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via CNN

I joined the United States Marine Corps at age 17.  In fact, I turned 18 in the middle of Boot Camp which was a birthday I intentionally kept a secret.  One night, perhaps before or after my 18th birthday I had the late fire watch in the squad bay where I decided it wasn’t worth it to put on my war belt and canteens despite the fact that this was an explicit instruction from our Drill Instructors.  Unfortunately for me, one of my Drill Instructors who apparently had the night off showed up drunk only to catch me out of “uniform.”  Now, I am not sure if you are familiar with the sadistic tendencies of Drill Instructors, but just imagine it worse if they were drunk. Despite being a kid, I knew the smell of whiskey and it was strong.  This particular Sgt in the USMC had a young 17/18yo me scrubbing toilets with my scrub brush used on my clothes, my toothbrush, and then had my head about a ½ inch from the toilet asking me if I could “smell the clean” while he yelled at me in a whisper like frog voice.  Hilarious event in my life as I look back on it, but you know what this man didn’t do?  He didn’t take a freaking selfie because this was 1997 and the world is better off for it.

Stop It!

I never once yelled to my Drill Instructor to stop it as he “encouraged” me to put my head close to the toilet water, but I will yell at you millennials.  Stop taking pictures of the stupid stuff you do.  I’m sitting here today looking at students at the Citadel dressed up like the KKK with pillowcases on their heads singing Christmas Carols.  Yes, that is offensive as I don’t think anyone in South Carolina of all places where the Citadel is located missed the obvious reference.  Shame on you, but why in the heck did you take a freaking picture of it.

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It’s crazy, even in the picture there is someone else with another cell phone taking a picture of it.  In the only way I know how to communicate with you kids, let me offer the text response of WTF!  America has enough problems right now than to answer for every stupid thing you kids will do while feeling obligated to take a picture.  You take a picture and now the country gets embroiled in a debate because you are an idiot. If there is one thing that I will teach my kids it is that a picture always finds its way to the internet.  Always!

A Generational Problem

Look, I am not proud of every aspect of my past, but I am glad my dumbest years were before the age of cell phone cameras.  I spent most of 2004 teaching English in China as a way to blow off steam from Iraq.  But honestly, the majority of that time in what was a very unsanctified period of my life was spent drunkenly yelling at Chinese cab drivers at 3am because they couldn’t understand me or dancing on bars in Shenzhen China.  I am confident those pictures would haunt me today, but there are not any to my knowledge, please let there not be any my fellow Shenzhen teachers reading this blog.  I’m the silly American in the middle wearing an orange shirt and really hungover because no one told me it was picture day tomorrow.

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In full defense of those Chinese cab drivers though, I don’t think an American cab driver could have understood me in the era where 50 cents would get you a liter of beer in China.  Again, not my best moments.  But why do you have to take a picture or worse a video of it? It is absolutely insane and I’m tired of the nation getting dragged into a debate on race, religion, or gender because you have an insatiable desire to document the idiotic things kids do. Kids are stupid, we get it, let us move on.

A Public Service Announcement

All of life was not meant to be documented.  There is not a person reading this blog that could stand to have their worst moments in life on the internet for all to see.  Go ahead and picture them right now and imagine if they went viral.  Personally, I am shuddering right now at the concept.  Just stop it.  Please for the sake of our future, stop taking pictures of the stupid stuff you do.

I am in no way defending what those idiots at the Citadel did as again, I think they in South Carolina knew the reference and it betrays those of color who died for this nation. I’m just saying I don’t have time to talk about it except for the fact I just did.  You took 30 minutes of my life away as I wrote this blog to address your idiocy.  There are things which will take place in the next 24 hours that do not need to be filmed or photographed.  So please, let this be a warning.

So please, just don’t do it.  I have no doubt if that scene with my Drill Instructor nearly 20 years ago had made its way onto the internet that it would have caused controversy as a young baby-faced Edwards learned the hard lesson to stay in uniform.  But I am a better man for it and it is hilarious to think back on.  I’m just thankful for the world that my memories are enough to sustain me and I didn’t feel the need to take a picture.  Good night, God bless, and pretty please put down the cell phone camera America.

If It Horrifies You To Consider Your Worst Moments Captured on Film, Like the Unprecedented Mediocrity Facebook Page Below. 

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