Getting the body into shape - or the shape of four soldiers' bodies
He tells me how excited he is to work out, how good it feels to stretch and challenge his body, he wants to be strong, shapely, manly - I add the later.
I tell him to enjoy how it feels now, if he's considering joining, for he will get sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, and he will probably return unable to work out at all.
He gets a smug look across his face, he is ready to contradict me. "Oh no," he says. "You are mistaken. We've withdrawn from Iraq." Then he smirks, superior with inside information and says "No U.S. soldiers will be dying there anymore. Obama has removed the forces."
I am able to smirk back and say to his shocked face "Tell that to the four young men who have been killed already this month in Iraq."
I can tell he struggles between believing me and believing what he must have been recently fed inside the MRS.
I urge him to join the y, join a gym, take phys ed at college, if he wants to strengthen his body. I remind him that he is young - strengthening his body should be life-long commitment and how will he be able to fulfill that commitment when in a few short years of his life he puts himself into a dangerous situation that is almost impossible to recover from.
I ask him if he ever notices homeless men. Of course he has. He is now cautious but still wanting to be dismissive. I ask him if he knows what percentage of the homeless are ex-soldiers.
He doesn't guess. He waits for me to tell him. 25% - ONE QUARTER of all homeless began their military careers much as he is contemplating. And look what shape their bodies are in. For example...