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As my own experiences were many and varied, I've found few who have expressed themselves as well as writer, author, cartoonist Tad Foster has in his book "The Vietnam Funny Book."  A satire of his Vietnam experiences.

Foster writes as follows: The Vietnam Funny Book is the living testimony of Grunts.  It was the tour guide, conceived in a soggy ditch by truth and fostered by laugher.

The truth at home was still "the police action" and upholstered B-52s.  It was Cowboys and Indians and Capital gains.  It was the "home team" on tour and "is the food hot, honey?" truth.  It was visioned as the Bob Hope Special, John Wayne, and the USO camouflaged, it was the great American migraine.

At home, the newspapers delivered the score, and on the field, the home team wetted their thirst with thin mud.

The Vietnam truth was exposed, dry bone.  The textbooks stayed home.  The classroom rule was unmistakable.  The game was thirteen months, half time maybe Singapore.  Ultimately, the game was each man's own.  The game and the goal was survival.

Vietnam was a land of threats.  The ground was a snare.  The night was in the adams-apple of the beast.  The jungle was F___ You Tarzan and the northern plains, an elephant grass sea of cutting blades.  Existence was now you see it, now you don't.

Hard times sold cigarettes for a dollar and the tin can menu was always the same.  Attitudes killed.  And so could the mail.  Time was insanity's henchman.  Seconds were lifetimes, and sleep was a dream.

Survival forced its dues and EVERYONE paid.  Callousness spread along with guts and laughter was a lonely cry in the overcast of stay alive. 

The Vietnam Funny Book was drawn from the cry deep in the throat.  It was the monster truth, swallowed, acknowledged, and laughed back up.  It was humor, the guardian of the mind.  It was an antidote to insanity.


                                   The porcelain dream.


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Copyright (c) of Greg Houk, 2004