Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm Coming Out!

I haven't posted in a while. A long while. My original plan for this blog was for my identity to stay incognito: just some anonymous person who lived in Jacksonville and loved to skewer its idiosyncrasies. At first I found the cloak and dagger act fun but soon discovered it to be a detriment, especially while wading through emails and comments from irate readers and trying to defend myself from those wanting to know just who the hell I thought I was talking about poor Marine Wives and their love of idiotic bumper stickers (according to Blogger data, my post popular post by far).

And then I got called a coward who hid behind a keyboard. A coward! Them's fighting words.

So people want to know just who the hell I think I am. Please indulge me while I dig in to my bag o' hate mail and use the greatest hits as a springboard to answer your questions.

"I don't care what you say. Jacksonville is a great town. I grew up here and am raising my kids here. I don't know why you hate it here so much but why don't you just go back to Texas or wherever the hell you are from. We would be better off without you."

As much as I would like to blame Texas (because who doesn't love to blame Texas?!?), North Carolina claims me as one of her own. I was born and raised in one of the "Vuhls"; Fayetteville to be exact. Fayetteville is like Jacksonville's wiser big sister. Both are military towns saddled with derogatory nicknames (Fayett-Nam being the most popular choice for my hometown). Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. The place is crawling with soldiers, military spouses and military brats just like J-Vegas; just swap soldiers for Marines and rinse, lather and repeat. Unlike J-Vegas, Fayett-Nam gave up any illusion years ago that it could survive without the military. Under the old adage of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", Fayetteville caters to its entire population and reaps the benefits. Just visit Fayetteville's revived downtown area on Hay Street then take a stroll down Court Street in Jacksonville. There is a lesson to be learned there.

Now does this qualify me as a true Jacksonville local? As I have been told by numerous drunk locals in bars, Cumberland County ain't Onlsow County and Fayett-Nam ain't J-Vegas. Even though I speak with the same silly accent as them, I am not truly a local. So be it. And don't hate because I know how to properly pronounce Richlands.

" I was slightly offended here and there by what seemed to be a lack of appreciation and patriotism."
"All your talk... aren't you glad that there are people like my husband defending this great nation and allowing assholes like you to write whatever they want?"
" Too bad you never served or else you might have more sympathy."

First off, let me declare that I am indeed very grateful for the men and women who defend this nation and its ideals. Americans too often tout our rights while overlooking the fact that service members make sacrifices on a daily basis in order to ensure those very rights for us.

I do understand those sacrifices. I raised my own right hand years ago. I served* for four years and got out as a sergeant.

* In the Army. Yeah. That's right. Some of you may disqualify me right on the spot for this fact. I will just smile and say "Hooah!" I suspect some of the biggest whiners on this issue are the ones who haven't served a single day of their lives anyways (sorry but Marine Wife doesn't count as service, ladies) so I am still one up on them.

(after seeing a picture from the School of Infantry posted on my Facebook page) "You are probably one of the shitheads that shook the machine and made the 1stSgt file paperwork. You a 0311?"
"Please tell me you are a grunt."

Nope. Not a grunt. Bad enough that I was in the Army but I was also an intel weenie to boot.

"Why did you even come to Jacksonville if you hate it so much?"

After getting out of the Army, I began earning a living as a slimy defense contractor. I took a job at Quantico, which was my first exposure to the Marine Corps. After five years at Quantico, I transferred down to the Camp Lejeune office. Being a North Carolina native, I liked being closer to home. And I don't actually hate Jacksonville. I bought a house here and got married so it appears I am laying down roots. I think Jacksonville has its fair share of ridiculousness and am quick to point out its flaws but, all in all, I have a nice little life here.

"It is obvious that you have a hatred of women. We aren't all whores that cheat on our deployed husbands. But I hope you meet a woman who cheats on you cuz you deserve it."
"You left us hanging, bud. Whatever happened to the chick from the Tarheel? Did you at least nail her?"

This one makes me laugh because I am of the XX chromosome variety. Let me put that in J-Vegas bumper sticker speak: I R Female!

I don't hate my fellow women; I just hate dumb women. I can't stand a woman who acts like pushing a future Devil Dog out of her vagina is akin to curing cancer. I want to gouge my eyeballs out when women try to pull their husbands' rank on others. I want to throw myself in to the fire pit when I attend a party and women start every single one of their sentences with "Well my husband says..." But if you are a woman with her own accomplishments and are capable of forming an original thought outside of your husband, you are cool in my book.

