No, not "I lost my vulva in the war". That's a completely different writeup and a completely different injury.

Back during the first Gulf War, I was a gunner in the 23rd Infantry Division -- the Fighting Blue Death Hellions of Alabama. We rocked, we rolled, we saw limited action. For the most part, we just took surrendering Iraqis prisoner and drove around taking potshots at sand dunes. Nice way to spend a war, I'm sure.

Anyway, one day, we got back to our camp and found that HQ had sent us a Saudi chef to cook our grub that day -- kind of a cultural exchange. He put together a sumptuous Saudi meal, which most of us enjoyed more than we were expecting to (we burped a lot after the meal -- I think all of us had seen "Lawrence of Arabia" at least once). Well, he had one dish left over that had barely been touched -- too hot, most of the men said. "Pshaw!" said I, "I'm from Texas -- I eat spicy food six days a week!" So I ladled myself a plateful and started eating.

First bite: very nice, pleasantly spicy, the chef looked pleased. Second bite: very nice, pleasantly spicy, the chef looked surprised. Third bite: pretty nice, getting hotter, the chef looked actively alarmed. Fourth bite: Oh sweet Jesus, who the hell just nuked us, the chef starts screaming. Fifth bite: there was no fifth bite.

A week later, when the painkillers finally wore off, I learned that the dish (still can't remember the Arabic name -- translation was something like "Killed by Allah in the burning plains") was a traditional dessert intended to be eaten in moderation -- as in one bite per diner. Even the Saudis -- a people who enjoy extremely spicy food -- couldn't stand more than a single bite, and even then only on special occasions. Our guest chef had never imagined that anyone would eat as much as I did and never thought that we'd need to be warned against it.

Anyway, I survived okay and even got my sense of taste back after about a month. Unfortunately, the acid in the peppers ate away so much of my uvula, the dangly thing in the back of my throat, that the doctors decided to remove it entirely. And that's the true story of how I lost my uvula in the war.

They say nodeshell war is all glory, but boys, it is all hell.

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