War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

little letters

there’s a 12 1/2 hr difference between here and A’stan. that means that more often than not I receive a little letter from over there during the night. usually date stamped 0100 hrs. which means that the correspondent is checking email in the welfare “tent” after lunch.

I’ve written about a fairly new correspondent. a fellow poet. he’s so god damn funny that when I flip open the lid of my laptop and see a letter from him I save it for last so I can end my session with a burst-out-loud laugh.

I’m going to ask if I can quote from his letters for you (anonymously). it will give you a really good idea of what I mean when I say that humour is the grease that keeps the army going. little turns of phrase. little stories. pranks. sarcasm. bitching. bitter soldier routines. self-deprecation. boasting. physical gestures (ahem). black humour. sexual humour. irony… very, very funny. oh, and did I mention bitching?!

I was sitting around an army mess one night this winter with a brace of Cols., a Brig. Gen., Sgt. Maj., a few young ones. Col. asks me, “what’s the difference between a fairy tale and a war story?” (Col. served in A’stan). “a fairy tale begins, ‘Once upon a time’ whereas a war story begins, “No shit, we were deep into it when all of a sudden…”

and it’s amazing how soon one adapts and starts adopting their humour and talking like these guys. my daughter always says to me, “you’ve been hanging with soldiers again. your language is…”

at Suffield the RQM and I were taking a drive into the showers (part the protocol for my 48 isolation with the dreaded GI was a mandated shower… as if I didn’t long for one!). the RQM is an educated young Capt. with a couple of wee kids. we were laughing at how we were using the language of the ranks when never in a million years would we have done outside camp. politically “incorrect” language. of course the f-bomb. etc… but in a gloriously creative and hilarious way. he said he really had to watch himself for about a week once he got home.

I’ll start looking through my diaries in the next while and if I find some funny turns of phrases etc. I’ll post them. I’m afraid this is a very dreary exercise I’ve put everyone through. it’s so dour and one-sided. I’ll try and do better.

thanks soldier for making me laugh and reminding me of one of the reasons so many of you love the life.


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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled little letters. It was posted here on April 06, 2010.

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