Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Silly Capitalization

My usual disclaimer: to each his or her own. I am not in judgment, just venting my frustration.

I was borne and raised in a non-English speaking country. After I realized that I could speak, think, and write in English without translation, I was joyous. I had dabbled in other languages, but never got to the point where I no longer needed translation. Those of you who do not speak another language may not appreciate this epiphany. It happens when one begins to think in the other language.

That is just a bit of background to justify my position. We have heard of religious converts who are more zealous than the ordinary religious nuts. I am kind of that way about the English language. I admit that the language is a horrendous mass of words, customs, grammar, and mystique from many other languages. Still, it has its formality that I learned and came to truly appreciate. It is not as gently flowing as some other languages, but a person with the skill can make it as beautiful in writing as in any other language.

Although I like some poetry, I am not a poet. Prose is my means of communication. There I can excel, challenge, and irritate as I please. I can say things that some readers would not truly understand until some subtle hint in my prose hits a key synapse. Then it becomes hilarious, devastating, or just appropriately beautiful.

With all this appreciation of the English language, I am less than amused by the liberties that some people take using it. Profanity, slang, direct and terse statements don’t bother me much. Contractions are acceptable to a certain extent. I use them only to be colloquial and not to appear tight assed. But I draw the line at some usage. For example, the backwoods American sentence, “It don’t matter none anyhow” is colorful, but is also full of errors that, if used often, will insinuate themselves into the language. Just like the nonsensical phrase, “it’s got”. The use of this phrase amazes me. One has to go out of one’s way to be incorrect in grammar to use it. It is an ultimate corruption of “It has gotten” only even that is being used incorrectly. Why go to the trouble of saying all that when one means, “it has”?

But I digress. My point this time is the gauche usage of capitalization with respect to the assumed female superiority. Some misguided male who had no self-respect came up with this silliness, and others of similar nature follow. I could quote from blogs that are inundated with this virus, but I don’t want to make anyone feel bad. I will, however, show exactly what I mean.

Reading the customary mis-capitalization such as “W/we She, i (as opposed to I), Her, O/our, T/they, T/their, etc.” I am irritated. I understand that some males want to be respectful and even worshipful in writing to and about a cherished woman. I approve, and encourage that. On the other hand, it is not necessary to massacre grammar to accomplish that. I can be very respectful using proper English, at least to the extent that I have the skill. I would not go out of my way to adulterate the language just to show my, ah … assumed relative position. My wife would chastise me if she ever caught me using this silly capitalization rule. Yet she knows that I am always respectful and proper with her and with any female.

Oh well, sometimes protocol is the essence. And protocols are arbitrary. However, politeness and conveyance of respect transcend protocol.

I compare this mis-capitalization to groveling. Some people have a need to grovel, and that is all right as far as fantasies go. I have never had any use for grovelers, be they animals or humans. I have groveled from time to time to accommodate a benign scenario, but not as a life style. Any being has a right to self-respect. When self-respect is given away, no amount of protocol will suffice to replace it. In D/S one person is always assumed to have the power, and may “force” the other to do demeaning things. That is the nature of the game. But when the game is over, we again become responsible and sensible humans with self-respect. Constant groveling is not an endearing feature even for a real slave.

I have two large dogs. One is a dear, sweet, loving animal who scares the pants off anyone outside the fence, but he would never hurt me. He is not a groveler. The other, well she is as big, gentle or fierce given the occasion, and would not hurt me either, but she is something else. I try to bolster her self-image, but I don’t speak dog, so it is difficult. It is kind of like people who have to demean themselves in order to feel whole. She is just not all there.

Sexless Marriage

My inspiration for this pontification comes from “whatevershesays” at http://shestheboss.blogspot.com/. He posted one titled, “Sexless Isn’t Loveless”.

The thing that got my juices going was his saying, “I am a lucky guy and I don't think I could look my kids in the eye and say that I'm divorcing their mom, blowing up their lives, because she doesn't screw me enough.”

He is right as far as I am concerned. He shows maturity and ability to be responsible for his actions. Many failed marriages are because of the people involved are immature, and expect too much.

