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Posted on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Dave!I woke up more depressed than usual this morning after receiving some very bad news in an email from a good friend last night.

Things only went downhill from there.

As the morning wore on, all I wanted to do was drink a fifth of Jack Daniels, take a fistful of sleeping pills, crawl into bed, then just wait for the world to go away. It's not a solution that you can wrap a bow around and get all happy about, but it does work... albeit temporarily. But this kind of resolution doesn't really solve anything, and can become dangerously addictive and destructive over the long-run. Having been there before, I know.

So I decided to do what I always seem to do now-a-days when depressed. Visit Any Soldier, request a couple of addresses for some poor bastards (or bitches) stuck in Iraq or Afghanistan, then make some care packages to send out. It may not solve my problems, but it will make me feel better that I am making somebody else's miserable life a little better.

Though it's not easy for me. I do not in any way support this war. I never have. I don't buy into the "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" mentality because nobody can define "them" in any meaningful way. I have been conditioned to distrust our political leaders. When other countries were saying "hey, wait a minute, let's look at this WMD data a little more closely before we do something stupid," our leaders threw 9-11 in our face and went ahead and did something stupid. No real plan. No exit strategy. No sense.

But how is that the fault of someone sent off to fight and die in our name?

Who can say what makes somebody sign up to be a soldier.

Maybe they signed up so they could get money for college. Maybe they are running away from a life that's worse than a war. Maybe they want to belong to something bigger then themselves. Maybe they are true patriots and believe defending this country is worth risking their lives. Maybe they just want to help out. I don't know.

But what I do know is that they are risking their lives on my behalf and are far braver than I am for doing it. They didn't start a war, they're just trying to do their job the best they can and make it out alive.

So I make care packages.

I send things from home in the hopes that I can brighten their spirits and warm their hearts. I hope my generosity will inspire generosity in return. I hope they represent our country well and treat victims of war with caring and dignity.

I drop everything in my busy life and I go...

I buy snacks. Not shitty snacks that taste like crap and nobody wants to eat. I buy name-brands I know will be appreciated. Snack-Pack chocolate pudding. Campbell's Chunky Soup. Planters Trail Mix, Nature's Harvest snack bars. I find candies that won't melt. I grab a large variety of gum flavors. I buy Oreos and Doritos. I find "to-go" packs of Pringles chips. I seek out luxury foods that I miss when I am far from home. I go to three stores to find a big-box of Red-Hots. I don't really like the idea of killing animals for food, but this isn't about me, so I buy bags of real Oberto Beef Jerkey.

I buy only the best personal hygiene products. Military guys have to shave everyday, and nobody wants to do that with a cheap-ass razor. So I buy the best, most comfortable disposables I can find. I ignore the bargain brands and purchase Neutrogena shave cream. I make sure I have real Q-tips cotton swabs, authentic Kleenex tissues, super-sweet individually-wrapped rolls of premium toilet paper, and only the best toothpaste, toothbrushes, foot powder, lip balm, sun-screen, and everything else I can think of.

I buy magazines. I want to send Maxim with a naked Eva Mendes on the cover (hey, that's what I would want to look at if I could die at any time)... but nudity and partial nudity are forbidden. Instead I buy puzzle books, sports magazines, and some good comics.

I read that soldiers like to watch DVDs in their off-time, so I buy some. And not the discount crap that's old and everybody has already seen... I buy brand new releases of top movies and don't even look at the price tag. And, because opening a DVD is almost impossible under the best conditions, I pre-open them and remove all the tape and crap. I then write "ANYSOLDIER.COM" in permanent marker on the cases and DVDs to try and make sure they aren't stolen and sold.

I buy Beanie Babies. Maybe the soldiers can use them to make friends with the most innocent of victims in this war: the children. I hope such small gestures build friendship and compassion with future generations. I hope it brings a smile to somebody's face when they have nothing to smile about. I hope for so much from something so little. I send hope because, when all is said and done, it's all I really have to give.