Regarding the "chick" for the Tarheel, read that post over again and note that it is very gender neutral. I had to play a pronoun game while writing that one. True story but I had to work the verbiage as not to reveal that my dance partner was a guy and I was the female in the story. In fact, I played that game a lot with this blog, having to rework posts or completely delete them in order to ensure that people didn't figure out my gender.

So the "chick" from the Tarheel is actually my husband now. We got married last year. And, as a cheeky nod to how we met, we danced to "Fishin' In The Dark" at our wedding. The two-step, not J-Vegas style, as to not give the minister a heart attack.

"Wow!! It's so easy to throw stones when you are on the outside looking in. Thank you so much for completely misinterpreting every single military spouse decal you saw. Please, tell me what's it's like to be perfect and have the right to judge everyone else. The day you walk in these woman's shoes, is the day you get the right to say anything. You can't even imagine what's it's like to kiss your husband good-bye and not know if you will see them again"

The Bumper Sticker post draws the most fire, mainly from wives who say I know nothing about what they go through. Here is the biggest bomb of the day: I am married to a Marine, thus making me a fellow Marine wife (although not a Marine Wife because I refuse to overestimate my importance in his career and appoint myself to a proper noun status). Once upon a time, I was also an Army wife, even though I was also on Active Duty at the time. I grew up an Army brat and watched my mother be an Army wife too. Hope this qualifies me enough to be able to walk in your shoes (although I might have to take a peek at your His Boots, Her ??? sticker to know if I am walking in flops, boots or heels today).

I do really heart my Staff Sergeant Air Winger and he knows this without me having to slap a decal on my car. On his next deployment, he will know that I missed him (and he will probably figure out that he is going to get laid in a few hours) without me declaring it to everyone else driving past the air station via painted sheet. He is a hard-working Marine with many accomplishments that I am proud of... but they are HIS accomplishments. His rank belongs to him. I no longer wear rank on my collar. Sure I think he is a stud in his blues at the USMC ball but, recognizing the seriousness of the occasion, I don't try to compliment his uniform by wearing a red dress so low cut in the back that my ass crack is hanging out and a slit up to my womanhood. 

Sure there are challenges being married to a Marine: his hours are long and his schedule is irregular, he faces deployment at any time, the pay kind of sucks, we may have to uproot everything and move should he come down on orders. Here is the clincher though: I knew what I was getting in to when I married him. I have no right to bitch. If I wanted someone with good hours, I would have married a banker or a school teacher.

After receiving our official marriage certificate, it was time for the inaugural trip to the ID card center and DEERS office. Or, as I liked to refer to it as, my GI Man took me to the Land of the Big PX. Here is what I was greeted with in the parking lot:

GI Man just smirked at me and said "Welcome to the tribe." Indeed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sinkhole de Mayo

Jacksonville's three Mexican joints are sure to be packed for tomorrow's Cinco de Mayo festivities tomorrow night. Insipid all-Americana joints like Applebee's and Texas Roadhouse will try to fill the void by hawking their fajita platters and exotic Margarita-esque concoctions (Strawberry-Jalapeno Margarita!! Prickly Pear-Pomegranate Margarita Jello shots!!!!)

But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon from Jacksonville's unofficial (yet much more proactive and creative) Chamber of Commerce...

You just know that legions of young men will come armed with bags of tortilla chips, preparing to scoop guac out of a stripper's ass crack.

Oh, Driftwood... you never cease to amaze me. You always take it to the lowest common demoninator but at least you always manage to give it the old college try.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How To Speak J-Vegan

One of the most painful exchanges I ever witnessed was a Jacksonville local offering a Californian a nice helping of local cuisine known as Boiled Peanuts.
Local: Hey boy, you want some bawl'd peanuts? Got im at the gas station this murning.
Californian: Uh ok... but what makes a peanut bald?
Local: Cuz you bawl 'em!
Californian (confused): Ummm... but how does a peanut end up bald?
Local: Well they'ums bawl'd peanuts.
Californian (spitting out a mouthful): Those taste like wallpaper paste. What the hell did you do to them?
Local: Bawl 'em. What else would you do to bawl'd peanuts?

In Onslow County, bawl'd equals boiled. You bawl peanuts and, when in season, you bawl a sweet little crustacean known as shrump. Shrump can also be served over a bowl of greetz and slathered in gruvvy, and may be served with a side of soggy cooked greens swimming in ham hock grease known as cawluds.

