Something happened on Saturday at Harrisburg Senators game that I’ve been thinking about for the last few days. Not an intensive thinking. A background thinking.
I arrived about when the gates opened, and I wandered around the ballpark.
I was on the concourse, looking at the food options, when a woman, early twenties, working behind the counter became very excited.
“Sir!” she shouted. “Sir! Thank you for your service, sir! Thank you! Sir!”
I was startled at first. Obviously, she wasn’t shouting at me, only in my general direction. But standing near me, also looking at the menu, was an older man, about my dad’s age (so, mid-70s), wearing a black baseball cap adorned with some decorations that read, “Vietnam Veteran.” It was this man she was yelling at.
And he didn’t react. He gave no sign of registering the woman at all. I have no idea if he ever did.
I couldn’t tell if he didn’t hear her — we all have moments where someone’s talking to us and we don’t realize it — or if he were ignoring her completely.
The more I thought about, the more I thought the answer was the latter.
If he had been drafted, if he had seen combat (and the decorations on his hat were suggestive), then he likely didn’t want to go to Vietnam, but when he was there he was involved in combat, where he probably killed people and may have seen his comrades die.
It’s a thing that happened. It’s a thing that he did. Not necessarily something he wants to be “thanked” for randomly.
Maybe I’m overthinking it.