Was not THIS the Veteran's Day Weekend in which America was supposed to get all reverential and sanctimonious about Pat F-ing Tillman?
If it was, well ... some of us didn't pay any more mind to Pat F-ing Tillman than we normally do on the traditional anniversary of World War I ending on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
While it may sound like sacrilege or heresy to call him "Pat F-ing Tillman," according to the latest findings in the death by so-called "friendly fire" roughly 30 months ago, those were the final words of the Army Ranger and Arizona Cardinal/Arizona State Sun Devil/Leland High Charger safety.
In the cover story of the Sept. 11 Sports Illustrated ... throughout the in-depth ESPN "Outside The Lines" piece ... and in the most-recent Associated Press story, those who re-told the story of the final hours of America's favorite soldier seemed to go out of their way to play up the G.I. I.D.ing himself: "I'm Pat Fucking Tillman, dammit!"
Actually, the roll call went like this:
Sports Illustrated: "Pat F------ Tillman."
ESPN: Pat (bleep!) Tillman."
AP: Pat (expletive) Tillman."
First of all, we've come to learn that, through time, the F-bomb is an indiscriminately-used piece of artillery.
Secondly, if the F-bomb IS the chief weapon in one's fuckabulary, it seems like a poor tactical strategy to deploy it in such a helter-skelter fashion.
Such as using it as a middle name.
Abraham F-ing Lincoln didn't.
Martin Luther F-ing King didn't.
William F-ing Shakespeare didn't.
Joan of Arc probably DID, though.
She was a rebel.
"Cease fire, friendlies ... I'm Pat Flipping Tillman!"
Let's face it ... it's just not a battlecry with any "ooomph."
Somebody (i.e., a commanding officer, maybe a dad or a high school coach who thought it was okay for Young Pat to do a lot of under-aged drinking), maybe should've taken charge and provided guidance for America's #1 War Hero, instructing him that, upon facing death, he should leave his troops with these words:
"If you find yourself alone, riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium ... and you are ALREADY DEAD!"
Seriously, when the F did the profound lose a poularity contest to the profane?
What happened to battlecries such as, "At my signal, unleash hell" and "What we do in life, echoes in eternity"?
When Pat F-ing Tillman is portrayed as someone who over-uses the words "dude" and ("flock"), it diminishes his status as a "deep-thinker" and modern-day philosopher/injustice-fighter.
In other words, he comes off lookin' like a dumbfuck.
America, though, continues to link Soldier Pat Frickin' Tillman to Athlete Pat Freakin' Tillman with some star-spangled prose.
And what cannot be crafted with words can be immortalized with granite/bronze/marble/other.
Such as that statue which was unveiled yesterday outside the Cardinals' new stadium -- in an area they're calling "Pat Tillman Freedom Plaza."
Talk about killing the kid all over again.
Several "creative" minds decided to have Tillman sculpted from the image of the famous photo (a one-time S.I. cover photo) wherein he's a Cardinal with hair flying upward.
Folks ... this does NOT translate well to the chisel-and-stone genre.
What we get is something comical.
8-year-old Timmy to his father: "Daddy, why is the screaming amphibian with his head on fire wearing a #40 jersey?"
Timmy's dad: "I don't think those are supposed to be flames, Timmy. They look more like eels."
As far as statues go, there's nothing patriotic, heroic or dignified about what some geniuses did to one of America's Greatest War Heroes. It's almost as bad as the statue of Johnny Unitas outside of Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.
If you've seen it, you can't help but notice that the sculpture of a looking-deep-downfield Johnny U. is depicted with a package the size of a canteloupe (or a volleyball).
These statues serve as a reminder to the American public the damage that is done when clods who've never seen much football attempt to offer their artistic impression of the sport.
A fingerpainting might've better captured the essence of Pat F-ing Tillman and Johnny U.
Another thing: Pat F-ing Tillman isn't a sports story any more. It's a hot-potato issue for CNN's Anderson F-ing Cooper and the Pentagon to lob back n' forth.
As an aside to the "Why Did Ill-Equiped, Poorly-Trained U.S. Soldiers Kill Pat F-ing Tillman & Why Is The U.S. Government Covering It Up?" the Afghan soldier who died with Tillman in April '04 was referred to as either "an allied Afghan" or "the Afghani guy" by Tillman's platoonmates.
Sorta makes ya wonder if there's any point sending out a memo to the media and the U.S. Army on the matter of:
"That Afghani had a name, ya Yankee pricks."
On the other hand, this story isn't about John Doe Afghani. After all, it's Afghanistan's problem if John Doe Afghani doesn't have the proper satellite/cable opportunities to watch Pat F-ing Tillman play college or pro ball.
Then again, the Pentagon is likely covering up what John Doe Afghani's whispered to Pat F-ing Tillman with his dying breath.
"I bet my neighbor 50 head of sheep that you would lose the Rose Bowl to Ohio State. Praise be to Allah and to Joe Germaine."
Bottom line: Nobody, in his/her heart of hearts, wants to believe that the Pentagon was complicit in a cover-up in the Tillman death. By the same token, the fact that Tillman was an ex-NFL'er shouldn't translate to a disproportionate amount of time spent on said investigation.
For instance, there's that passage from the S.I. piece wherein Tillman is quoted, "This war is so f------- illegal?"
Again with the "f------."
And, define "illegal."
Like drug-smuggling illegal? Like cheating on your income taxes illegal? Like driving faster than the posted speed limit illegal?
The illegality, morality and Constitutionality of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is not to be debated here, save for the way that it reminds us of the time that Detective Prendergast (robbery) held a gun on Bill Foster on the Santa Monica Pier.
