It’s as if we have two minds: a self mind and a social mind.

You want to fit in and be part of a group or tribe, but you also want to create your own identity and be separate from “them”, and “them” can include your community or tribe!

Appreciate the thoughts bud. Have an awesome fucking weekend and kiss that baby

Expand full comment

Well said Corey. I follow you but as a palliative care patient I can't afford any subscriptions. Keep up the good work and continue to share your experiences as a dad to a new son. Congratulations.

Expand full comment
May 26Liked by Corey Ryan Forrester

Seems your name fits you (Forrester) as a person who enjoys that oneness with the woods.

Expand full comment

I have had two long-term relationships, both with combat veterans. One man survived the Battle of the Bulge -- physically. He admitted to me once that he had a different personality before the war -- which was destroyed, so he re-enlisted in order to build a new personality. "I didn't wany my parents to see what a wreck I was."

I thank God he never saw "Saving Private Ryan". (He had been in the second wave on D-Day.)

For the rest of my life, I will be squinting at black & white footage of WWII, looking for his face.

Anyway -- he's the source of one of the few Rules of Life that I have concocted over the years -- which is, never -- but NEVER watch a war movie with an actual veteran because: (1) The veteran will bitch audibly about all the things the movie is doing incorrectly; (2) after the movie is over, the veteran will reduce his date to quivering tears by describing how it REALLY was; and (3) if the date (me) sleeps with him that night, she will be kept awake by his nightmares.

So I guess the only people who learn from war are the ones who survive it. But I don't know what lessons they have to teach lucky civilians like me, aside from don't complain about anything minor in their presence -- and to a WWII vet, EVERYTHING but the war is minor.

And this man had wounds that didn't heal -- he wouldn't watch the Ken Burns Civil War documentary (which taught me so much that was never mentioned in school) because "it glorified war." "Mr. Patton*," I said "that is the LAST thing it does. When I watch it, I keep thinking, 'Jesus H. McChrist, why did they go on for all those years, why didn't they just STOP?'" But the war imagery, even in black and white, would have been (excuse me) "triggering." I think he didn't want to admit that he wouldn't have been able to watch it. And my God, he was a teenager -- hardly more than a child -- when he was in that war.

*Yes, his last name was Patton and his commanding general was George Patton. He did see the movie "Patton" and said that George C. Scott absolutely nailed it.

Second War Beau served two tours in Vietnam. He flew a Medivac, earned two Silver Stars, and also had the distinction of personally pissing off General Westmoreland.

It seems that John had earned a two-week furlough but they wanted him to do one more flight -- which was to take Westmoreland and some Life magazine photographers in country so that Westy could give a pep talk to the troops. However, the scheduling was a bit tight -- John needed to catch a ride into Saigon and if he didn't get back by a certain time, the ride would leave without him. And if that happened? Well, too bad, so sad, no furlough -- sorry.

So, John flies Westmoreland and the picture-snappers into the jungle. However, Westmoreland apparently liked to hear himself talk... and talk... and talk... and it became obvious that John was going to lose his ride to Saigon and miss out on his furlough unless Westy decided to wind things up, which didn't seem likely. And John wanted his damn furlough. So -- he just took off in the helicopter, leaving General Westmoreland and the Life photographers stranded in the jungle.

So, what was learned here? I don't know. He didn't browbeat me with a lot of stories. Once I asked him what he thought went wrong and his theory was that too many experienced officers were killed off in the early years and that the Army had to promote a lot of men who just weren't up to the job. (Lieutenant Calley, anyone?) I cautiously suggested that it sounded like Vietnam belonged to the US Army during the day and to the Viet Cong (whom he referred to as "the bad guys") at night. "You got it, babe," he replied. "When I was there as an officer, I figured my job was to keep the boys out of combat until they could go home and to warn them of 'surprise' inspections, so they could have time to hide the drugs and the booze."

Sometimes I don't there there are ANY lessons that are learned. (where have all the flowers gone?)

Prattle concluded. As always, thank you for your patience. I don't know if this is off-topic or not.

Expand full comment

Yes. And it’s difficult to think of what’s happening right now to the humans in Ukraine. War is such a waste of treasure, not least of which is peace of mind. Hard to be peaceful when bombs are whistling above you and booming all around you. I KNOW this is a piss-poor example but a few months ago, our smoke alarms were sounding off for no good reason at 2 a.m. on many mornings. Being awakened out of sleep by that piercing sound really shook us up. And with pounding heart and trembling hands I had to remind myself it’s JUST a smoke alarm — it’s not a fire and it certainly wasn’t a bomb . How do people, how do veterans , get over the sounds of war? Thank goodness for the woods.

Expand full comment
May 25Liked by Corey Ryan Forrester

And the hits just keep on coming! This is a great essay for Memorial Day. This would be really good in that coffee table book I’ve been encouraging you to put together to document all the bits of wisdom & craziness we went through during COVID. You absolutely helped tote me through 45IQ & COVID. Just a thought, my friend. Much love & kindness to you & your clan!

Expand full comment

Do you ever get over to the Cohutta? My grandparents lived next to it.

Expand full comment