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GUNS Magazine Digital February 2011 - Page 78
• J O h N C O N N O R • NOT-SO-FAMOUS QUOTES Lines you won’t read anywhere else. “Try never to run out of smokes, ammo and luck all at the same time. But remember, if you have ammo, you can always get more smokes, and make your own luck.”—G.K. Shirpa ne of the oldest folders in my jumbled files is titled “Things Said & done.” It’s kind of a catch-all of O quotes, quips and lines from places bright and dark. now The challenge posed to Shirpa was, “From your long life of combat, select just one piece of advice you would give young warriors.” I thought that was a pretty simplistic answer for a man who had been fighting communists over two continents for more than half a century, since he was about 9 years old. Knowing a little about him, I suspected there was more to it; a more metaphysical meaning. I was right. He explained that everyone has something—literally, some thing—they need in their body and soul to sustain them in battle and to keep them going through a long campaign—or a longer life of soldiering. Ask any smoker, he said, how important tobacco can be before and after a fight. For others it may be their bible, their prayer beads, a treasured photo, a talisman of clan or tribe, a sweetheart’s scarf, their father’s knife, their mother’s last letter. Those are the “smokes.” “Ammo” is the means and ability to defend your life, your possessions and your loved ones; whatever it takes to fend off or attack evil. And “luck”? Certainly, he said, there is an element of fate or karma woven 78 long, peaceful rest. While you wake, with every word spoken and every act taken, live so that when you lay down your head, to sleep or to die, you may say to yourself and your God that you have acquitted yourself honorably this day. Do this and sleep will welcome you as a hero; your bed of rocks will comfort you more than fur and feathers, and there will be no end to your trail, or any need or desire to end it.” and then that file needs airing out, you know? Like now…. Warriors & Waiters My Uncle John has given me a few through all war, all life, because, he good ones too. One of my favorites smiled, “Indeed, God blinks,” but all is, “Some men have an inner warrior. too often, he said, isn’t it odd how Others have an inner waiter.” Now fortes fortuna adiuvat—fortune favors to me, that’s just funny as heck on its the bold? In his experience, Shirpa own, but he had a thoughtful followsaid, a man who is smart enough to up. know that bold, decisive action and “I think it has more to do with belief in oneself are event-shaping genes than with experience, though some only discover their inner warrior or inner waiter with hard experience. The point is, you should know what your core dynamic is—and be honest about it.” He said you owe it to your family and associates to tell them either, “Look, if trouble comes, I may react with sudden violence. I may not be able to take care of you and the threat at the same time, so if you’re not in the fight with me, you should get outta my They’re not famous, but way and flee,” or, maybe they oughtta be…. “If trouble comes, my instinct is to get away from it, fast. forces in and of themselves, will I’m not into violent confrontation; I indeed be “luckier” than the wavering don’t deal with it well. I can’t move and timid. fast if I’m carrying or dragging you, Another gem he gave me was this: so do what you want but I’m outta “A warrior should not try to see or there, understand?” For many people, imagine ‘the end of his trail.’ Do not Uncle John said, either way, that kind imagine a hero’s welcome, adoring of honesty demands courage—and is crowds, grateful comrades or even a potentially life-saving. WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • FEBRUARY 2011