Sunday, May 20, 2007



My name is Dick Cheney. No, not that Dick Cheney, but Richard P. Cheney, of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I graduated from Nathan Hale Senior Highschool in 1968, got drafted and spent 11 months in Vietnam. Infantry. An M16 and a pack of smokes. I came home missing one leg, five fingers and a nut. A couple of those fingers I traded for the nut that I kept, and while it wasn’t a happy trade, it was a good one.

Betsy’s alright with it. And Sara and Jasmine - my daughters. But hey, a nut is a nut is a nut. Though whether I’ve got one, two or three nuts the girls don’t know, or care, unless Betsy went and told them.

There’s a bunch of us came out of Nam with only one nut or the other, and during rehab at Walter Reed it just made sense when some of us formed the One Nut Club. Whether to let in the guys with no nuts or not was a tough call, and we finally decided against it by secret ballot, not wanting to embarrass anybody without any nuts with a show of hands. Mostly it was a question of luck, which we had, and no luck, which they had.

I admit to feeling a little silly relating all of this here. It’s not only a guy thing, but an Army thing on top of a guy thing, and a combat thing still on top of that. Not everybody will see the humor in it. Or maybe, I guess, catch the spirit of it. We’re just lucky swinging dicks and we know it.

Which brings me to Iraq, and the other Dick Cheney. Dick B. Cheney. The never-wore-a-uniform-let-alone-saw-combat Dick Cheney. The so-far-as-I-know–still-double-nutted Dick Cheney. Not to spend undue time on the contents of Dick Cheney’s scrotum and that scrotum’s luck. But not all of the American scrotums in Iraq some have been so lucky, compared to Dick Cheney’s scrotum, still swinging with its old man cargo.

Meanwhile, here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Dick Cheney that I am teaches American history to eighth and ninth graders at Byrd Junior Highschool. The Dick Cheney that I am may not command the President’s ear, but the kids I teach are good kids who believe in fair play. Still, the parents of these kids mostly voted to support Cheney’s war, and last week one of those parents came in angry because in class I’d compared George Bush’s lies about WMDs to Lyndon Johnson’s lie about an attack on a US ship in the Gulf of Tonkin, so he could get us deeper into Vietnam.

“We thought there were WMDs,” the parent said. “Because we thought so doesn’t make it a lie.” He got right up in my face with two good legs and ten fingers of fist and an American flag pin next to a little gold cross stuck into the lapel of his navy blue blazer.

I lifted my own clenched and fingerless fist up under his nose so he could see who he was talking to. “Sir,” I said, “with all due respect, let me show you something on the blackboard.”

A fist without fingers in your face is a warning reasonable men understand, and he softened his temper with a deep breath. I put my broken hand in my sweater pocket and with my other hand picked up a piece of chalk. It was a new piece of chalk and it moved across the board without a squeak. “Dick P. Cheney fought a war,” I printed in tall, square letters. “Dick P. Cheney,” I printed so he could read it, “has one great big freaking nut.”

Author bio:

Bruce Barrow works as a documentary film producer and editor in Portland, Oregon. He's had stories published online and in the small print press.


Anonymous said...

Hey, are you the Bruce Barrow that we called "BAD ASS Barrow" at Byrd Jr. High in 1969? The guy who had Louie Miller hiding under the stairs in fear of you? The guy who ran Coach Slyman into the pool as he fled in terror? The guy who punched his way out of the smoke hole at the end of the athletic field?

You gotta be....

Anonymous said...

Hey, are you the Bruce Barrow from Tulsa that we called "Bad Ass Barrow" at Byrd Jr. High in 1969? The guy who had Louie Miller hiding under the stairs in fear? The guy who had Coach Slyman jump into the pool to get out of your way? The guy who punched his way out of the smokehole at the end of the athletic field?
Well.... are you?