That brings me to the idea that prompted this posting. I remember how enamored I was with my girlfriend. She could not do anything wrong. She was beautiful, virginal, and deserving of all the good I could do for her. After we married, we practically ate each other in our attempt at taking and giving pleasure. It took a while for the sexual addiction to each other to vane to the point where we could go through a day without one of us orgasming.

I will not get into the details here, just take a shortcut to where I was heading. A disclaimer again: I am excluding psychotic and abusive relationships here. In either case there is a good reason for divorce, regardless of the baggage that needs to be handled. I am addressing only the relatively normal situations, which are complex enough already.

“Why is it that two people seem perfectly matched sexually at the beginning, then later on they become virtual sexual strangers?” I seldom hear complaints from a woman along these lines. It is mostly from men: they no longer get enough sex.

What changed?

Was she faking it at the beginning and now she is tired of doing so?

Has he changed into some useless schmuck who does not deserve her sex?

Does familiarity cause loss of interest and desire?

I am sure it is not a matter of aging, for either partner may be willing to get into a new relationship with all the sex, given ideal circumstances. So, why is it that the man (or the woman) does not get enough sex any more?

Excluding physiological and phsychological difficulties, so-called normal people experience these problems. Experimenting with sexual and relational deviations (for example, D/S, FLR, cuckolding, swinging, etc.) may enhance their enjoyment to approach what their sex was at the beginning. But even that winds down at some point.

That leaves two people in a relationship facing serious problems. Marriage, children, property in common, and caring relatives are to be considered. Whatever the reason for unsatisfactory sex, these issues don’t go away. Immature and irresponsible people will divorce and tend to repeat the past. Others face their responsibilites and get by on love, caring, familiarity, and occasional sex. But the satisfaction is missing.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Cybernetic FLR

MW and I do have an amount of affirmation of FLR as an ongoing thing. The problem is that intelligent beings are cybernetic. That means goal oriented. Being goal oriented carries an associated burden. We are not satisfied with leaving things alone. Continuing improvement is the goal of the day, any day. Status quo is for the dead or dying. If the man got his ass whipped on Monday, and the pain and bruises have left by Wednesday, he needs to do something about it. Either up the intensity or the count, so that the results in turn would persist until Thursday, and so on.

I am not really trying to solve problems through corporal punishment, although it has been know to work. I use it simply as an illustration of my point. Many men in FLR complain, or at least, feel slighted, when the woman does not continue to remain in charge in blatantly obvious ways. In their assessment, that is not even status quo, but straying off course. This is of course, contrary to cybernetics, and to their expectations. Taking the woman’s point of view is less demanding: “He is already goal oriented, so why should I do anything?”

Well, for one thing, even well oiled machinery needs to be maintained and tested periodically. A submissive man needs both of what a responsible person would allocate to machinery: maintenance and testing. But he is more than machine. He has balls and cock. And … oh yes, a brain. He is not all hormone-driven. Some of it is truly wired into his being.

It is known and accepted, that females during their reproductive years are influenced by hormones periodically to the extent that hormones affect their behavior. That is good. Males, on the other hand, are also influenced by hormones during their reproductive years, but that is bad. The reason it is bad, is because it is perceived bad, as in “Horny bastard who has nothing but fornication on his mind.”

That may be true in some cases, but I ask you, “Is it that a male is trying to be just a horny bastard for his own gratification? Could it be, that he is still primal to the point where being horny is in the behalf of maintaining the human race, and he is only doing his duty?” Just think of the females of the great apes in estrus. Do the males fornicate for the sake of fornication, or do they follow the scent and sight of the female in estrus because they have no choice? Maybe humans should have transcended the primal needs. Then again, maybe not. After all, what would be the point of living if at the end we all died because we did not act on our primal needs? So some of us at least should remain horny and attempt to procreate. So much for the rabid feminist view of having no use for males. Maybe some day, but not today. Today we need males to attempt to procreate just to maintain the species.

What I mean is, “Give us a fucking break!”

