By KEVIN TAYLOR & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & K & lt;/span & evin Kincheloe is best known as a high school teacher and counselor in the little town of Harrison on the eastern shore of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
But recently, for the better part of two years, he was called away to serve a stint as a platoon leader and sergeant first class on combat patrol in Iraq with the Idaho National Guard's 116th Brigade Combat Team.
Almost as soon as he got off the plane at Camp Beurhring in Kuwait, he was struck by the level of graffiti in Porta Potties.
"While at Camp Buerhring, I soon realized that the thoughts and ramblings inside these plastic commodes were a lot different than those that you would typically see in public bathrooms back in the States. Because the users were about to cross the border into Iraq, their comments were a little more substantive, devoid of the typical sexual banter. I found them to be funny, thought-provoking, political, and at times, totally random," Kincheloe writes.
He made sure to take snapshots of bathroom graffiti from Kuwait all the way north through Iraq to the Kurdish city of Kirkuk.
Here are a few samples Kincheloe shared with The Inlander: Some are short and cryptic about the land that lay outside the plastic door: Is this Oz?
Or short and poignant: I miss home. Can't I just blow up Fallujah?
Other writers expounded at length.
This is not our war
This is not our land
This is not our cause
We are brought here to
Let ex-presidents live vicariously through us
And let our blood fertilize democracy
In a country that will uproot it at every chance.
So We Fight
For honor now
And the hope that the memory of our victory
Lingers long after our footprints
Fade from the sand
And let it be known that for
Every soldier that dies
The axe is swung one more time
Against the tree of political bigotry.
(Another writer penned "Amen" next to the above.)
Here's a favorite random entry:
I bet if you
were a cowboy and
you were dragging a guy
behind your horse it
would make you really
mad if you looked
back and he was
reading a magazine.
At first it seems to make no sense, then you think about what is the actual nature of the war in Iraq.
Then there is the amazing entry - in elegant, curling script - that appears written by Major Optimist:
Every morning is a fresh beginning.
Every day is the world made new.
Today is a new day.
Today is my world made new.
I have lived all my life up to this moment,
to come to this day.
This moment - this day - is as good
as any moment in all eternity.
I shall make of this day - each moment of
this day - a heaven on earth.
This is my day of Opportunity!
A swooping arrow comes from a commentary - serious or snarky, it's impossible to tell - written in a bolder, heavier hand, from off to the side, "Whoever wrote this is obviously smart & amp; educated."
A darker message was addressed to the enemy:
I drove in a car
I flew in a plane
To come to your house
And deal you some pain
I look at you
You look at me
You know you'll be dead
By half-past three
No improvised bomb
Is enough to discourage me
If you are down
Stomach feels funny
Stop and read Leviticus 20.
There was another smart question:
Do we stop
And a nice rant from "Johnny Quest":
Is this a war or maybe a crusade
It's hard to discern watching a Rumsfeld tirade
Terrorism or oil, I'm left uncertain,
Maybe the source of my consternation is Bush's 'black curtain'
Perhaps Powell will write a tell-all book,
And 51 percent of America will really get a look.
If 'Pottery Barn' rules really do apply,
Will it be 5, 10, 15 years before the 'coalition of the willing' can finally fly.