There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who are Navy SEALs or Delta Force, and those who . . . actually, there are three kinds of people in this world. Those who are Navy SEALs or Delta Force, those who could and should be Navy SEALs or Delta Force but mistakenly took another path, and then there are the rest of you who aren’t SEALs or Delta Force, nor were you meant to be, nor could you ever be. The vast majority of people in the world fall into the third group. For an example of a typical Group 3 person, please see here. Also here. I view myself as being pretty much in the first (please see here), although I suppose you could make an argument that I’m in the second.
You can tell if you are in Group 1 by A. Inspecting your pecs, and B. Remembering if you have recently killed or are currently killing a few hundred AK-47-wielding bearded people in the Middle East with your bare hands. As to the second and third groups; here’s how to tell which one you belong to:
Remember a couple months ago when a SEAL team of snipers and divers took out the Somali pirates holding that American captain hostage? The snipers terminated them with shots to the head, dealing with the bouncing waves affecting the ship they were shooting from and the one they were shooting at, while a few of their teammates surreptitiously scuba dove (in shark infested waters, no less) and silently surfaced to storm the ship at the exact moment the snipers fired. Remember that? When you heard about that did you say to your wife “Wow, those guys are just incredible. I have no idea how they do what they do.” You’re in Group 3. Or did you flex your jaw and slowly nod your head a couple times before endorsing the mission with a “Ya, that’s about right. I probably would have had Sniper #2 a few feet to the south, but they basically followed protocol.” If so, you’re in Group 2.
Above is a little draw-up I created to help you non-military types visualize the pirate assassination
When you go to the zoo with your young child (if you are in Group 1 you refer to the child as an S.M.T.L.; Slow Moving Tactical Liability) do you relax, enjoy his company, and coo with him at the exotic animals? Or do you view each animal as a potential threat, constantly assessing what your plan will be when, for example, you hear the screams of human and non-human primates and realize an escaped 700 pound Siberian Tiger is bolting toward you at 35 mph? Are you sizing up improvised escape routes, objects to be adapted as weaponry, and obese or old people to use as diversions?
If you’re in Group 1, you and five of your unit members noted the potential threat from the Siberian Tiger months ago, rappelled into its cage from a Blackhawk, and neutralized it with a coat hanger and a throw pillow. If you’re now thinking, “My goodness, I had never considered the possible danger at the zoo,” then I’m sure you’ll make a fine grief counselor or Pilates instructor and you can stop reading now, as the rest of this post has nothing to do with you. If you’re nodding your head as I describe the above scenario, then you, like me, are in Group 2 and are what I call a Citizen SEAL. Please read on.
Basically, the only difference between a Military SEAL and we Citizen SEALs is a few weeks of BUD/S Training (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL). Also, the government buys all the weapons for one group but blindly refuses to buy them for the other, even after repeated letters to Congress.
Many people ask why we Citizen SEALs never become military ones. The question implies that we wanted to, which is ignorant and annoying. Why didn’t you ever become super rich and marry a gorgeous woman? Anyway, you should know that being a Citizen SEAL is better in some ways. For example, Military SEALs have all sorts of rigid R.O.E.s (Rules of Engagement) they have to observe. We know that some of these are useful and give them the steely discipline they—and we—are famous for. But some of these strictures hold them back unnecessarily. For example, the rule about any individual SEAL not having spontaneous authority over civilian police officers and magistrates in the U.S. You and I don’t have these restrictive shackles and can judge each situation as it occurs and act accordingly. Another example: it is not “permissible” to fire a Rocket Propelled Grenade into a crowd of foreign children who are taunting you. Citizen SEALs recognize that allowing someone to taunt you without forfeiting their life degrades the reputation of the entire SEAL family and puts all of us in danger.
Anyway, back to the question of why I never became a Military SEAL. For me it’s as simple as a bad rotator cuff and a misguided high school guidance counselor.
Guidance Counselor: “Education this, education that. My education was so valuable that it enabled me to become a high school guidance counselor. You should definitely follow in my footsteps, because I have this terrible job in which I am surrounded by people even more bereft of hope and cat-scented than myself.”
Citizen Seal Bell: “What about Delta Force as a career path, maggot? What about me learning to snap your doughy neck four different ways with my feet while defusing the bomb the Taliban stuck into your pocket? What about that career path?”
But that’s okay. I took a different route and I’m happy with it. Like, imagine if instead of becoming President, Barack Obama had become a tour bus guide, showing Germans and Asians around Chicago. He’d still be happy, just in a slightly different way. Not in a better or worse way. Just different.