darkest hour

I was turning off the alarm on my phone this morning when I noticed that I had three notifications. Two were calendar notifications and one was a text from a friend of mine. We’ll call that friend “Noah” for this story.

The first was a reminder that I have every year on November 11th to remind me that it is Marc Summers’ birthday. The host of Nickelodeon’s Double Dare and Food Network Unwrapped turned 69 today. The big Six-Nine. The Sex Number. Happy Birthday, Marc!

The second was a holiday alert. Veterans Day. I went to send a text message to my girlfriend’s husband and my step-dad, Greg, thanking for their service when I noticed the final notification.

It was a text from Noah. What did it say? “Are you going to thank me? My work address is (Redacted). Feel free to send flowers and/or lunch.”

I went to his facebook page and he had posted 16 military memes and two photos. One photo was him in a sailors outfit, and the other was him in his Peace Corps Uniform. He wrote a three paragraph about the two tours that he served, and how much he cared about the men and women who stood by him on the frontlines.

There’s one of him in every mall food court and IHOP across America. Men who say they just returned from a trip overseas, but the scariest thing they’ve ever seen been was the Space Shot at Adventureland. They said they trained at Camp Pendleton, but really spent a summer living with their ant in Long Beach. The only Medal of Honor he’ll ever see is on a PlayStation2.

I went over to his house for lunch (to speak with his father) and he was sitting on the couch playing Mount Your Friends. I asked him when he got back, and he just told me, “Navy had a half day.”

It’s called Stolen Valor, and it’s a fucking crime.

For reference, here is the photo of Noah in his “Navy Outfit”

If you see him around town in this, please call me. The government would like to have a chat.


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