Yes, I know, there are assholes out there. But true assholes are non-gender-specific. As far as I know, all mammals have assholes, whether male or female. Male assholes tend to be more in your face. Yuck! But it is just as bad encountering a female asshole. Actually, it is worse, because we don’t expect it. At least, I don’t, since I put females on a pedestal, and it is a terrible blow when they don’t belong. Damn! That should not happen. Females are supposed to be nice. You know, like “sugar and spice …”

I have had my share of dealing with male and female assholes while on duty for the county. I would say, it was about 60/40, 60 being male. So we can assume that in an FLR 60 percent of the assholes are males. Be careful not to interpret this incorrectly as 60 percent of males in an FLR are assholes. I did not say that!

If you are female and are tired of hearing males in an FLR bitching, try to lighten up a bit. Based on my assumptions we are generally horny, and cybernetic, so it is not easy to keep silent when the partners don’t follow the plan.

I don’t complain to MW because she would resent it, and the complaint would not result in anything positive. The problem is that if I don’t complain, then she assumes that all is right as rain, and she needs not change a thing. This leaves me with a dilemma.

Being somewhat understanding of human nature, I have my ways to convey my message once in a while without resorting to complaints. I almost never get my way with her, but then, it is not my way but her way that is supposed to be paramount, so it works out all right. She is aware of all of my kinks, needs, and desires, so there is no need for me to “have a talk with her”. If she fails to give me any or all that, I don’t like it, but we both know that it is her choice. On the long run she does many wonderful things for me, not necessarily of sensual or sexual nature. We miss each other terribly when she goes on a trip without me or vice versa. Meanwhile I take what she gives me, and I serve her as well as I can.

I could do more, but I am not a fanatic about it, and she knows it. It is seldom that she needs to prompt me to do anything. Ours is not the ideal (fantasy) FLR, just one that works for both of us. I wish for more control by her, but then I am also cybernetic and horny.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Oh, The Pain Of It

Those of us, who are even in the slightest way into BDSM, know that there is a difference between how or why one experiences pain. I have not heard or read from anyone who for example, enjoys a toothache, headache, stubbed toe, or a broken leg. Maybe I am just not enough of a connoisseur. Who knows?

Then there is that other kind of pain that ranges from the effect of a pat on a bare bottom to whole body ache from being suspended while receiving vigorous caning, whipping, and other forms of S/M fallout (not that I would have first-hand knowledge of such).

Why is there a difference? Anyone care to comment? Is it just the context, or are there “pleasurable” pain receptors that kick in only when the mind says to kick in?

I fall into what I would call mild S/M range, of course, the degree is always in the eye (or the butt) of the beholder, so who am I to judge? I could be this or that depending on what is available when it comes to imparting love pain.

I found out early in my marriage to MW that she is definitely not a natural submissive. She does not like or want pain, and has an aversion to any device whose impact is to her soft parts in order to get her attention. That pretty much excluded her being on the receiving end of any session with me holding the crop. The closest we ever came to it were a few times when I very gently slapped her lovely butt with my palm. She even commented that it “felt good” but that I should not assume anything. Then there was one time when we were fooling around with me on top. I manipulated her arms above her head, and grabbed her wrists in one hand while I used my other hand to part her nether lips and we had very penetrating, very quick, very satisfying sex as I held her wrists. It was sort of pretend but I am not really certain. Anyway, I felt that she might have a potential if I were to approach her gently. Months later the event came up in conversation, and she said something like, “I faked it.” As you can expect, that blew my smug assumption that I could ever dominate her that way. Oh well, back to my being the submissive with her.

I have always assumed that being the dominant in a partnership is the more responsible, harder working, less satisfying, more stressful part. As a dominant you have to plan. You have to make sure that nothing bad happens and that everything that needs doing gets done whether mundane bill paying or kinky sex games are concerned. As a dominant you are in charge and your sub looks up to you, so you must maintain a certain attitude of being in charge, knowing all the answers, and never losing your composure.

