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Friday, June 10, 2011

Letter to a Soldier: Injured Man


In the time of my letters to Iraq I witnessed and suffered bigotry. The man mentioned here was treated this way both for his sexual orientation, and is emotional problems.
              
Some might argue that the two are one and the same. However, it’s not my place to judge people on their lifestyle so long as they give me no bother. I have every right to make comment of this man’s actions and his actions at work more directly.

You will note that I simply report the events.

10th June 2007
Dear (Soldier),

Once again in the saga of my life there is nothing good to report. Well, shit happens I suppose, I’m going to the gym more often now so there is hope that I will be better equipped to handle the coming school semester. It’s all about maintaining and planning and acts of shear will.  

I learned that as much as I can’t stand my work I can’t stand school more. I suppose I should say that I can’t stand theatre classes, but with as large a need for writers as (the college) has this is the best opportunity that I have to get my work on stage. I think about this fact a lot lately. Every day I come to work and think how much I want this to be over with, and that inspires me to work harder.

They screwed up on my paycheck, surprise, surprise, I’m missing hours and they are paying me the wrong rate. I already spoke to (the area manager) about it and he said that he wants me to call him Monday and remind him to fix my pay. He said that he would get me a check by the end of the week. I don’t believe him, but as long as he is working on it I’m not getting too pissed.   

We had another incident on Thursday. My swing shift guard, a homosexual from Poland, complained of a neck injury when I came into work at 2100 hours.  He had six hours into his twelve and looked to be in excruciating pain. I called (the area manager) and reported this, and he called back and sent (the swing guard) home. That’s where the story begins. 

(The area manager), with three guards out before (the swing guard), sent us a rover who had worked on the post beforehand claimed to know what he was doing. Yet, he had problems with seals from the very beginning, we have to cut them here, and he ran a cross seal after seal that he just couldn’t cut.

One of these had been a “cone” seal that had been fastened too tightly to get the cutters around its wire. I forced the cone against the trailer’s latch and inched the cone back along the wire and snapped the seal with the cutters. “If bruit force isn’t working your not using enough,” I explained and went back to my duty station.

It was about half an hour after that when a driver asked to have his seal cut. I looked back, no rover, I cut the seal myself just as (the supervisor) was coming back to cut a seal in his lain. “I’m going to get rid of this son of a bitch,” he said to me in his thick Mexican accent. I didn’t question, it was not my affair. Later I found out that the big issue had been that (the rover) had taken his lunch within an hour of getting on post. He had asked to go to the parking lot and get his food from his wife. He was out there for more then half an hour eating with her. He was a rover anyway no big loss.

Sometime after that (the supervisor) came to talk to me about (the swing guard). 

“Did he call (the area manager) or did you?” 

“He called then I did when he couldn’t get through.” 

“Weighting half an hour wouldn’t have killed him he could have staid for me. He probably just had a problem with his boy friend, and that's why he wanted to take time off.” 

This pissed me off something fierce because (the swing guard) is always working over time. For whatever reason he did not appear to be fit to perform his post duties and we sent him home. I think they are making his life style choices too much of an issue. It gets under my skin because (the swing guard) is an all right guy, and he bothers no one. Coming down on him for that crap is just too much.

Anyway, (the supervisor) said that I’m going to get Monday and Tuesday as my off days soon. I don’t believe that, we never have enough people, but it would be good for school if that did happen. We have one new guard to use as a breaker, but from what they told me she would not climb the ladders to put seals on. I think she will be out of here by Monday, and we get the next two new guards on Tuesday. It’s unlikely that they can shake someone loose before next week so I’m working straight through for at least another seven days.

Well, that’s what happened in the few days since my last letter.

Stay safe,

Richard Leland Neal