Frustration can lead to a lot of shit. Psychological abuse compounded by years of sexual frustration can cause a man to become a serial killer. A young girl being shown little to no affection by her step-father can cause her to become a stripper who gives the occasional blow job. Raul Felix being tormented constantly by a fellow soldier about his shitty basketball skills can cause him to yell out nigger in a bus full of people.
Prior to deploying to Afghanistan, we had to conduct a painfully long process called SRP. An acronym whose meaning I never learned nor cared to learn. It probably stands for Sucking Raging Penis or Serious Rectal Pummeling. During this process, you have do all sorts of paperwork about your will, medical records, pay, power of attorney, next of kin, and other logistical crap to make sure that when you deploy, your records are not fucked up. Being a single, childless 20 year old whose only assets consisted of a beat up 1986 F-150, 20 gigabytes of porn, and $3000 worth of credit card debt, it was a relatively speedy process for me. I boarded the bus and waited for the others to finish.
Earlier that morning, my squad decided to play basketball for our morning physical training. I may be 6’2” and athletic, but I’m severally lacking in the coordination, talent, and skill needed to play basketball in way that doesn’t resemble old people fucking. I probably made one shot, if that, the whole game. Throughout the whole farce, my half black half mexican Ranger buddy “Resident” was talking smack on my pathetic b-ball ability. Once the game was over, I thought that would be the end of it.
I’ve been wrong before and I was wrong this time. As I’m sitting on the bus, being my young, sweet, and innocent self; Resident hops on.
Resident: “You suck so bad, Felix.”
Raul: “Fuck you.”
Resident: “Like, really, you’re just plain terrible. This is how you look.” He then begins to mimic my disgraceful shot form in slow motion while sticking his tongue out.
Raul: “Fine. Whatever. I don’t care.” I attempt to end the subject. I’ll give you a little insight into men: when we find something that we can use against another man, especially one we know well, we’ll exploit it. We’ll drive it so deeply into their skin that it will pierce their soul.
Resident continued his verbal assaults on my lackluster performance. Laughing, boisterous in fact, that he was pissing me off. I begin shaking, I can’t take this shit anymore, not from him!
Raul: “I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT BASKETBALL! THAT’S A NIGGER SPORT!” I boom out.
The bus once filled with the ambient conversations of soldiers, now stood still, crickets chirping, and had all eyes focused on Resident and I.
One-second: He and I are locking eyes. He was dumbfounded that I so bluntly said it, in fact, so was I.
Two-seconds: Still locking eyes, I clench my fists and prepare myself to get into a fight. A little backstory on Resident: he looks like Malcolm X, has angry young black man syndrome, and grew up in some shit hole neighborhood in Houston, Texas.
Three-seconds: Resident begins to show his pearly white teeth and starts laughing. Interracial violence averted, America.
Resident: “You just said… it’s a nigger sport…” he laughs uncontrollably. Just then, another one of the black dudes from my company boards the bus who missed the scene. “Felix! Tell Bee what you just said.”
Resident: “Come on… say it.”
Raul: “Basketball is a nigger sport.” I say reluctantly.
Resident repeats this process with a few other black guys in our company. All them just shook their heads and laughed.
That should have been the end of it right? If you didn’t know, soldiers are bigger gossips than college girls in a sorority after the big Spring Rush Hootenanny. Eventually, the Company Commander and First Sergeant got wind of it.
We were told the following day during morning formation that we were going to have an Equal Opportunity Briefing at 0930.
“Staff Sergeant S” was in put in charge of giving the breif and started with this.
SSG S: “I bet you’re wondering why we are having this briefing. It’s because Felix said something fucking stupid on the bus yesterday.”
Everyone pauses and looks at me.
SSG S: “What did you say, Felix?”
Raul: “Something racist, Sergeant.”
SSG S: “I know Felix isn’t god damn racist. But, thanks to him, the First Sergeant wants me to reinforce to all of you why don’t say or use racial slurs in the Army.”
He then went on to give the standard Army propaganda about how racism undermines the cohesiveness of an effective fighting force. It compromises the esprit de corps of the Regiment and can lead to being punished by the Universal Code of Military Justice. Essentially, telling us to love each other and live in racial harmony since we all bleed red.
As I think back on it, it’s one of my personal favorite moments. My obscene mouth caused my company to have an Equal Opportunity Briefing, now that’s something you can hang your hat on.
You are insensitive and must now read this: Every Race is Worthless