Contrast this with the submissive partner’s position. He (or she) needs to be respectful and compliant. He may expect to be disciplined or punished for misdeeds and transgressions. He may have times of deathly boredom and excruciating highs. But he needs to make few important decisions. His life is managed by a stronger person.

I could go on with this, but we all know that it is futile. This relationship can have a range from the very simple to the most stylized: “Different strokes for different folks.” The details are to be negotiated. If not, then break it up!

I would like to point out that I don’t really like pain, not even in jest. So, in some of my submissive episodes it is a definite deterrent to bad behavior. For example, if she says, “Don’t do this …” I don’t do this. At least not on purpose, because I know that my ass could, and did a number of times, hurt as a result. I will take a side road here to point out something before I get back to our relationship.

I ran across a blog, whose address I no longer have, but it was done by a dominant female. Her attitude to discipline or punishment was summed up in, and I paraphrase,

"Why should one adult force another adult to behave a certain way? If I had to punish him, then I am not really a dominant but a bully. I prefer to allow him to serve me on his own just because he wants to.”

I agree with all that, but at the same time I think that she misses the point 100 percent. Some of us want to be punished, want to be hurt, need the pain, and if you must be a bully to accomplish that, then so be it. As I said, being the dominant is the harder part.

In a BDSM relationship or scenario nobody is forcing anybody before they agree to do it. This is assumed to be consensual, and it implies that even after the scene starts, either partner is allowed to stop it. But once into the scene, there are some expectations on both sides. It is not all vanilla pats on the bum, but is expected to have some impact or such to spice it up. So if anyone complains, they are in the wrong relationship. The subject of disciplining or punishing of another adult is expected by both parties. The only things that are negotiable are the degree and the context, which vary among relationships.

Now that I have established the right to discipline or be disciplined, let’s get on with it. In many of my wishes of sex play between us I imagined that she would like to whip me with an instrument of her choice as a way to build herself to a state where she would then allow me to serve her in all oral and penetrating ways to give her pleasure. Anyone can see that this is my fantasy and not really considering her needs. It is the payment for my suffering. Nevertheless, it is my fantasy and I have a right to think anything I want. The bottom line here is that I wish that she would get off giving me erotic pain. I have yet to find out whether this is true, but am willing to experiment!

Once in a while I do something by mission or omission that she considers a cause for discipline or punishment. As a note, I consider “discipline” as a corrective measure, and “punishment” as a means to absolve one’s guilt. In either case, it is understood that she has the right to impart this at any time under any circumstances, and that I will take it without resistance and without complaint. I also have a right to state my opinion of it after the session is over. Whether I was right or wrong I cannot expect, although I may receive, anything from her as a result of her decision. The deed is done, and we go from there.

I really like this approach for several reasons. The most important is that it is a way to resolve any dispute without needing an arbitrator and without leaving loose ends. In an FLR, she decides the outcome, and I will comply before or after being corrected as such.

There are other reasons why this works, but I will address those at some other time. The “bottom line” is that my bottom hurts and that gets my attention. It also tends to change my attitude for a while. Sure I could argue, I could over-power her, I could quit the FLR. But that would be contrary to all that an FLR is about, and we are in it by choice.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Just Love

We lay in bed after having watched a movie. One of us mentioned “cuddling”. It has been a while. The activity associated with that is just pure love and lust. Feeling each other to any extent, not being compelled to produce anything. Enjoying the senses to whatever extent we can, and maybe drift off to sleep. It is a safe place with a loved one that should exist eternal.

She began to pull my wedding ring off the little guy. That set me on edge a bit since the ring is tight, and there is the PA ring on the tip, which needs to be delicately slipped through the silver ring. I took over the effort, and removed the silver ring. Of course, the PA ring remained in place.

She pulled me over her onto her. Her action must have been like the science fiction exoskeleton machinery in Alien: with a slight twist of any of her muscle I complied. I was on top, and she guided me inside her. That alone being a mind-blowing experience, she began to pinch my tits, my on/off switches, to her satisfaction. In the past I would have blown my stack then and there.