The lexicon of the greater Jacksonville area consists of words purposely mispronounced simply to separate the locals from those invading swarms of High & Stupids and their Depend-o-potamuses. J-ville locals can smugly point out that you obviously ain't from around here when you mistakenly pronounce winders as windows.

This becomes especially apparent with J-Vegans' pronunciations of neighboring towns. Round here, Topsail is pronounced Top-suhl. Wilmington is mushed together to sound something like Wulmungtun. New Bern is N'Bun. There are the Vuhls: Fayette-Vuhl, Green-Vuhl and our own Jackson-Vuhl. Then there is the one that makes really makes my skin crawl: Rich Lands. Not Richlands... fucking Rich.Lands!!!! Really? If it is supposed to be pronounced that way, the town's founder would have put a damn space between the H and the L. If you spell it Richlands, it will be pronounced as one freaking word. I am not pronouncing it incorrectly; I just know how to read.

Wanting to throw their own dog in the fight, the military has been launching a crusade to change the pronunciation of Camp Lejeune. They lament about ol' John Lejeune hailed from a Cajun family in Louisiana and was subjected to people bastardizing his poor name while serving in the Marine Corps. Uh... wasn't this dude the commandant of the Marine Corps? I think he would have set people straight if they said his name the wrong way. For years it has been pronounced Luh-June. But you are a bag of shit if you say it that way now. Oh no... Camp F'in Luh-Jern! Only a commie bastard infidel would say otherwise.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dry Humpin' In The Dark

The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music ~Agnes de Mille

Wonder how ol’ Agnes, an esteemed American ballerina and choreographer, would view Jacksonville’s indigenous dance, a down and dirty dry hump performed on a filthy dance floor? What the Polka is to the Poles, what the Lambada is to the Brazilians, the Fishin’ In The Dark is to the residents of Jacksonville.

The Fishin’ In The Dark caught me by surprise. I was ready to blow off some steam on a Friday night and agreed to join my friends at the Tarheel Opry House. Tucked around the corner from La Mirage titty bar on a deserted back road, the Tarheel shares a parking lot with Alexander’s, Jacksonville’s self-proclaimed “premiere” nightclub. In Jacksonville-ese, labeling a place premiere simply justifies a 20 buck entry fee and bisecting the club with a velvet rope as a meager attempt to create a VIP lounge. But I digress; that is for another blog post. I pulled my vehicle to the east end of the parking lot, amid the mud-splattered American model trucks and Jeeps adorned with cute little bumper stickers of Browning deer heads forming hearts.

After handing over my cover charge, I noticed an index card taped to the front desk proclaiming “Please leave your knives in your vehicle.” Charming. I half expected Patrick Swayze to be standing at the bar, arms crossed but ready to rip my throat out Roadhouse style if I stepped out of line. Instead, I spied several geriatric rent-a-cops ambling through the crowd, pausing to chat with pregnant women sucking down longnecks and smoking cigarettes (pre-smoking ban days here, obviously). Bellying up to the bar, my friends and I ordered a round of shots that was quickly vetoed by the steely blond iron maiden bartender. She didn’t have the ingredients required to make our sissy ass shots but promised whip up something good to get the night started.

Around midnight, they unfurled an American flag up on the stage and a fiddle player began his rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”. Look, I am as much of a red-blooded, all-American patriot as the next guy, but I find it hard not to laugh at a bunch of drunk boots attempting to stand at the position of attention, thumbs aligning with pant seams, eyes straight ahead, after shooting Jager all night long. Especially when they start cheering “America! Fuck yeah!” in a seemingly un-ironic manner upon the close of the national anthem.

It was then that I heard the first chords of one of my favorite songs. “Fishin’ In The Dark” by the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band has always held a special place in my heart. It is a cheeky little ditty about a guy taking his girl fishing… except it isn’t really fishing that he is concerned with… at least in the traditional sense. I always appreciated the sly yet innocent double entendre of the lyrics. And it so happened that I had found a repeat dance partner that night who happened to be standing right by my side at the song’s start. A mutual nod confirmed that indeed we would be taking a turn on the dance floor to this song. We sauntered hand-in-hand to the dance floor, me preparing to do the traditional two-step this song demanded when…

HOLY SHIT! WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!? I had been momentarily distracted by my dance partner’s blue-grey eyes that I hadn’t noticed a fucking orgy had broken out on the dance floor.

