Our great soldier (Велик е нашия войник).

Episode 1: The Circus

1987, the Bulgarian Military Hospital.

They call me for an extended stay at the place. No more just visits for a blood test. They put me in the hospital and watch me day and night to see if I’m fit to defend whatever needs defending.

I, just like all the resident-idiots, pretend to have a problem. Everyone has a trick. They look at me strange for 3 days. Then a somebody tells me “The night before you came a guy died on that bed. He hallucinated about sheep in the last moments.” I blinked a few times and thought “Screw it, I’m not touching the bed anyway.”

Because I was forcing my liver to produce bad blood test results. And that is what happened at the end. The young military doctor told me that my liver is in a really bad shape. My billirubin was crazy high- a substance normally formed by dying red blood cells and, if excessive, resulting in yellowing of the eyes and enlarging of the liver. He told me “We will release you from the mandatory 2 year service but your liver is really bad.”

I look at him with eyes wide open and mutter “Oh no, what is next?!…” and then go silent and “terrified”. Well, of course – it has been 7 days now that I have not slept. I walk around like a zombie wrapped in a blanket, fall asleep and wake up when I hit the wall at the end of the corridor. But those poor people are watching my alcohol dehydrogenase – the enzyme that forms when you drink alcohol. Except that I know what they are watching for and I force my liver in other ways. Through exhaustion to the extreme. And eating the nasty food trying to get as much fat as I can too. Nothing else. A truly organic approach to bad blood tests.

I’d sit on a chair for a little bit but never lay down because I’d fall asleep for 3 full days or something. The most ironic thing happened when one bright sunny day I am standing on the balcony studying for my college exams. And I find a section that describes exactly my syndrome, what aggravates it, and what improves it. I thought “Life is indeed a better comedy than any movie!”

The entire hospital is full of clowns like me. One drank a self made capsule full of caustic chemical so it cause an ulcer, another one intentionally broke his hand by letting a truck fall on it, a third idiot walks around with a fake limp. One of them asked me to rate his different styles of fake limping so we chose the most convincing one. Everybody milled around in pajamas and a signature haircut that took literally 20 seconds in the basement of the hospital. Compare that to the 30 min haircut session for the officer that showed up to get a load of the free service.

A true circus. A nation of smart asses. Unfortunately.

Episode 2: About dogs and men

Throughout life we all perform all kinds of convoluted jerky movements when we think we know what is right to do. After I was released as unfit to serve in the army they told me that being such a quality material (reliable family, education, not a gypsy) I was supposed to serve at the Turkish border. Supposedly because the border service was the best – good food and great order. Plus an opportunity to be shot for fun by the Turks over the border line but you could also play it smart and get 3 days off if you shoot a trespasser. A kind of Bulgarian Army paradise of sorts, no doubt. I do not know what part of all that is true.

What I do know to be true is that early in life I missed the opportunity to learn how much I connect with dogs. At the border that was a full fusion with the animal – you become one for 2 years.

These are animals bred only for service – you can not buy one anywhere. You feed him, you sleep by him, you are always together, he listens only to you. If you are caught eating his food (best quality meat) you are sent off to the worst army units. The dogs are machines, not a moment of distraction. The worst is the time when you leave. The dog does not allow anybody else near for a month and does not eat either. The new soldier that becomes his owner can’t even walk close to the cage. But about a month later the day comes when everybody leaves the premises and the new soldier must enter the cage alone, carrying food. The dog does not eat it but it gets the message that that is the new owner. Crazy scary if you ask me – the dog is trained to apprehend and kill if needed – that is really all the dogs knows how to do – and nobody is around. He will sense any sliver of doubt when you enter the cage. You should literally leave all doubts and fears at the door – an dog-led exercise of transcending your old self. “…Abandon hope all ye who enter here..” as Virgil advised Dante upon entering the gate of Hell. Except this time without a poet by your side – just you and the beast. And you holding a load of dripping raw meat. Pretty poetic if you ask me. You are going to become something else after that day – I see no other option. More like the animal, more understanding of some things that people usually miss.

Later in life I had 7 dogs. Now 5.

So much for a perspective of what we need and what we do not need to live up when life presents it to us.

Episode 3: But why?

All the funny and strange determination to avoid the army was about the sentiment that 2 years are wasted. By complete, accomplished imbeciles – the Bulgarian army officers. Nobody question that sentiment – no matter if it was true or not.

For 2 years you literally did nothing. After the first 3 months of training you did absolutely nothing. Brain damaged officers came up with all kinds of activities to keep you occupied. If you were them and had to work with a bunch of young animals you would do the same.

Scrubbing the floor with a toothbrush like Forest Gump and Bubba did was the least of it. Any 18 year old boy had an allergic reaction to all of it so it was totally normal to try to somehow escape all of it. The more bizarre and funny the trick the better. A guy I knew pretended to be a dog and had his friend walk him on his fours on a leash for some weeks so everybody knew he was “crazy” and to win a discharge from to the military commission. Climbing all the way to the end of a super tall crane boom and singing loudly for hours while holding for dear life was another example of genius behavior. Endless and true examples of that.

The interesting part happened when all my friends started to come back. Two years wasted all right but what I saw was changed guys. Now they were somehow grown men. Not in a bad way necessarily. I guess the whole experience had to do with facing reality early in life and making sense of it your own way. Compare 20-21 year olds nowadays – hard to deny that they are largely true arrested development morons with necks and pinky fingers bent to accommodate a phone. Heck make that 35 year olds – same rude statement applies.

1987, Военна болница. Викат ме за изследвания дали съм годен да служа. Нема вече привиквания само да земат кръв. Тургат ме в болницата там да ме гледат ден и нощ дали ставам да защитавам каквото има да се защитава.

И аз като всички идиоти там се преструвам на болен. Всеки с номера си. Гледат ме странно 3 дни. Накрая един вика “Таман нощта преди да додеш едно момче умре горкото на това легло. Бълнува за некакви овце накрая.”. Премигнах и си викам “Ебал съм го, аз и без това не барам тва легло”.

Насилвах си черния дроб да им изкара лоши резултати. Така и стана. Младия военен лекар ми каза че дроба ми бил ама много зле. Билирубина ми бил ужас висок (червени кръвни клетки като мрат дето ти правят очите жълти и дроба уголемен ако са много). Вика “Тебе ще те освободим от военна служба, ама положението ти е много зле.”.

Гледам го с големи ужасени очи, викам “Леле, ами сега?!” и млъквам “ужасен”. Ми да, аз не спя вече 1 седмица, ходя като сомнамбул, заспивам докато ходя по коридора нощем, бутам се в стената накрая на коридора и тогаз се будя ебати. А те горките за алкохол дехидрогеназа ме следят – да не съм пил, това е ензима дето разгражда алкохола. Ма аз знам за кво търсят и насилвам дроба по други начини. Чрез умора до зуко. Ям и гадната храна и гледам повече от каквото мазно има да докопам. Нищо друго. Натурален подход към лъжовна кръвна картина.

Сядах само на стол за малко, никога легнал щото ще заспя за 3 дни ебати. Най-майтапа стана един ден докато стърча прав на болничния балкон и уча за изпити. А там се описва таман как работи тоя чернодробен синдром дето го имам ама преувеличавам, кое го облекчава, кое го влошава. Викам си “Живота ебати е по-комедия от всеки филм!”

Цялата болница пълна с такива тарикати като мен. Един пил химикал в капсула да му се образуа язва, друг си чупил ръката нарочно, трети куца фалшиво.

Абе цирк. Тарикатска нация. За съжаление.