I guess I have sort of lost practice. I was turned on to the point where I could just die. Yet, in spite of the help she gave, and the joy of penetrating sex with her, I could not get it off. Yes, I maintained a tremendous erection, reminiscent of the mocking nightly ones, yet there I was, wishing to orgasm.

I usually don’t do the “hump and pump at high speed”. We both love it gently and slowly with feeling. But this time even that did not produce the desired effect. The little guy hung in there, but he just did not allow me to be included in his pleasure. I withdrew to avoid irritating her.

Maybe she will allow me again real soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Screaming Dominance

Home Again

Before I get to the subject of this posting I want to say that I did take the proposed trip. I was unencumbered. I did not take advantage of my freedom, because I would have felt guilty. I am home again, and MW has put me back into the CB2000. The funny thing is that while MW is not watching, I could pull the little guy out, have a round of drinks with him so-to-speak, and send him back into the cage. MW would probably not know. I actually wish for an inescapable cage, somewhat like one of Lori's devices. Alas, the price is more than we are willing to pay for a toy.

A Tolerance For Stylized Domination

Most of you who are reading this share an interest in D/S, and in particular, FLR. I try not to ridicule or condemn people who in my opinion are on the fringes. If I stumble across some material that is not to my liking, I will take a mental note of it so that I can avoid it in the future, as opposed to leaving a nasty comment or calling them names. I do sometimes think, “This is crap,” and then skip over it. But even I have my limits. Given that, I still have a lot of latitude in finding common ground and pointing out fakery and futility. Actually, that is where much of the fun is in writing.

With respect to D/S there is a tremendous range of practice. We tend to find a niche for ourselves while at the same time try to expand our limits. I call this escalation. Whether you are in a committed relationship, date around, or just wishing, your position defines your limits. One extreme is being single and using professional services. The other extreme is being long-time married and working within its confines, so-to-speak. But in all cases we tend to develop a preference for our style of domination or submission.

I have decades of real experience, but not with all the fringes that the subject covers. My real experiences make me reliable witness within the narrow confines of my preferences. I admit that aside from my personal experiences most of what I say is an opinion based on printed or web-based literature. I have done a lot of reading and thinking like most of you, so I am full of opinion.

My Failure to Find Thrill in Pornography

I have talked about this in an earlier posting. However, since it is still on my mind, I must not have done it justice. Pornography can be ridiculous. Based on my observation, with few exceptions, it is provided by people of limited capability and intelligence. The producers might get lucky and earn enough to cover their expenses. In spite of their inherent stupidity they appear to persevere relying on consumers who are not very discriminating in their tastes. I am not saying that consumers of pornography are stupid. I think what happens is that the producers assume some stupid things. One producer will imitate the other hoping that he can cash in on the interest. Meanwhile the consumers are left with nothing but useless crap.

I have looked at some samples in the name of research. I am sad to admit, however, that pornography as it is portrayed has nothing to offer for me. For example, the previews or teasers (sometimes mistakenly called “trailers”) would show a couple in some form of sexual act. It could be a number of things, but let’s assume something basic like the stuff that the birds and the bees do. I can look at this preview for a few seconds to get the gist of the rest. But even after a few seconds it begins to look like a video player that is stuck in place and keeps replaying the same scene: hump hump hump … or such. I can’t see how this can be of interest for more than a few seconds. Yet, that is what the preview suggests, assuming that you are interested enough to hand over some virtual cash for the privilege of seeing more of it.

Then there is the ultimate of consummation: the man ejaculates over the surface of the partner-in-rut. I think that someone is trying to make a point here. Just that, I fail to see what the point is. It could be that the only way the producer of the video can prove that there was indeed a consummation, is by showing the proceeds in gooey detail. Well, it might work for some.

I always try to put myself into the place of the victims in these videos, and ask, “If I were the man in this scene, and had this willing, able, and attractive female providing half the pleasure, what would I do? Would I prolong our pleasure by feeling her all over with my hands? Would I try to feel her with my entire body? Would I try to enjoy her scents, her flavors? Would I try to give her pleasure before I took mine? Or would I rush through the process and hump just for the sake of humping? Would I pull my cock out of whatever orifice I was humping just as I was about to orgasm and spray stuff all over her?” Sheesh! Talk about self-inflicted ruined orgasms!

