This week I spoke with Aaron Kirk, Dr. Donnelly Wilkes, and Charlie Faint about death – what did they think about it before they joined the military, during their time in service, and afterward. Sure, it can be a dark subject – it certainly wasn’t hilarious – but it wasn’t as dark and depressing as you might think. It’s a conversation that is serious and positive. I think you’ll come away grateful for everyone’s well-spoken and thoughtful insights. And you will definitely want to buy The Hill and Code Red: Fallujah.
Have a listen here.
Charlie told me it wasn’t noticeable, but I really need to cut down on Dunkin Donuts’ cold brews right before a show. For the first fifteen minutes of the episode, I felt like my brain was about three feet in front of my mouth. I’m now 24 hours caffeine sober and I think everyone I’ve met today thinks I’m angry with them. We’ll see if it’s worth it.
Look, veterans are not Faberge eggs. That said, I don’t like being too high on caffeine when talking with combat veterans about their experiences with death. Any discussion of death with a vet is kind of like asking someone about their honeymoon night – it’s a pretty intimate discussion that requires trust, sensitivity, and a bit of forethought.
I mentioned on the show that Dr. Wilkes gave me permission to call him “Donnelly,” since I thought it would be weird to keep using his title when I was using everyone else’s first names. But then Charlie and Aaron continued to call him “Dr. Wilkes” which made me sound like an inconsiderate asshole who has no respect for others. Or maybe that’s just the caffeine withdrawal talking.
The Hill by Aaron Kirk
Code Red: Fallujah by Dr. Donnelly Wilkes