Black Monday

Beer, conversation, an assault at the VFW hall on Memorial Day

I ask Adams what he would have done had he not enlisted.
"I would be on the bench, with a bottle, like the others back in New Jersey," he replies.

What would he like to see change?
"If the government really wants to do something for the veterans, they need to arrange it so there are more veterans' hospitals. One of the things that probably bothers a lot of combat veterans is that they are denied their space, and other people who came in the service that never saw combat, never did anything, and they have the same privileges and rights and stuff. The real war heroes ought to have priorities in these places. The ones who were wounded and hurt in action."

Comparing the days when he served, when he actually saw combat, to these, Adams says the kids coming into service now are a little different breed.

"We were indoctrinated in those days to die, to die, die. People right now want to use the technology, they don't want to die, and they want to stay out of the way. Now the kids are like, 'What's in it for me?' Not, 'What can I do for the mother country; how can I save the country?' And I don't blame them. Nobody wants to die. But I'm gonna tell you this: In those days, those men charged. Those days are over."

Wilson goes off on a tangent about Phoenix's police chief. He stands up to make his point, but the main point he makes is that he can barely stand.

"You write for that cheap-ass paper? Then tell that [police chief] Harold Hurtt, [Wilson] says, 'You can kiss my ass.' When that mutha fucka made captain he had nothin' else to do with his people. I knowed him, I played semi-pro baseball for him years before. Is he a black man who is chief of police, or is a chief of police that's a black man? And I think he's a cold-blooded son of a bitch."

Wilson moves on to prattle at somebody else.
Adams still can't believe we just waltzed into this place. He says half-jokingly that when he saw us come in, he thought I was just another dumb white dude.

"Can I say something that isn't meant to offend?" he asks. "What is it about you white people anyway? Always going in harm's way. Look at Evel Knievel junior, wanting to jump that canyon. A black person would have built a bridge to the other side. White people are always going where they don't belong."

He has a point; white people can be pretty obtrusive, obnoxious and demanding of space. I tell him I think being white can be boring. He still says it was crazy for us to come down here. He says he'd never do anything like it, like walk into a bar full of rednecks.

And I tell him that entering a bar full of rednecks is something I try to avoid, too.

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