An Army of One Smartass. That may become my title by November. A few days ago, I received an invite to perform for our men and women in uniform. I already got that invite before, but that was for military bases in Europe and Asia. This time, folks, I’m going to Kuwait and Iraq. It will be the first time I’ve done comedy amid gunfire since last January in Detroit. I bet I’ll feel safer in Baghdad.

I’m scheduled to be over there for about ten days next month, and I couldn’t be more excited. My family, on the other hand, seems a little apprehensive. When I told them the news, my sister honestly said, “Well I hope before you leave we can get together for one last dinner.”

One last dinner? That’s awfully gloomy. Everything will be okay, I’m sure. I just need to remember to watch my tongue. There were two reasons why the military didn’t want me when they recruited at my high school…asthma and sarcasm. And truthfully, I don’t know which one would be more life threatening in warfare.

Sometimes, unfortunately, my naiveté is misinterpreted as sarcasm. At a show last month in Jacksonville, I struck up a conversation with a Colonel. Without thinking, I asked him how the Air Force was treating him. He appeared agitated and replied, “I’m in the Army, son. I didn’t go through boot camp and warfare, crawling through mud and swamp, to be disrespected.” Lesson learned. Good thing I didn’t ask him to sing the Village People’s “In The Navy”.

That experience, however, taught me that when people endure hardship and turmoil to accomplish a feat, they want their achievement to be appreciated. Like when you call a doctor “Mr.”, some will quickly tell you they didn’t go through medical school to be called “Mister”. That’s why the band Mister Mister broke up. One guy got a PhD and their appeal was gone.

But it tends to be true…when a person goes through a lot to get somewhere, he gets upset when his exploit goes unnoticed. That’s why I truly believe fraternity hazing is alive and well. You ever call a frat boy by the wrong letters? He’ll get livid. “It’s Kappa Alpha!!! Not Kappa Theta! I didn’t take a plunger handle up the ass to be disrespected, you dick! I spent an entire semester rubbing Icy Hot on my nuts, throwing away my self esteem and individuality, dammit! And it wasn’t so I could be called a Kappa Theta!”

The difference is, neither the colonel nor the doctor curl into a fetal position and cry after they make their point. Another difference is that I have respect for military personnel and doctors. I even have respect for people who liked Mister Mister. And I will totally show my respect and appreciation while in Iraq.

Yes, it’s dangerous there. But if society has taught us anything in the past decade, it’s that we should desensitize ourselves to violence. Case in point…the video game Grand Theft Auto. It’s been on the market for years, and now it’s super controversial because kids can download sex scenes from the Internet into the game. Whoa! Suddenly there’s a gigantic problem! Never mind all the cop killing and the car stealing and the ho slapping that the game also promotes. All that is fine…just as long as the characters keep their pants on. Apparently, violence is acceptable if everyone remains clothed. If Lyndie England only humiliated prisoners before they got naked, maybe there wouldn’t be a problem.

Back to the people upset about Grand Theft Auto. I believe that some people just don’t think before they complain. Like the parents in South Africa who bitched to authorities because a gorilla in a zoo was smoking, claiming it was a bad influence for their kids. Are they serious? People, if your child’s role model is a monkey in a cage, you will not be receiving the “Parent of the Year” Award. “Timmy really looks up to you Koko. The way you throw your feces and beat your subordinates with sticks and rocks…it’s quite inspirational. Oh, and the lice eating! That couldn’t be more motivating! Wait…what are you doing? Is that a Marlboro? This is filthy malarkey! Where’s the media?”

I’m getting way off topic here. Maybe it’s because I’m pumped up about this new opportunity I’m facing. You may or may not agree with this war, but the truth is, those soldiers, airmen, and Marines need our support. And if taking a trip to tell jokes fulfills at least part of that need, then I’m all for it. I just hope that I don’t have a bad show, because if someone yells “You’re bombing!”, I will probably drop to the ground and crap my pants in fear.

When I told one friend the news, she asked, “Have you ever been there before?” I couldn’t resist the innate smartass urge that God has blessed me with, so I replied, “Yes, but it was back when Saddam was running things at the Fallujah Funny Bone. There were no hecklers because Uday and Qusay handled the bouncing duties. The trip wasn’t bad, but the only Americans there were the cab drivers, go figure.”

Of course, the truth is…this will be my first trip there. Having never been to the Middle East, I have no idea what to expect, but stay tuned for more info. If I have a chance to post something while I’m there, I most certainly will. So be sure to check this site periodically.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to practice my push ups in case I’m punished for accidentally giving in to my sarcastic urges.

Suck it, terrorists!

Categories: Columns