I write a note of support and well-wishes because sometimes knowing somebody cares about you is better than an Oreo cookie.

Then I come back and box everything up. I am careful to double-bag any liquids. I am careful to send the shipments of food in separate boxes from the toiletries... because nobody wants Goldfish Crackers that taste like deodorant. I take time I don't really have available to make sure everything is packed perfectly so no space is wasted and everything is protected. What fun is a box of smashed cookies?

I've spent $300. I'll spend even more in shipping charges. It hardly seems adequate.

And now I feel a little better. Maybe even better than if I had taken Prozac.

Tonight I am going to go see The Queen. I hope the movie is as good as people say, because I can't afford to be depressed and visit Any Soldier again until my next paycheck.

Categories: DaveLife 2007Click To It: Permalink


  1. Janet says:

    You’re inspiring.

  2. Jolie says:

    Wow…very good post. And thanks for sharing that. I’ve never heard of that site, but I’ll be visiting it when I get my next paycheck.

  3. NetChick says:

    Dave, that’s so awesome. Taking your sadness and turning it into something you feel good about is something we can all learn from.

    In fact, I think I’m going to do the same thing for some Canadian soldiers… I’ll just have to find out where I can send it!

    Sorry you are having a rough day. Sending a mental hug your way!

  4. Kyra says:

    See, not all entertainment Dave. (and guess what, I actually care.) I’m sorry you are feeling that way and for whatever was in that email which was so horrible. 🙁

    I think your method of shifting your feelings to a carepackage is better than mine where I try to eat my body weight in chocolate. And a lot less sticky in the long run too!

  5. Greg says:

    Cool post, Dave.

  6. Anthony says:

    We use a word in Ireland and I try not to use it too much but you sir, are a legend.

  7. keryn says:

    I’m going to visit that site as soon as I get done with this comment. Thank you for the inspiring message. I also disagree with the war itself, but feel that the soldiers deserve our respect and support. They are just doing their jobs, after all.

    I hope your day gets better. Doing something good for someone else is a great way to off load some bad feelings.

  8. Melanie says:

    Wow. That was enough to bring me out of lurk-mode.
    Dave, not only do I agree completely with your take on our servicemen (and women), but I was blown away by the kindness and logic of the way you deal with your own down times.

  9. diane says:

    I heard that yesterday was supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. Sorry you received bad news. 🙁
    It’s time for me to start volunteering at the animal shelter again. Whenever I felt blue, I would go cuddle a homeless kitten. It was great for both parties involved, much like your care package project!

  10. Göran says:

    This is what I like best about you, I never fully know what to expect. You go on endlessly about superficial stuff in the coolest of ways and all of a sudden you make so much sense on topics that moves me!

    That is so cool, so cool I forgot about my own petty problems about malfunctioning blogs, the longest hours of endless work and broken toys.

    Please be like this for a long time!

  11. Rick says:

    Again, I learn something everyday. Are you, perchance, a friend of Bill W?

  12. Miss Britt says:

    Wow. Dave, I hope my kids are as awesome as you when they grow up.

    There’s probably not enough time for me, but there’s still hope for them.

  13. Jill says:

    Like Janet said, you *are* inspiring. Your post made me tear up…

    What I don’t understand is, you seem like such a good person on the inside – it just doesn’t seem fair that you seem to have so many bad things happen or not go right for you. I understand that things can’t go perfect for everyone all the time (except, it seems, for really evil people who don’t know how to drive), but you get more dumped on you than you deserve. The universe has a really bad sense of humor. I really hope that things turn around for the better for you.

  14. Diana says:

    Dave, I’m very sorry about your bad news, but I’m very impressed with how you’re handling your sad feelings. I’ve never heard of that site before either, thanks for sharing it.

  15. Avitable says:

    You rock. I hope that stuff actually makes it to someone who deserves it.

  16. Karl says:

    Sorry things are el-sucko right now. Hope you’re OK. Your method for coping is inspiring. I don’t have much to give but I’m checking out that Any Soldier site. Thanks.

