Modern Warfare

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It’s five o’ clock. Your work day ends. Or you put down your pen and suspend all academic advances. You come home; undress, de-stress and clear your mind. You find the remote control and flip on the television, relishing in your enthusiasm to exercise the joints of your fingers, and your imagination.



The screen flickers and on it appears a soldier. The fatigues on his body match the fatigue in his body. In his reality it is also five o’ clock. But work doesn’t end for him. School bells do not ring. His relief is late and has left him starving for a bed and a hot chow—the only two things that keep him going, now.



Press ‘X’ and ‘O’ in combo and have him prone out, covering his sector of fire, scanning for enemies. This level is dangerous territory. Low crawl with one hand and with the other, crack open a Coors Light and refresh. Then press on.



The soldier puts his face in the mud. He wonders why he even tries. Then he thinks of his son. So with his M16 strapped and racked with a round in the chamber, he moves to obey the orders of the unseen controller.



You find him cover, so you make him wait. But a shot rings out!

‘L’-Release the magazine.

‘R’-Slap in a fresh 30.

‘XXL'?

‘O’!

‘XXO’ to engage! Enraged and overtaken, you throw the remote to the floor. That can of Coors, you kill it, then go look to see what the wife’s got cookin’ on the skillet.



But over the sizzling, what you neglect to hear is the sound of that soldier screaming. That 7.62 round found its target. That bullet struck his chest and made a bloody mess of his torso. More so, it nicked a lung. He gasps, desperate to hang on.



Meanwhile, in peaceful civility, you maintain the liberty to step freely, without worry of a claymore. Or the privilege of your feet not having to be sore, from combat boots that tread on unwelcome soil. You eat dinner promptly at six. But at six, another soldier is picks up the rigid body of the man you left to dies upon your 62 inch HD plasma screen.



The man trapped in the idiot box stops, and weeps over his fallen comrade. And though he may be sad, he cannot risk exposure. There is an anger inside of him and it builds. So he wraps that heat around himself and reestablishes his composure. He only has mere seconds before the enemy returns. And so he turns, so that he may live to see another day.



With dinner complete, you then take your seat back and continue with your mission. Clueless to the tragedy to which you have missed. Bored of such mindless repetition, you dismiss the soldiers from the screen. And turn to watch the seven o’ clock news.



The console may be off, but for us soldiers, the levels just keep getting harder. The enemy’s getting smarter. The days are getting longer.

You wake to alarm clocks.

We wake to gunshots.

You complain to yourself that life isn’t fair. We adapt and overcome, because every day, we play Modern Warfare. Because to us, war is not a game. It’s a reality. And any second counting could be a moment of fatality. No respawn, no restart, no second or third chances. Because at the end of the day, the soldier’s Prestige, is if he lives.





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