D-Fens: "I did everything they told me to. Did you know I build missiles? I helped to protect America. You should be rewarded for that. Instead, they give it to the plastic surgeon. Y'know, they lied to me."
Prendergast: "Is that what this is about? You're angry because you got lied to? Is that why my chicken dinner is drying out in the oven? Hey, they lie to everybody. They lie to the fish. But, that doesn't give you the right to do what you did today."
This probably isn't the time to split hairs between what constitutes a "lie" and what is, by definition, "misleading."
What the Tillman family/friends/devotees may not be willing to admit is that Pat F-ing Tillman "enlisted." Those of us who spent Memorial Day at the Vietnam Memorial in D.C. took a long, hard, somber look at that wall bearing the names of thousands of dead Americans who were "drafted."
Y'spose they were ever lied to/misled up until the very day that they died at the hands of the Viet Cong? For those who had 19-year-old cousins who bled out in a rice field, the notion of Pat F-ing Tillman as wartime icon is laughable.
For those who work everyday in the V.A. hospital and have to help incapacitated combat vets wipe their asses, Pat F-ing Tillman is a meaningless concept.
For Sgt. Luke Murphy (featured yesterday on CNN) and the thousands like him (amputated right leg; excruciating pain in left leg), the fact that Pat F-ing Tillman's family was lied to may seem somewhat trivial.
That's why it's called "war," folks -- and not "on-line Texas Hold 'Em."
And, in a war wherein car bombs obliterate women, children and civilians, looking for answers re: Col. Jessup ordering the Code Red has us all yelling, "You want answers?" ("I think I'm entitled.") "You want answers?" (" I want THE TRUTH!") "You can't handle the truth!"
On his national radio show last week, Dan Patrick hopped on the jingoistic bandwagon, suggesting that the Cardinals should be allowed to show appreciation by marking the 40-yard in a special way, as a tribute to Tillman, who wore #40 for the Cards..
Super idea, D.P.!
Except that if ya do that for Tillman, then you'd need a special yard-marker for Bob Kalsu, the Buffalo Bills offensive lineman who was killed in Vietnam.
We'd either have to mark the 77-yard line (to recognize the #77 that Kalsu wore at Oklahoma) or the 61-yard line (to commemorate the #61 which Kalsu wore with the Bills).
Chances are, if Pat F-ing Tillman knew what a big deal everyone is making, he'd be F-ing pissed.
That was the most-admirable trait of P-Till, Soldier Boy -- the fact that he steadfastly refused to talk about his call to duty.
Which is why some of us keep this trading card of Pat Till ... hey! That's not Pat F-ing Tillman!
It's former Cardinals receiver Pat Tilley.
Anyway, a lot of us spent Veterans Day '06 remembering that Veterans Day '04 was the day that 24-year-old 2nd Lt. James Patrick Blecksmith was gunned down by a sniper in Fallujah.
To some of us, J.P. Blecksmith is the athlete/soldier at the top of our Athlete/Soldier Who's Who honor roll.
The Baltimore Sun, surprisingly, published a fascinating feature on Blecksmith before the Army-Navy game two years ago.
In short, Blecksmith arrived at the Naval Academy from Santa Monica, a QB who passed up what might have been a promising career in the Pac-10 and, eventually, the NFL.
The story told of Blecksmith's teammates respecting his physical attributes (6-foot-3/220 lbs.) and his athleticism (throwing a football 80 yards on the fly on a cold day) and his dedication.
Despite those plusses, Blecksmith got lost in the shuffle under then-coach Charlie Weatherbie. Playing defense and special teams, there was nothing special about the Midshipmen's 3-30 record during Blecksmith's playing days.
To be sure, those were some dreadful Navy teams.
What the story didn't point out is that when J.P. Blecksmith was a senior at Flintridge Prep in La Canada, CA, he was in some semi-illustrious QB company during that autumn of '98.
Among the nation's top prep signal callers were the likes of Eli Manning in New Orleans, Rex Grossman in Bloomington, IN, Chris Simms in Franklin Lakes, NJ ... as well as Ken Dorsey in Orinda, CA (QB of the '01 national champion Hurricanes), Craig Krenzel in Utica, Michigan (QB for the '02 national champion Buckeyes) and Jason White in Tuttle, Oklahoma (the '03 Heisman Trophy winner).
If J.P. Blecksmith had left Annapolis and walked on at USC or UCLA -- thoughts he had seriously considered -- maybe he would've beaten out Carson Palmer for the starting job as 'SC's QB in the fall of '02 ... and the course of mankind would've been changed forever.
Well, that's revisionist history.
Blecksmith chose to honor his military commitment.
J.P. Blecksmith's father, Edward (an ex-Marine who served in Vietnam), said, "Before he graduated, he told me, 'I wanted to better myself as a football player and a Marine officer. One of those goals I'll never achieve.' He did a lot in his 24 years. He was a real physical specimen. It's hard to accept that he got killed by one lucky shot to the left shoulder."
Amir Jenkins was a teammate of Blecksmith's -- only by the time Jenkins, a receiver, was a senior, Navy was undergoing its resurgence under current coach Paul Johnson.
Said Jenkins: "J.P. would have been the perfect fit at any of those (Pac-10) schools, working out of the shotgun (formation). He had the strongest arm on our team, by far.
"He sacrificed a lot to be here. Not only did he sacrifice maybe an NFL career, he sacrificed a lot of wins that his senior class didn't get. But he came here with the intention of being a Marine, and that's what he did."
Guess that's why they call them "the few, the proud" ...