive in almost any kind of environment, from post-thermonuclear war to just sitting in a crowded bus station. And yes, he is your friend. Should you and I ever be in a place where S**t is going down – he will work his butt off to save you. But be aware: he saves by the numbers, and not the emotions. If one will die to save two – then hope you are not that one. Because to him it’s about numbers as well. How many enemy there are – how well they are armed – and how best to take them out. There is no consideration towards ‘giving up’ or surrender. Those words do not exist in that soldier’s lexicon. IF he ‘surrenders’ you can bet it’s only to give the enemy more of a problem later on. Only to cause them trouble.
That was one of the funniest things in the Marine Corps. A lot of folks don’t realize: there IS no “retreat” command in the Marines. It simply is not allowed. However, like we used to say: “Attack to the rear!” is permitted – but only if the enemy has surrounded you. And even then you might just call in the artillery or bombs to bomb YOUR position – ducking in a foxhole to survive (you hope) while the enemy is on top – getting bombed to death (again, you hope.)
Like a famous Marine hero once said (Chesty Puller) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chesty_Puller: “”We’ve been looking for the enemy for some time now. We’ve finally found him. We’re surrounded. That simplifies things.”
The danger in the soldier is if he gets mixed with “The Beast”. The soldier is why if I was ever incarcerated, we would be in trouble. At that point he would view “us” as being held prisoner in an enemy camp – and he does not like being held prisoner. He could go from mean to inhumanely vicious under certain circumstances, should the Beast begin to influence him. We are talking scenes from hell type of vicious – an insane viciousness which while it does not frighten me, frightened my fellow Marines all to hell and back. And trust me: it takes a LOT to frighten a Marine. But lets leave that one alone: I don’t like thinking of the consequences to myself and society should that pair ever mate and get out. It would be a very bad and scary thing. He is entirely too well trained in destruction and making chaos, and knows entirely too much how to set a whole city in panic – if he felt the need to. So lets not go there. Not here, not now, and not ever.
All in all, I like the Soldier within me. He is a good guy, not confounded by ideas of principle or politics. He knows what to do, and his mission is clear. Help others, and should the need arise: save you or I. And if you are in an extreme situation of life and death – he won’t hesitate to throw all of “us” into it to save YOU – even if it means his death and mine.
A comforting thing to know.
PS: Why write this? Just so I know – because I wondered at my reason. It’s always good to know why I am doing something that I am doing – just so that I know there is a rational reason and purpose behind all of this. And so you know, as well.)