I saw a couple of regular Army kids once, laying down a big chunk of Alaska tent on a piece of plywood, off of which they had painstakingly brushed all of the sand and grit that they could manage.

It was getting dark. The light carts had come on an hour and a half ago, but it was still about 90 degrees. These kids had obviously just gotten off shift, big pile of kit off to the side of their weird little platform, next to a... boom box?

And then, the tallest one started to breakdance.

He was the best of the three, but they all took turns for about half an hour while I watched and smoked. Then they rolled up the piece of tent, propped the plywood against the perimeter wall, and started to slog in to bed.

They had been tired and sweaty to begin with, after their shift, and instead of racking out directly they decided to jerk around and give themselves scrapes and headaches on top of it, breakdancing in the middle of the smoke pit with some crazy black market Chinese copy of an 80's Sony ghetto blaster.

Other than the obvious - that is, kids in war zones do dumb stuff to entertain themselves - I was a little perplexed at all of the extra ass pain involved. The set-up, the clean-up, the theft of the plywood and chunk of tent, the extra sweat and rashes. I asked, "Why?" and got an answer that resonates with me a little differently each time I contemplate it:

"Dance, motherfucker, because tomorrow your legs might get blown off."

I think every dance is the dance of the dead. We're all dead, but only some of us live in the mean time.


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