  17. charred says:

    You must be feeling down; you’ve gone knee-jerk liberal on us again! ; ) : P

    What you need is a vegetarian version of the bacon cheeseburger. They’re marvelously therapeutic. Just ask avi, I bet he’ll agree with me.

    Seriously, though, thanks for supporting our troops.

  18. adena says:


    I only wish I had 300 bucks, or so, to be able to do the same.

  19. stephanie says:

    That is one of the most amazing and inspiring things I’ve ever read. You are an incredibly strong person with an unbelievably hume heart. Bad things don’t happen for long to people like you. Karma’s funny like that.

    I hope you’re feeling better soon. Somehow, I think will change and you will.

    Hang in there!

  20. DaisyJo says:

    You are a truly good man, Dave. I don’t care what Bad Monkey says about you!

    I’m going to follow your example.

  21. Fabulous idea, Dave. I’m going to steal it and send it to a couple of friends who I know are having a bad time of it right now. Helping someone else, actually doing something, always ends up making me feel better too. That’s one reason why I volunteer – if you can’t fix all the problems in your life or in the world, maybe you can lighten someone else’s burden for a while.

    Thanks for the reminder, dude. Hopefully someone will help you lighten your way for a bit as well…return the favor, so to speak.

  22. Glenda says:

    Hey Dave, I know I don’t comment much, ok hardley ever. But this post struck me, and kinda made me sad, but feel good at the same time, cause it’s nice to know that people out there care. My husband is a Warrant Officer in the Army and spent a year in Iraq in 2003-2004 and nows he’s back for a tour in Afghanistan. One tour was one thing, but then another, and 6 months after he re-deploys he can expect to leave again, and it gets down right depressing for him and the family he leaves behind. Since he’s an officer, he’s lucky enough to have his own “room” but that term is used loosely since it’s just made of plywood and they tend to talk to each other through the walls. Anyway, my point here is that any soldier who gets your care package would be DAMN happy to receive it, mainly cause you put the thought into it that really counts, and transcends. So yeah. Just wanted to say thanks on behalf of all those over there that are tired, fed up, and ready to come home.

  23. Avitable says:

    Bacon cheeseburgers are very therapeutic. I think the vegetarian alternative is the veggie corndog. My wife loves those, and I’ll actually enjoy them, too.

  24. Juli says:

    I love ANYSOLDIER and spent an undisclosed amount on gifts/shipping for several dozen soldiers last Christmas. It was a small token of my appreciation for their efforts. Now that my nephew is in Afghanistan, I have one soldier to send stuff to. 🙂

  25. Tal says:

    Yeah, its quite annoying how our (well, North American, but Canadians have lost lots in Afghanistan) service people are out there risking their lives for us, yet so many people choose to villianize them or something. But seriously, no “partial” nudity? that is silly!

    Hope your feeling better and that the news isn’t as bad as all that.

  26. I hope you know always and forever just exactly how incredible you are. To be so selfless at a time when most people turn inward is awesome.

    When I grow up I want to be just like you.

  27. Kapha says:

    Eloquent and totally inspiring.

    Your description of the servicemen and servicewomen is spot on imo. I had not heard of the site – it is now on my list of todo’s.

    Your care packages are amazing. Equally amazing is the care taken to create them. I imagine them being received with the kind of appreciation you can only see deep in people’s eyes.

  28. Alexis says:

    Thanks for making the world a kinder place, Dave – this post is definitely inspiring. And as the family member of a soldier, I know how much our troops appreciate a great care package!

  29. Kapha says:

    In reading through the website I discovered Brian’s Mom created a separate site with “ready made” care packages designed through trial and error (and lots of feedback) for either female or male soldiers – BRILLIANT! Thought this might be good for people short on time (or in the boonies such as myself).

    The site is:

  30. margalit says:

    You, my good man, are a mensch. In the true sense of the word. You are performing a mitzvah and you’re doing it selflessly. Maimonedes would be proud of you.

