I have a tattoo of an Iraqi slang phrase on my left shoulder...
Since we were Psyops, we always rode with an interpreter. As a result, we became fast friends with the Iraqis who went out with us.
During down time they would often come to our hootch and we would also go to theirs. Maybe because the situation they were in was so precarious or maybe because the situation we were all in was, but every time we hung out we ended up laughing.
It seems to me that if you are standing on a razors edge with two feet and the buddy you are with is trying to balance that same edge on one, the only thing left to do is laugh.
Anyway, on this one particular mission about 3/4 of the way through my deployment, I asked our interpreter if the Iraqis had any slang phases or expressions like how in America we say things like "shit happens" or like in the movie the Lion King "ha Cu Na MaTat TA "
You know, expression that are short and sweet but have a larger meaning.
He thought about it for a moment and said: "Be Heh Sahl Leh"
He explained the meaning like this: Say you get a flat tire. You don't worry about it because having that flat tire might have saved you from getting hit by an IED further down the road.
I liked the expression and wouldn't you know it, on our ride back home to FOB Loyalty we got a flat.
No small thing to get a flat in Iraq. You gotta pull 360 security and a Humvee tire is frickin' heavy.
Anyway, we are milling about inside the perimeter and my interpreter tells me to go up to the LT's interpreter and say the phrase.
I do, only I butcher the pronunciation so bad that my interpreter comes over to translate.
When the LT's Terp understands what I'm trying to say he bellows with laughter. Then he says something real quick back to my interpreter who really starts to laugh.
Before I have the chance to hear the translation we finish changing the tire and are on the road again.
Feeling pretty good and thinking that that 40 minute ordeal could have saved us from getting hit by an IED or VBIED (vehicle born IED) I ask our interpreter what the LT's interpreter said in response to Be Heh Sahl Leh?
He said there is a common response to someone who says Be Heh Sahl Leh.
He said the phase in Arabic, which I can't remember, but I do remember what it means.
"Screw that happy crap, this shit sucks"
The whole truck laughed safely all the way home.
On a side note, I am going to be speaking about transition in Melbourne, Florida on Saturday. If you are in the neighborhood come on by.
This post was guided by the 54th stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba
Armor Down has a website. Check it out.
If you like the AD Facebook page and I'll email you the PDF of a book called "Mindfulness in Practical English".
Lisa Wimberger's meditations:
Grounding Your Armor
Riding the Sun
Thrive as a civilian.