I wish to drink a beer with Anthony Swofford and then engage in a lengthy session of bullshit that is both meandering and meaningless. I wish to knock his socks off with my incisive mental clarity and scalpel-sharp wit. I wish for him to know that I am a hopelessly tragic motherfucker just like him, willing to attack substantial pieces of living room furniture with a chainsaw because that sort of tomfoolery just makes Grade-A sense sometimes.
Not only that, but it's goddamn hilarious.
Moving toward nothing comes easy when you've managed to divorce yourself from anything that seems even remotely consequential. I'm not talking about the end of a marriage, mind you. The sort of waking and walking death that Hagakure says all good samurai should be able to walk stalwartly through life with. This perpetual acceptance that the next step you take may be your last and therefore you should make it important, significant, and memorable. That your body should be able to execute two precise moves after death.
Anything less, the traveler should know, will bring generations of shame and dishonor upon your name and family.
Tony and I could climb to the top of a hill in Los Angeles and spit drunken epithets at the crowds coming out of Dodger Stadium with a 10,000 watt PA system. Huge, reverberating, ballistic assaults of profanity aimed squarely at people who didn't do a damned thing to deserve this sort of maltreatment. We would smash half empty cans of PBR into the hot asphalt of the street until it spelled out 'FART' in aluminum and wasted CRV, wasted until the myopic Vietnamese woman with gout picked it all out of the tarmac to recycle.
We could, in hushed tones, discuss the finer points of 7.62mm ballistics while surrounded by the concrete scented coolness of my garage. I would take the black Pelican case from the careful hiding spot in the closet, pop both of the well-oiled locks and latches open, to reveal in profile a Remington 700VS. 2.5 pound trigger, 21-inch bull barrel with muzzle brake, 6-20x Springfield Armory tactical scope with mil-dot reticle and NVD-compatible lighting, custom pillar bedding, composite thumbhole stock and Harris bipod. The rifle speaks to both of us in terms that we can mutually understand but not on which one could place a human voice. At least I am sure that this would be my perception of the event.
However, I am but one of six billion slightly over-evolved gorillas on this ball of mud hurtling around an inconsequential yellow star. My life is not so special or precious that I will be the subject of an After School, Barbara Walters, Anderson Cooper, or Snoopy Special. I do not see myself requiring any form of cinematographic eulogy equipped with an epic ensemble playbill for double mana points and the ability to cast magic missile three times in one round.
I am in Afghanistan wondering what noise the planet makes as it arcs through orbit and talking nonsense. I have no chainsaw. I sold the Remington two years ago. I have no PBR. I know no one living in the hills above Dodger Stadium.
Which is ultimately why I will never drink beer with Anthony Swofford.