    Sorry you got bad news. There’s so much of that going around these days. It’s a subproduct of aging, I think. I think you probably need a nice big hug. Awwww.

  31. serap says:

    So sorry you’ve had bad news Dave, hope you feel better soon. Your care packages sound amazing… although I disagree – I think broken biscuits taste much nicer than whole ones 😉
    Hope you enjoyed The Queen.

  32. nancycle says:

    Gad Zooks.

    Talk about taking my heart out and having it for breakfast.

    It will always bother me to read when someone is so far away…Too far away to hug.

    Re: Depression

    I know we have differences in beliefs to some degree, but more alike than different I suspect. No one wants you to feel depressed. God willing.

  33. undisciplined says:

    It’s incredible how someone I’ve never met inspires me to go out and do something I’ve been putting off for the longest time. Thank you.

  34. Eve says:

    So sorry about the bad news. But you did the right thing by channeling your depression into something positive. I’m sure your care package will really make that soldier feel better.

  35. ms. sizzle says:

    perspective. thanks for giving me some.


  36. rae says:

    wow. that’s all i can say. you’re a good man, dave.

  37. crse says:

    Wow. Now im ashamed of being bitter about you trumping me as nancycle’s true blogcrush. I dont think you even can be aware of how many days your post can turn around not just overseas, but here at home too. Im humbled by this, am going to link to you, and bow to your superious blogcrushiness…..thank you.

  38. Hilly says:

    I just signed up for this the other day and am so glad to read your post. I was thinking that I wanted to buy them really good things, like name-brand things as well.

    Interesting what you said in regard to being against the war but not taking it out on the troops. I completely agree.

  39. karla says:

    Dave you so totally rock that the word “rock” should just mean Dave.

    That makes no sense on re-read, but it was well meant.

    The Queen was great, I loved it, and it will take your mind off your worries, if only for a few hours….

    Big Virtual Hug.

  40. suze says:

    what a great way to channel a bad mood into a wonderful gift to others. way to go.

    and i hope that you’re feeling better too…

  41. Tracy Lynn says:

    Well done, dude. As a military brat, who has friends overseas, I can tell you that every single thing you send is appreciated, but none so much as the note.

  42. Rae Rae says:

    As a member of the armed forces, I promise your gift will not go unappreciated. Your post was sweet and heartwarming. Thank you.

  43. kapgar says:

    Your generosity has always astounded me, but this? Damn, you deserve sainthood.

  44. sandra says:

    I’m with you on not agreeing with the war — and it seems, also with supporting the troops sent over there to die in the name of god knows what.

    My brother, who I adore more than almost anyone else in the world, left college and a pretty comfortable middle-class existence to join the Marines in the summer of 2001. His aim? To get some really specialized training, which he wanted to use to get ahead in his career. Several months later, September 11 happened and he was shipped off to Iraq; him and his battalion were among the first to cross the border. He missed the birth of his first daughter and most of the pregnancy of his wife — among other things, including losing some really close friends — and had more than one really close call, but he did come home, a fact for which I’ll be eternally grateful.

    In any case, it honestly touches me SO much when someone takes the time to do something nice for a solider. They’re away from their family and friends, alternating between being scared and bored to death, and I know it means the world to them to have someone take time to do something nice, and just show they’re thinking of them.

  45. Dave, as always, you are RADICAL! XOXOX

  46. Bogup says:

    Before reading this I thought you were a good guy, and had a really good blog. Now I KNOW you are a good guy and have a really good blog. Thanks for this thread and the inspiration it gives to those who want to do something for those who put their lives on the line in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
    And yes, I will do something for multiple people this coming week because you showed, by example, how to care and give. Thank you, Dave.

  47. kazza says:

    gosh dave, this entry made me cry .. you totally rock .. hope you’re feeling better soon (although I’m so far behind in reading my news feeds you might be by now)

  48. I am SO doing this! Thanks for linking from today’s post.

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