Enjoying the pandemic much? That’s a fair question because so far, from my little combat outpost where I sit and dream of a former life — when I thought I was Con Conagher — we seem to be collectively overdoing the doom. Don’t get me wrong, I take this virus very seriously, as I would any kind of worldwide illness, but there is a noticeable absence of optimism in the air.
“Why, believing as he did, that all human obduracy was susceptible to common sense, was he unable to turn back? Why was he determined to complete his journey even if it meant putting his life in danger? At what point had this prank, this joke, this piece of horseplay become serious?”
–John Cheever, The Swimmer
This morning, early, before I’d even had my first cup of tea, and in the wake of news that the stock market was caught in a death spiral — the worst day in its history and tanking on wholly unfounded global anxiety and media driven perfidy — I received an excellent text from my daughter. She wrote: “At an autopsy with detectives for a potential homicide.” Which was proof again that life in the twisting alleyways of Rome goes on, flame lit and gruesome, whether trading in the plaza has been suspended or not.
Now in our gloomy age of endless traffic congestion, retro-socialism, and retail pandemic terror — a dark night made even darker by the waxen heads at every evening news desk in the television universe — the average citizen has some critical choices to make. To wit: shall we live in terror of Covid-19? Shall we gnash our teeth and rend our garments and join the Brothers of the Cross, flagellating ourselves in the town plaza to free the world of colds and single use plastic bags, whipping our flesh to beat back the growing tide of human poop and hypodermic needles on the sidewalks, to end forever the horrors of red meat and chevy suburbans, of plastic straws and emerging hemorrhagic fevers?
Not so long ago I bottomed out. It was a hard stoppage. If you’ve ever been out on the desert, driving too fast on nominal roads, and suddenly high-centered your rig in the rocks, you’ll have some idea what this felt like. There were some nasty scraping sounds as my skid plate dragged over the rocks, followed by a solid “kathunk” and a jaw-jamming loss of forward movement. Things on the backseat ended up on the dashboard. My seatbelt locked up like a parachute harness and there might have been some whiplash. It was all quite unexpected because I was actually at a dinner party.
Retired Special Forces warrior Greg Walker, author of 16 books and frequent contributor to Soldier of Fortune, Black Belt magazine, and Running Iron Report, returns to the bunkhouse for an hour of great conversation with Craig, Jim, and “Oil Can” Rathbun. The boys discuss a host of topics and listeners are in for a treat. From News […]
Years ago, when I was still kicking in doors for a living, serving search and arrest warrants and chasing dopers of various sizes, shapes, and ethnic origins, I began keeping a book of personal debriefs. I did this because I cared deeply about — and still train scrupulously in my civilian incarnation — small unit tactics. When I was in the big leagues – the regional Narcotics Task Force — I was generally number one through the door on warrant services, which is both an art and a skill, and in every case extremely dangerous because one never knows what awaits on the opposite side, and also because narcotics enforcement is not synonymous with good tactics.
We can, sometimes, be forgiven for falling in love with ourselves. That’s only true because at the end of the day we are all we’ve got, and as a pure survival mechanism, pouring a little love on ourselves may actually be a good idea. I hadn’t contemplated a life or death situation in some time when I set out on our first morning to hunt an elk out of the towering mountaintops that surrounded our little drop camp. I hadn’t contemplated 18″ of snow overnight, either, and so as a debrief point its good to remember that complacency can be, and often is, deadly.
The cynicism of the National Football League is apparently boundless. After taking a break from mostly not watching the game – we were visiting with friends and there was some great food on the table and even better conversation in the next room – I was intrigued by the prospect of both Shakira AND Jennifer Lopez appearing in stages of near nudity on the halftime show. Most everyone knows that the halftime show is designed to pander to our basest instincts – wardrobe malfunctions and penis guitars – so what red-blooded American with a mouthful of chili would miss a chance to see that?
A few summers ago, while lounging around the Munich Airport waiting for a flight to Reykjavik, I bought a book: “The Silk Roads: A New History of the World,” by Peter Frankopan. Frankopan is a senior fellow at Oxford University, and has written a convincing reassessment of world history. It is also a poignant and extraordinarily well-considered forecast of our possible future as a broader, Western culture.
My wife and I were down in Bend, Oregon, the other day, to visit with some friends and to spend the afternoon watching the Oregon Ducks smash helmets with the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl. I had no dog in the fight – my alma maters are both mired in long-term football mediocrity — so instead of pulling for one side or the other I played the role of annoying snarky guy while munching on some terrific jalapeno poppers and perfectly smoked – and I really do mean perfectly — short ribs. It was a great afternoon full of delightfully low-brow conversation.
Join Craig, Jim, and “Oil Can” Rathbun as they welcome teacher Judy Larson into the bunkhouse on the historic Figure 8 Ranch for Running Iron Podcast Number 14. Presently a middle-school teacher on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, Judy brings her considerable experience to talk all things education and to provide an insight into the challenges and rewards of a life in public education. Plus, as a bonus, listeners will learn about Judy’s daughter, who is an accomplished musician presently studying and playing in the castles and fortresses of Europe.