Rules of Engagement in the Boxing Ring
Scott is my apolitical boxing student who was in the Marines and is now in the reserves. He has every right to be political, considering he put his life on the line for us. But no, he does not pontificate on politics while our weakling bearded activists petition for peace, marching in little lines where they sing off-key and hand out the confetti of their biased ideas.
Scott’s the only guy I know who has been to Iraq. Well, he’s the only one I have access to during the hour I teach him boxing. It’s a pleasure to see what he thinks and learn what’s out there beyond the liberal hermaphrodites of Brooklyn.
This morning at Gleason's boxing gym, he tells me that he liked being in the Marines because they weren’t restricted by suicidal rules. If he saw a terrorist in a building, he could bring the whole building down to kill him, regardless of if there were civilians there. If he made it look good, it was good.
“They can’t do that in the Army,” Scott said.
“What kind of an idiot would go into the Army and have to ask permission to shoot a guy who was aiming a gun at his head?” I asked.
“That’s why I went into the Marines.”
“I can’t believe how our government must hate you soldiers. The army was built for self-defense, and they don’t want you to defend yourselves or us. They want you dead. Or they don’t want it, but the result of their political correctness is your death. They’re just not honest enough to admit it.”
“You might be right.”
“I think it’s because our bureaucrats and peaceniks are jealous of you. They wish they had your courage. So they try to make you look like butchers and throw you unarmed into battle. They want to hurt you for being braver than them. I can’t imagine telling you not to shoot a possible civilian when he might be a possible terrorist. It reminds me of John Kerry, taking the enemy’s side during Vietnam. Hey John, don’t you think the Viet Cong did a little torture, too? Some secretary of defense.”
“Maybe you should enlist.”
“Do you think they’d let me at 67?” I laughed. I could probably do it. I’m in the shape of a twenty-five-year-old. When I was in jail for tax evasion (I’m Thoreau), I tried to go to prison boot camp, but they laughed at me because I was in my forties. I turned pro as a boxer at forty-four. I could do anything. I’m a freak physically. At least for a few more years, until I fall apart.
“I don’t know. You can do twenty pull-ups. I think you’d make it,” Scott said.
“I’m too chicken, Scott. I don’t want to spend my last twenty years on prosthetics. Also, I couldn’t follow empathetic, chicken-hearted rules like I can’t shoot a terrorist if he might be a civilian. I might go to Afghanistan to defend America, not the Taliban.”
“Who am I sparring?”
“I thought you had brain damage?”
“I do. No hitting to the head. We’ll work the body. Well, I guess those are my rules of engagement. But then again, I’m pragmatic, unlike Obama. The rules are for my favor. I side with myself.”
“You’re nuts,” Scott said.
“Just passing the time. Just trying to have some fun in a country where the President has ruined the economy, weakened us internationally, failed to minister to the veterans, used the IRS as a weapon, ruined our health care system, and given us lying optimistic speeches that ended in failed results.”
“You think it’s that bad?”
“When I was a teenager, I used to punch myself in the face. Now I don’t have to. I have Obama punching me. If I had been sucker enough to vote for him, I couldn’t live with myself. I’d enlist in his Army, stack the odds against myself.”
“You’re a pessimist.”
“Not about beating you,” I said. And we started moving around the ring. And it was glorious to be alive, and younger than I was.