The two-step is just way too classy for Jacksonville. Men were sprawled out on the dance floor with women gyrating above them. Men were dry humping women. Sisters were doing in for themselves by gathering their friends and squatting in pairs four or five deep over one another. People were sixty-nining, throwing legs over shoulders and going to town. I fear that some would have a souvenir of that night nine months later. Seriously… there was straight up baby-making going on that dance floor that night. Those not participating in the debauchery were arming their cell phone cameras and whooping to their friends about how they couldn’t wait to upload the footage to Youtube when they got home. It looked like we had walked on to the set of Caligula. My dance partner and I nervously eyed each other, wondering if we should really go to third base within a mere twenty minutes of meeting each other. My friends, being no help at all, egged me on and flat out dared me.

When in J-Vegas, do as the J-Vegans do. Don’t judge. I still blame the Iron Maiden bartender and those non-sissy shots.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'm back, bitches!

How time flies! My last post was over a year ago and concentrated on a conversation at the Easter dinner table. This last weekend after unbuttoning my pants to make room for another round of ham, booze and.. well.. even more booze, a random thought popped in to my head. "Hey... didn't I used to write a blog about this shithole town that I reside in?"

Truth be told, I thought nobody was reading it. I sent it out to a small group of friends and regularly begged them to read it. They rolled their eyes and pretended to humor me. Months passed by, nobody left any comments and I crawled in to the fetal position and nursed my wounded self esteem with Vicodin and Jack Daniels. Sunday I stumbled to the computer post-Easter dinner, logged in to the email linked to this account for the first time in over 6 months and HOLY SHIT people were actually responding.

Forgive me. My blogging skills are rusty so I am resorting to this tired ass Sally "You like me!" Fields reference.

Game on, J-Vegans! I am sharpening my tongue once again and not leaving the house without my camera. We are back in business.
Special thanks to the Afghan Lemmings, especially SD who took time out of his busy day of handing terrorists their asses to let me know that the blog was being circulated around his battalion. My ego is now so swollen I may have to celebrate by slamming Jager and slapping a stripper's ass in his honor. Safe return home, gents.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Overheard At My Easter Dinner

My friend "Jenna" had us all rolling with this statement: "I love people from Jacksonville. They can say things like 'Poor Molly Sue. She is butt ass ugly and sleeps with anything with a pulse. Bless her heart.' Talk all the trash you want to... just throw in a 'Bless her/his heart' at the end and you are golden."

Hmmmm.... I am going to give this a try.

I saw a group of women on Camp Lejeune power walking with strollers today. Too bad they were stuffing their faces with ice cream so their snail's pace version of exercise was totally negated. Bless their hearts.

The manager at my gym gave up the juice a few years ago so his body mass has turned to fluff. That faux-hawk he is rocking at the age of forty something doesn't help either. Bless his heart.

That Wal-Mart cashier that checked me out last week has the IQ of a gnat and probably lives in a trailer park in Southwest. Bless her heart.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome Home... Now Get Naked!

Dear Desperate Housewives of Camp Lejeune,

First off, let me say welcome home to your husbands (especially the recent return of those who came back from a deployment in Afghanistan only to turn around less than a month later and deploy to Haiti). I understand you have missed your husbands terribly. In order to prepare for his homecoming, I am sure you have spent countless hours at the tanning bed, nail salon and gym so that you are putting your best foot forward at the reunion. Your cell phone has been glued to your hip as you await news of when you can go pick him up. You might have even attended one of those sign decorating parties with the other wives. Since you are a Semper Faithful Marine Wife, you would never stoop so low to just order a custom made sign online. No... you have made sacrifices dammit and spending a few more hours painting a welcome home sign with members of your Family Readiness Group while gossiping about how fat the Company Gunny's wife has gotten is no great hardship.

Just please, please, PLEASE don't do this:

I realize you haven't gotten laid in a few months. I know you are horny as hell. Go to Adam & Eve and buy a new toy, send your hubby a sexy email where you detail exactly how you plan to make him scream like a girl... just do it privately. There is no need for your husband's buddies, Commanding Officer and anyone else who drives down Highway 24 to see that you plan to fuck your husband's brains out the moment he gets home. It is tacky. Go ahead and make a banner... but a simple "I missed you. Welcome Home" will suffice.


Viva J-Vegas (and 90% of Jacksonville's population)