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What YOU can do to make the world better

February 20, 2008
Posted at 6:35 pm
Updated: February 21, 2008 - 9:27 am

I've harped several times in this blog about people who send me anonymous feedback. My last rant even gave you some examples of what I receive, and how I might have responded, if I'd had an address to respond to.

But, in the interests of transparency (which, by the way, I'm not required to do) and balance, I have to share another anonymous email I got. I wish I could respond to this one too.

This man refers to "William" and "Bobby Dalton", who are characters in the series I've been posting called "The Making of a Gigolo". For those of you who read my blog, but haven't read this series, William is a disabled Vietnam vet, and Bobby is sort of the hero, kind of, in a way, of the series. Bobby, when he met William, didn't try to ignore the disability, or pretend that everything was going to be fine.

And now, the email:

At this time when many service men are returning
from Iraq all shot to hell, and with
psychological and emotional injuries, and Viet
Nam vets are still suffering neglect, it is
touching to see William included in this latest

In my heart I wish there was a Bobby Dalton for
every wounded man and woman. He will not cover
over their pain and pretend it away; he will help
them draw forth the best that is in them and
others to begin the healing process.

I was walking my dog recently and met another
former Marine walking his dog. He'd seen the
sticker on the back window of my truck and asked
if I'd been in the Marine Corps. Right there on
the spot the pain and anguish of his experiences
in Viet Nam started pouring out. All these years
of living a relatively normal life and his
emotional wounds were still raw. He was not a
weak man. He was not looking for sympathy or a
hand out. He had just met another dog lover and
sensed someone who was willing to listen and not
judge. The dogs got along great, too.

Thanks for the story.


You see, regardless of your politics, or how you feel about the Iraq war, or how much you want to affect the decisions our leadership, present and future, concerning that war, there is something you can do right now, today or tomorrow, that can have a lasting positive impact.

It doesn't take money. It doesn't require you to write your congressman. There are no signs or placards to carry. All it takes is some of your time, and a willingness to relate as a human being to another human being who is hurting.

A lot of my readers are vets. I don't know why that is, but it seems to be that way. Of course they know other vets, and have an intimate understanding of what injured ... and even "uninjured" vets ... have gone through, or are going through.

But a lot of you probably don't know a single soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. You can change that. Hundreds of thousands of men and women have gone where they were told to go, and done the best they could at what they were tasked with. They could all use a friend from the civilian ranks, who can talk to them as just one guy or gal to another.

It doesn't matter that you don't understand what they've gone through. You certainly don't have to talk to them about that. Leave that to the pros. But you CAN talk about baseball, or food, or hobbies, or cars, or music, or movies you like, or even how much you miss white out, because it smelled so good.

Offer friendship to someone who needs a friend. If it's a vet, that's great, but the same could be said for a homeless person, or someone who can't find a job, or who has gone through a messy divorce or any number of other debilitating situations.

Sure, you may get a real earful of shit in the process, but you can make a hell of a difference just by sacrificing your ear for an hour or two, every once in a while.

We're all in this together folks. We're all brothers and sisters, or at least cousins if you go back far enough in time. Some of us are doing better than others. That doesn't mean we should ignore the rest.

I salute Dick for stopping to listen to a hurting brother. I wish I could have told him how proud I am of him.

You can be a "Bobby Dalton", just like Dick was. It's easy. Just offer the hand of friendship, and be willing to listen.