Aside from the spilling of juices, another prevalent scene is the strangely contorted positions taken by the participants. I have done some experimenting in sexual positions, and liked some of them. But the way these porno participants do it ranges from unsatisfying to dangerous. I think the point in each case is to enable the photographer to prove that the penis is in one of the available orifices most of the time, but then it must move on to the next. I think that what all these people lack is imagination. They have to be so explicit as to be able to convince any moron watching it.

I am sure it was some man who came up with this practice, and it seems that most producers of this sort of entertainment can’t see the futility, so they keep re-creating it. Please, won’t you all do something about it? Like maybe not pay for it? Or am I wrong?

Videos add a dimension of time and sound. In my search for the Holy Grail I could have turned off my sound and would have been better off. “Slap, slap, …” produced by two bodies impinging do not enhance my enjoyment. Then there is the dialogue: “Oh baby, oh God, do it, do it …,” etc. I guess that does away with the need to pay a writer and learning a script. All the action is adlibbed and reused all over.

Speaking of skipping the sound, I prefer still shots to videos. With videos they seem to feel compelled to outdo competitors with the suck and fuck mentality. At least with still shots I can take a fraction of a second to decide that what I see is crap, or something with inherent beauty. Of course, inherent beauty can still be ruined by bad composition and bad background. I have carefully researched web sites for photographs of beautiful females of certain characteristics. A number of times I find one, only to be disappointed when they gravitate to contortionist heterosexual activity, even worse, fellatio of the worst kind. You would know the scene: the female has an 8-inch male member embedded to the hilt in her throat while looking at the camera. I understand intimacy between two people, but why would a woman look at the camera when she is supposedly trying to cause an orgasm in her partner?

OK, I am jaded. I may not have seen it all, but I know crap when I see it.

I Really Miss A Good Femdom-Style Movie

For many years I have wished to acquire some movies with an underlying or even overt femdom theme. Even though I searched, I admit that I have not spent any money on them the last several years based on the synopsis provided: orgies, serial blow jobs, huge cocks, huge breasts, gang bangs, etc., were not what I wished to find.

In my early years I got lucky, sort of, to find a couple of “educational videos” and one movie. The educational videos were by the lifestyle domme Dianna Vesta. Aside from being knowledgeable and reasonable, she was also beautiful and to my taste, at least at the time when I bought her video. One of the few movies that I acquired was “Exit to Eden” in which Dana Delany and Rosie O’Donnel had significant roles. I found them both beautiful and very attractive in the context of the story. Although the movie did not stay close to the book by Anne Rice on which it was based, I still enjoyed it very much. It was rather silly and unreal, but there was female dominance in a benign way. Voluntary pain and suffering are good as long as they are for a purpose. They must be appreciated, and with some semblance of dignity. It was so in this movie. It was sensual, provocative, and not blatant.

Lately I have concluded that femdom movies don’t exist. There are videos similar to the porn described above. They portray participants who are as attractive as bums lying in their filth behind a dumpster in some alley. They are as real as the hump and squirt variety of the fuck-and-suck videos. I again wonder whether anyone actually pays to see this stuff. In a femdom video, if a female whose every third word is “fuck” or “fucking” screamed at some poor schmuck, she gets enough time from me to hit the delete button. Then there are the “real D/S” where some skinny unattractive females in ridiculous attire sort of whip hairy-assed scrawny male victims. The females usually wear costumes that are totally dysfunctional and ridiculous. They also don’t seem to know what they are doing. The males often are given paraphernalia to wear that make no sense even under the circumstances, for example, spiked collar around the neck.

There are some movies touted with “famous porn actresses”. The movie may actually have a story that was written on a napkin while eating a tostada at Taco Bell. But that is not what I am wanting. I want a story that could be real. I want people who can act in a convincing fashion, just as in regular movies. I am not looking for on-going orgies. I don’t want to see men squirting all over the place. I could not care less for the fuck and suck scenes unless they are between two people who have a reasonable history together. You know, like you and your regular partner would after a good buildup of foreplay. I want to see some romance, some tension, and some subtlety. Am I expecting too much? Am I being too romantic? Is there anything out there that would come close?

