“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” — Arthur Ashe
Seems like high time to venture back to a serious topic and take a quick look at the person that is my brother Johnny. In your lifetime you will be hard pressed to find a greater individual than my younger brother J. I had the pleasure of living with JJ for a year in Portland, and it was truly one for the ages. We hit up Vegas, we dined at Acrop, we suppered at the DV-8 Lounge, at times we were simply ghosts of our actual selves.
Forever a watchful, protective, albeit slightly creepy eye.
This year, Johnny, or JJ to his buds, decided to join the United States Navy as a Naval Corpsmen, or Medic with an M-16. In Layman’s terms, that meant he would be running Mach-3 into combat following a bunch of Marines, and stitching them up whenever they get tagged. To you or me it’s the definition of insanity, to JJ it means simply adding more mortar to the foundation of his evolution.
At this point, you can do one of two things – Switch over to TMZ.com or listen hard and very close. Johnny Wheary encompasses absolutely everything that is right with this world and someone you should mirror every single day you roll out of bed. On a trip just 2 weeks ago, JJ and I drove past a broken-down car with its emergency lights flashing. Johnny, cleverly realized that a recent washout meant transportation cops were a mile ahead. Naturally, JJ decided to pull over when he saw the cops. Immediately 9 cars blow by, but he gets out (I’m pissed because I want to get my birthday party on), shushes me with a death stare, and actually flags down the cop with the same glare. The cop is now thinking this kid is loco. That is until he actually starts listening, nodding, and thinking about what to do. Even better, JJ begins telling the cop where to go, writing out what milepost, describing the scene of the accident, and eventually gets on the walkie-talkie. Correct – the cop actually hands JJ the radio to phone in the coordinates and describe the accident. I would get tasered in this situation, but 5-0 gratefully hands JJ the key to the palace. This is because you and I would drive by, get home and think, ‘Damn, I really should have done something.’ Johnny just does it, incredibly efficiently and respectfully, and always has. Nuff’ said. Game, set, match.
Last month I had the pleasure of meeting a U.S. Marine in San Diego, and he conveyed his feelings on the navy medics: “Man, those Naval Corpsmen are crazier than we are. I mean I’m dumb enough to be in the shit. Those cats could be back at home making medical pay, instead they’re out there covering our asses and sewing us all up.” Again, sounds about right. I’m just having trouble wondering who’s got my 6 with JJ in that sandbox. Even more importantly, who’s got a corpsmens’ back? I shudder.
I have to say it. Please if you ever, ever see a member of the military – Pay for their drink, buy their Subway footlong, pick up that chalupa, or just shake their hand and say thank you. My buddy Jimmie served for 4 years in Afghanistan and still smiles recollecting some of those stories about true gratitude. It really does make a huge difference. To borrower a line from Cole – People, you have to shear your sheep and hug your hens.
Johnny, I wish you the best on this journey, and stay safe.
I have to say it was unbelievably hard saying goodbye to my brother in arms. He’s been my best amigo for the past few years, and I lost it when we said adios. However, remorse quickly turned to surprise when we met his shipmates….
Yo-Ho JJ, Yo-Ho. Full Speed Ahead.
“Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest that was left out by mistake.” — Winnie the Pooh