We've all had that moment. Maybe sitting at dinner with a well-meaning family member, maybe with an over-eager gal or guy you were chatting up at a bar one night, or perhaps just a friendly weirdo who recognized an embarrassing shirt or service tattoo on the subway one day. Whatever the circumstances, there isn't a single veteran I've ever met who hasn't, at least once, been asked the eternal question of the civilian acquaintance: "So, did you ever kill anyone?"
Regardless of whether or not you have, it's one hell of an awkward spot to be put it. Personally, I've yet to meet the person that hasn't found it a frustrating, if not annoying, query to have directed at them. Veterans on the whole hate answering this damn question, and I've seen more than a few chums unable to respond to it with anything beyond baffled surprise and mild indignation.
So, for all those out there who don't quite know how to answer that question, here are my patent-pending, never-fail responses. Supply your own level of sarcasm as needed.
1. “Not yet.”
My go-to comeback. Be sure to maintain constant, unblinking eye contact with the person who asked you in the first place. And a creepy smile beamed his way never hurts. After all, you may be considering him to be your first.
2. “Yes, but only for food.”
Credit where credit is due, this is the eerily calm version of my father's response to the "kill" question. His own particular method, which I last saw directed at two dozen terrified high school students, was to yell "Yeah, I fucking killed 'em and I ate 'em!" It's certainly one way to do it, but personally I recommend distasteful over aggressive. And if it doesn't divert them right away, explain how you always used every part of the body, just like the Native Americans.
A meaningful look off into the distance and esoteric nod are key to selling this one. Because, like, what if you could kill someone … without really killing them? Mind equals blown. Works particularly well with curious liberal arts students.
4. “Batman does not kill.”
Enough said. Wear your cape.
5. Maniacal laughter.
I consider this what is typically called "the nuclear option." If you're just sick as hell of getting asked or really bear a grudge to the questioner, give it your best supervillain guffaw until they start running. Trust me, it won't take long.
Please feel free to throw your own responses back at the people who get curious on this matter, but my aforementioned five are always solid fallbacks. Of course, you could always just be a mature, confident adult and speak straightforwardly and honestly about your own personal combat experience or lack thereof. But come on, where's the fun in that?
Oh, and for those of you out there wondering: no, I haven't killed anyone. At least, not yet.
Two airmen were administratively punished for drinking at the missile launch control center for 150 nuclear LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the Air Force confirmed to Task & Purpose on Friday.
Two F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters recently flew a mission in the Middle East in "beast mode," meaning they were loaded up with as much firepower as they could carry.
The F-35s with the 4th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron took off from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates to execute a mission in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Air Forces Central Command revealed. The fifth-generation fighters sacrificed their high-end stealth to fly with a full loadout of weaponry on their wings.
The U.S. Senate closed out the week before Memorial Day by confirming Gen. James McConville as the Army's new chief of staff and Adm. Bill Moran as the Navy's new chief of naval operations.
McConville, previously vice chief of staff of the Army, was confirmed on Thursday along with his successor, Lt Gen. Joseph Marin. Moran, currently vice chief of naval operations, was confirmed Friday along with his successor, Vice Adm. Robert Burke.
The Pentagon is producing precisely diddly-squat in terms of proof that Iran is behind recent attacks in the Middle East, requiring more U.S. troops be sent to the region.
Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff, said on Friday that the U.S. military is extending the deployment of about 600 troops with four Patriot missile batteries already in the region and sending close to 1,000 other service members to the Middle East in response to an Iranian "campaign" against U.S. forces.