She was watching the scene where a Marine Battalion Commander is giving the entire Battalion a motivational speech before they deploy to Iraq, in 1991.
She was trying to understand what was going on in the movie, and compare the man to me.
She turned abruptly to me and said,
“Donny, who is dis man’s dere?” She pointed at the Battalion Commander on the TV screen. “He is de supervisor to dese mens?”
I laughed, I never thought of a Battalion Commander as a supervisor.
“Yes, he is in command of all those men. He is in charge. The boss.”
“Ohhh I see.” She pondered for a second. “And how you can get dat job?”
“You have to kiss the ass of the guys above you.” I made a kissing sound. Grandma laughed, then said,
“Oh shutup… But really, how you can be? What is de job?”
I knew she was asking about rank.
“He’s a Lieutenant Colonel, and he’s in charge of about 800 Marines. You have to be an Officer in the Marines for at least 15 years before you can do that job.”
“Ohhhhh. Ok.” She paused a second, then turned to me, “Sow what you do over dere?” She said, pointing to the TV screen. You are de Captains?”
“Yes I’m a Captain now, but in Afghanistan I was a Lieutenant, so I only commanded 40 Marines”
“Oh wow, that’s a big job”
“Ehhh, its not that big, but It’s a fun job”
I sat with her and we watched the movie together for another 15 minutes before she turned to speak to me again. I’m glad I stayed.
She was very hesitant with this question, which is unlike her.
“Donny, can I ask you de question about de war?”
“Of course, anything”
“Do the mens have women ova dere?”
“So whayyou do for….you know?” She didn’t want to flat out ask me how long I was tortured by a lack of vagina, so she kept beating around the bush. “For how long….there is no womens?”
She leaned her head back in shock “Oh my Gah, Don, its too long” She looked as if it was the worst tragedy of war.
I had a quick flashback to jerking off in a porta potty with steaming hot shit under me.
“Yeah, you’re telling me….”
She took her eyes off the TV screen and instead stared at the ceiling as she pondered something profound. A few minutes later she came out with it. She leaned towards me,
“This is why de mens and the mens make de sex right?” As she said it, she did the international hand signal for two gay men having sex, which, obviously, is touching two index fingers together repeatedly.
I almost fell out of my chair laughing. When I finally caught my breath, I was bright red in the face.
“No grandma, if you are not gay you don’t all of a sudden become gay in war. You are either born gay, or your not.”
She lowered her eyes at me as if I said something stupid, ignorant, and juvenile. She spoke slowly.
“Donny, please. Don’t say eh stupid things to me. “ She shook her head as if she was really disappointed that I would say something so ignorant. “De gay is de sickness. Dese people are bery, bery unfortunate people. You don’t be born to make de sex with de men.”
I laughed loud again, “No grandma, that’s not right,” I sat up in my chair and got ready to teach the teacher. “You are born gay, you don’t choose to be gay. How do you know? Have you ever spoken about this with gay people?”
She shook her head uncomfortably, “Noooooooo, Donny, I don’t talk about dese things with them. Iss no right. Iss no my place.” She looked away.
“Well you should, that way you understand them.”
She tilted her head, as if she was beginning to agree with me. “Well, maybe”
“Are you friends with any gay people?”
She looked at me like I was an idiot, “Of course! I live in New YorCity. Many many thousands of de gays. Especially in de East Village. Oh, and eh South of Houston.” She threw her hands up in despair. “Oh forget it, all de mens is hold de hands, eh kissing, many things.”
“Yeah, and, what’d you think?”
She leaned her down “Oh, well, BERRRY nice eh people. Bery clean, eh polite, make good money. Eh professionals, you know. De gay peoples is bery professionals.” She did the international hand signal for a professional, which was to grab the imaginary lapels on a suit with her index fingers and thumbs, and gently drag her fingers down the lapels to the bottom of the imaginary suit jacket. When she completed this hand signal she continued teaching me about the professions that gay men were involved in.
“Eh lawyer, eh architecto, engineer, make de painting, de movies, Broadway, you know. …Dey make a good business.” She shrugged as if we were agreeing on it.
I smiled hearing her more educated, inner flower expose itself.
We sat silently and watched the movie for another 10 minutes.
Once again, she turned abruptly to me and broke the silence, She pointed to her own brain, she obviously had something on her mind.
“So I thinky….” She held the pose for a moment to increase the tension, “I know what de mens do.”
“What men do what?”
She pointed to the TV screen, “When you ova dere.” Before I could respond, she made the international hand signal for jerking off. Her very short and fast hand movement indicated a painfully small penis.
I rolled off the couch and onto the floor with laughter. I even peed myself a little. Grandma got a real kick out of her own revelation and rocked back with laughter in her chair.
If she only knew how frequently men jerked off in combat….
She waited till my laughing subsided, then hit it again, “Wait, wait, like dis”
She did the jerking off motion again, this time making a fish face as she did it. Why she chose a fish face instead of an O face I don’t know, but it worked, and I laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe.
She loved the laughter that her hand motion was creating, so she kept doing it, varying the speed and length of the stroke, and even rocking her hips in her rocking chair as she did it.
I didn’t breath for several minutes, and neither did she. We laughed until our sides hurt and I worried she was going to have an asthma attack.
She finally waved her hand at me as if to say, “Okay, Im done, that’s too much!”
When I found my breathe I said, “Actually, yes, exactly like that.” I spared her the details of my daily Afghan ritual.
She waved her hand at me again and wiped her mouth, picking up the drool she had from the laughter. Then she looked away laughing and said “you go to eat. Please, don’t be gay, I want de grandhildren.” She laughed to herself again.
She looked at me angrily, then …….