My brother-in-law, J, has recently moved to Houston (as I believe I've mentioned not too long ago). He, like my husband, served in the Marine Corps for a number of years. Unlike my husband, he was sent to Iraq and Afghanistan (if memory serves). He was, in point of fact, a tank driver.
I think you can imagine what it was he had to do. What I still cannot imagine are all the terrible things he saw, including holding his dying lieutenant in his arms and screaming for help that never came. I pray for my brother-in-law, who escaped death so many times, that he might recover from his nightmare.
Bizarro Dad learned this weekend, when he and his brother went paintballing (yeah, I caved on the paintball gun, because I love my man, and because we got our income tax return), that his little brother now has a strange affinity for Frank Sinatra.
Understand: J is the same age as my little brother, 24. My brother the professional rapper. Yeah, I know not all people in the same generation like the same genre of music, but I think I can safely say that most guys in this particular generation are not big Sinatra fans. J certainly wasn't before he left for boot camp. But he is now.
Apparently, when the guys were in the tank, three of them crowded into a tiny space, shooting the hell out of whoever was shooting at them, the stress was so great that the gunny (Gunnery Sergeant) had to do whatever was necessary to keep the men calm.
So he made them listen to Sinatra. While firing.
Evidently it had a very calming effect, and the men were able to concentrate on doing their job and not getting killed. I guess it worked for J, since he's home safe now.
And he also has one or two Sinatra CDs in his car. It keeps him calm, he says.
I wonder: does he need to be kept calm because he's driving and doesn't want a flashback, or does he need to be kept calm right before a paintball game so that he doesn't flip out and start really trying to hurt people?
Either way, as horrified as I was by the story, I am all for giving J another Sinatra CD as a gift, so that he can have more song options to keep himself as close to tranquil as possible. He's living with his sister for now, and she has two children at home. Soon he'll get an apartment and bring his son to live with him. I'm thinking that Sinatra might prove to be crucial to his sanity.