Piece Comment

Review of Off to the Army

This piece made me chuckle in the first few moments. "Tell me the whole story in one minute," the producer says. So the protagonist, he says, "Got expelled from school. Failed out of JC. Got my ass whupped at a party. Went to Mapp's. Chilled with my girlfriend. Girlfriend cried. Now I'm here." This cool, loping beginning is reason enough to license this piece. It's real. It's not a story trying to be real. The interview continues of the protagonist, a young man, some kid in his late teens and he's telling this story in a lazy, out-of-body way while he's eating a taco or sandwich or something. After a few minutes (and by the title, of course) we figure out that this is a piece about why this boy/man joined the U.S. Army to become a soldier. "Do you think you afraid of dying?" asks the producer. "No. That part I don't mind." And then this tale takes an unexpected turn. It's no longer about war or signing up for the army, it's about something related, but completely different. I'm not satisfied with the ending, but maybe that's the point.