I'm sorry I will not be able to support any soldiers
at this time. I have a family and a house with slanting floors.
There is a merciless dampness in the basement,
a broken toilet, and several of the windows are painted shut.
I do not pretend my dread is anything like the dread
of men at war. Had I smaller feet, I would have gladly enlisted
myself. In fact, I come from a long line of military men.
My grandfather died heroically in 1965, though his medals have been
lost. I try to serve my country by killing houseflies. I am fully
aware of their usefulness, especially in matters of decay.
Napoleon's surgeon general, Baron Dominique Larrey,
reported during France's 1829 campaign
in Syria that certain species of fly only consumed
what was already dead and had a generally positive effect on wounds.
I bet when my grandfather was found,
his corpse shimmered in maggots, free of disease. As you can
tell, I know a little something about civilization.
I realize that when you said "Freedom," you were talking
about the meat we kill for, the head of the enemy leaking
in the bushes, how all of it makes peace possible.
Without firearms I know most violence would be impractical.
I thank you, nonetheless, for mentioning how soldiers
exist to defend my way of life. I am sure
any one of them would be an excellent guardian of my
house. I admit I have no capacity for rifles or gadgetry.
I cannot use rulers accurately. I realize
the common fly, like the soldier, is what makes us civilized.
And I admit my awe looking on the marine with a talent
for making the eagle tattooed across his back rear its talons.
I realize were it not for the sacrifices of these young boys,
America would no longer have its source
of power. I have given considerable thought to your
offer, but I simply am unable to offer my support.
--Terrance Hayes, also here