When Sparkly Vampires Kick Your Ass


Last night, my wife breezed through the living room asking for something. I wasn’t really clear what it was. She has a tendency to start our conversations before she enters the room and finish them from the kitchen, usually all while I’m either writing, proofing (ha), or intensely playing poker. Normally, I hear, “Blah…Blah…So don’t forget to buy that.” Huh? What am I supposed to buy?

It turned out to be the September edition of National Geographic. Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. Where did that come from? But being the good and faithful husband I am, I stopped by Books-a-Million while out-and-about today and grabbed the September Nat. Geo. for her.

The woman ahead of me at the cash register was buying something from the tree-killing Twilight series, but the best part of her transaction was the gushing coming from behind the counter. This kid was way, way, way too into Twilight. Then he got all forlorn and misty when he said, “I probably won’t get to see the new movie since I’m going off to basic in October.”

As some of you know, I grew up Army. I have the greatest respect for our men and women in uniform. I wanted to give this kid some encouragement. I wanted to tell him I was proud of his sacrifice. I wanted to give him some sage wisdom to carry with him, maybe even onto some foreign shore some day. Something that might save his life. I wanted to, but this is what came out of my mouth:

“Kid, I want to give you some advice for boot camp. Keep that thing about liking the sparkly vampires under your hat. Trust me on this one. You’ll have a much better relationship with your drill sergeant if you just don’t bring it up. Just keep that to yourself, unless you want a nickname you’ll never shake.” He agreed that was probably the best course of action.

I hope that young lad starts the new phase of his life a bit wiser for meeting me. I hope one day he thinks back on a random meeting with a stranger in a book shop and thinks, “That guy really changed my life. In fact, he saved my life.”

I hope my words prevent him from letting it slip over evening chow in the mess one night, just how great he thinks Twilight is. I’ve got to tell you, once everyone in basic training knows you like sparkly vampires, you’re going to get the sparkly-vampire crap knocked out of you for the next six weeks.

And you’ll never shake the nickname, “Sparkles” or “Twilight Toes”. That crap will haunt you forever. No one ever wants to be in the thick of a fire-fight and hear, “Get Sparkles on the radio! We need fast movers!” or “Lay down some Willy Peter, Twilight Toes! We need smoke!”

So I think I did him some good. I may have save a whole platoon of men. You never know just what effect a butterfly’s wings will have.

Oh, and Nat. Geo.? Totally worth a peek this month.

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6 Comments

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  1. Sage advice. Having myself done a hitch in the Navy, I know your nickname can stick for the entire hitch. I was lucky and got ‘Skee’, due to the inability for my superiors/peers to sufficiently pronounce my Slovak surname. It could have been worse; Fn Manchechewicsz was stuck with the permanent tag of ‘Alphabet’.

  2. I considered it a true “Win!” when, at the end of Air Force basic training, my drill sergeant was handing out orders, came to my name, cut himself short and muttered,”We don’t have a…”. I raised my hand and shouted “Here!”. The man blinked, looked at the name on my shirt, looked back at the orders in his hand and said, “Damn, airman, you keep a low profile, doncha?”. Thanks mom and dad for ignoring me, and teaching me how unimportant attention really is.

  3. Do they make sparkly camouflage? As usual, thanks for the laugh!

  4. So … what was your nickname?

  5. I have the same problem with my husband. I let him know he needs to preface talking to me by saying my name. (=

    I was lucky enough to grow up with the last name that is used to describe both a prison weapon and a cut of butt meat.

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