Monday, June 1, 2009

In Lieu Of Tribute ...

I have strong feelings for the meaning of Memorial Day. I should have said something earlier. Belatedly, here it is.

Once in a lifetime we are given an opportunity to give someone his or her due. Through no fault of mine I was in such position some years back. A person whom we knew died, and someone needed to give a few words on the occasion.

I was in the armed forces, a missile artillery outfit in the far-east. Our company did not have a chaplain. The company commander was sane and rational, but I would not have gone to him for psychological, spiritual, or sexual consultation. My platoon leader was a fine man, about my age. He and I spent some time over beers, but he was no wiser than I. The first sergeant of the company was an old bear whom nobody loved, including his mother, I am sure. With the fifty or so people in the outfit there was not anyone whom I would liken to the chaplain character on M*A*S*H.

I was a bit of a misfit due to my background. I came from unusual origin and had been educated more than my fellows. I also did not get drunk every night, and did not partake the local fauna.

Maybe it was this reason why people came to me for confession and consultation in lieu of a chaplain. At first I took it lightly, for I was not very wise myself. Later I realized that these people, including me, needed a spiritual leader from time to time. What bothered me was that I knew I was not qualified, yet they came to me nevertheless. Sometimes they left offerings like a cigar, a half-six-pack of beer or a bag of sunflower seeds. I did not want any offerings. Given my dubious qualifications I would have been willing to pay for some of the stories that they presented to me. But I began to take it seriously enough to at least not disclose it to others. Kind of like a confessional between priest and sinner, although the demarcation in this case was a bit fuzzy.

There was one sergeant who had a tendency to piss off anyone, including the company commander. I managed to stay out of his way, for I had my position that did not interact with him. However, one spring day we got some news over the telephone: "Sergeant XXX died while crossing a flooded river. He, his driver, and a number of local nationals were swept by the raging river into the deep waters. None survived."

Due to my imposed status I was called to deliver the equivalent of a eulogy before the company. My first inclination was to say nothing. I learned early in my life that if I can’t say anything good about a person, it is best to say nothing. But that was not an option.

This was many years ago, so I don’t remember exactly what I said upon the occasion. I know I dismissed the thought of saying “It could not have happened to a nicer guy.” I could say that over a beer with another soldier, but not in front of a group who expects something more spiritual regardless of their dislike for the recently deceased.

My assessment of what I said back then may have been similar to this:

“Sergeant XXX was generally disliked.

“In actuality, he appeared to be a despicable asshole. But that was just his attitude. I am sure he had some good qualities. He managed to hold down his job and avoid pissing off people to the extent of getting him killed. We must give him credit for that.

“I have tried to get close to him several times. He could not care less. I gave up after a while, and just nodded in his direction when we passed."
While saying these words I looked at faces and saw smiles and nods what I assumed were acknowledging similar experiences with the former asshole. I finished with this,

“I know that we did not make friends with him. I realize that he was not one to have for a friend, for he never seemed to trust anyone. I suspect that he lived a very lonely life as a result of that. While he was here, I, or many of you I assume, could not have cared less for his living or passing.

“But now that he is gone, I want to express my sincere feeling about him. The nationals who were in the vehicle with him were innocent of anything to do with him. They were victims of circumstances. He was simply giving them a ride from place to place. So, in the end, in spite of himself, he was trying to do a good deed. If there were a way to give him and the nationals a second chance, I would consider it.

"May they rest in peace."

I came away with some satisfaction that I did not do harm in this instance. My fellow soldiers did not say anything, but neither did they laugh or threaten me with bodily harm. The already grumpy first sergeant went back to his shit list, and the company commander looked at me for a few seconds while shaking his head, and left. My lieutenant joined me and suggested that we have some beer.

Why the hell not? We were off duty and after five in the evening. We got wasted.