I’m sure if you’re a civilian, or a Vet, you’ve heard Veterans say something like “I can’t stand civilians.” In this post I am going to go through this “Vets vs Civilians” idea and why it exists. When I was still Active Duty in the Marine Corps I never paid much attention to civilians. I simply didn’t have the time. I was always around my Marine brothers, training or drinking in the barracks. When I visited home I saw my closest friends and family in what little time I was able to spend with them. Now that I’ve been out for over a year I can say without a doubt that I completely get it. And I’ll get into it here. But first I’ll hit you with an anecdote. Some time ago not long after I got out I was having lunch with some friends and watching a football game. We were drinking beers and eating bar food having a GREAT time. Somewhere in this time conversations turn to work related topics. And after some bitching from a friend about how much he works I proceeded to tell him how big of a baby he was, though I probably used much harsher words. He turned to me, dead serious, and told me “Well you don’t know what it is like to work 12 hours a day!” “Whoa, whoa, whoa, WHAT!?” I thought to myself. “Is this Mother
Fucker serious?!” was HEATED. Of course I know what it’s like to work 12 hours a day. In Afghanistan I was doing two patrols a day plus standing a 6 hour post. We all were. Many times I was up for well over 24 hours do to being QRF (Quick Reaction Force) or being woke by loud thuds and my cot shaking violently because we were being rained on with mortar rounds.
Now hopefully this will set the tone for the rest of our writing. You see, in the military from day one you are told that you don’t rate anything and you are told exactly what lane you belong in. If you so much as slip outside your lane you get put in check very quickly. So when Veterans are in Wally World or some store and other patrons or even the store associates are just down right rude, this can very easily piss you off. Especially if there are kids running around like little terrors screaming and whatever else. Most civilians would say “But Dave that is so silly, how can you even get mad over that?” Well let me tell you. Even after you get out you have this mentality of “OK, this is my place in life. This is my lane, I’m doing my thing trying to live my life.” But we can’t do this. Why? Because f-ing civilians don’t know what their lane is. Literally.
You can drive down 95 on your way to school, trying to get an education as a 31 one year old. What happens? You excessively get cut off, people don’t pay attention, they rear end someone and now it takes you an hour to get to school on what would’ve been a 20 minute ride all because someone had to text or couldn’t wake up 20 minutes earlier to do their damn makeup.
Most Veterans will tell you they don’t give a shit what you want to do with your life. It’s just when your ignorance or idiocy starts creeping into my lane that I get pissed off. Everyone thinks they’re more important than the person next to them and will step all over them if they can to get what they want instead of just STAYING IN THEIR LANE and waiting their turn. That’s all most of us really want; Civilians to have basic manners. Be cognizant of others around you. To students who have classes with Veterans: Please do not EVER try to act like you know more than they do about the military and what takes place, especially when it comes to infantry and people actually doing the fighting. This has happened to me several times in a few PolSci classes I have taken. I will not hesitate to put you back in your lane on this issue. I don’t know EVERYTHING that happens in the military but I have been to A LOT of PME (Professional Military Education) schools. I promise we don’t think that were better than everyone (at least most of us don’t feel this way). I know there are exceptions to every rule and you will hear the idiot Vets in your class that are talking straight out their ass. Guess what? I will call them out on their shit MUCH quicker than I would a civilian. Basically what it boils down to is have a little couth.
I am much older now than I was when I sat in that bar with my friends watching football and something has dawned on me. And this is as much for my fellow Vets to read as it is to anyone else viewing this blog. As much as civilians tend to piss me off on a regular basis, I went and fought so that they had the right to bitch about working 12 hour days.
I went and fought so that they had the freedom to drive down the highway. I fought for their freedom to be a huge douche-bag, if that’s what they choose to be. I just ask for one thing, stop and look around once in a while and realize that you’re not as important as you think you are. You aren’t owed anything. You certainly weren’t owed the blood shed by countless Americans that went, willingly, to fight for your right to be a self-righteous ass. I’m not asking you to buy Veterans drinks at the bar or even tell them thank you. Just appreciate what they’ve sacrificed for YOU and every other American. A final note to all my fellow Vets: No one owes you shit either, get over it.- DJ