Soon: Chapter 2: Kids and the Funeral

Paul’s last question to his buddies, before the funeral begins, is:

And he [The Dork Too Stupid] had kids too, right?”

They nodded.

So his Army buddies have greater knowledge of The Dork Too Stupid than Paul.  The Dork was Paul’s mentor, Paul loved him, he was “like a father” to Paul…and Paul wasn’t sure if he had kids.  What a guy, that Paul.

The funeral starts with an elderly man in full dress blues “call[ing] the service to order.”  Um, is that really how that should be put?  “Calling the service to order”?  Makes the funeral sound like a kindergarten class.

Anyway, the elderly man starts by basically reciting The Dork’s resume.  I’m not kidding, he just lists The Dork’s military accomplishments…

…He later joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps…

…graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point…

…excelled as a second lieutenant…

…reached the level of command sergeant major…

I’m trying to think of a colder and more clinical way to tell the story of a man’s life at his funeral…

Then they all sing “America the Beautiful.”  The evil atheists have, of course, changed the lyrics, so that “God shed his grace on thee,” has become “We pledge ourselves to thee.”  I’m not seeing this as anything horrific, but then, I am an evil atheist.

Andrew Pass’s “beautiful” daughter, Angela, delivers the eulogy.  We need to know she’s beautiful because, as evidenced by the Left Behind series, that is all that matters in a woman.

Of course, a daughter will no doubt be able to provide us with deep and heartbreaking glimpses into the life and mind of this man, struck down before his time…

Did you find him tough and demanding?  We did too.  Did you ever find him unfair or harsh?  Neither did we.  Did he challenge you to look within and yet beyond yourself for resources you never knew you had?

Wow, it’s like I really knew him!  It’s so great that Angela gave the eulogy, so that we could hear the sad and funny and loving stories of a family member…

Honestly, could she have been more generic?  And what’s with the fluffy, psycho-babbly “look within and yet beyond yourself”?

Her whole eulogy is three short paragraphs, and in the third one, she mentions that The Dork “was a man of deep, deep belief and conviction, and it was borne out in his life.”  Paul’s ears perk up at the mention of “belief,” since he is on the lookout for any indication that Andy was indeed an underground believer.  However, the line is so generic and useless as a descriptor that Paul is forced to admit that it could merely “be taken more than one way.”

Paranoid ass Paul is sure that someone at the funeral is “the snake who had bitten Andy“…forcing him to succomb to “the lure of make-believe.”

It’s good that Jenkins makes sure to use several different dog-whistles per chapter.

Then they basically have an open forum where anyone can speak about The Dork Too Stupid. 

A line was forming to the left of the podium.  Paul felt the eyes of his army buddies on him.  I was Andy’s favorite.

[Emphasis Jenkins’.]

Wow, Paul just can’t get over himself even for a second, even at someone else’s funeral, can he?

I just want to dissect Paul’s speech line by line:

“The two years I served and trained under Major Andrew Pass remain the most pivotal of my life.”

Even above your marriage and the births of your children.  You’re a gem, Paul.

“Andy Pass represented everything the army had to offer, and he was the one we had to impress to remain among the select.”

Why am I not surprised that for Paul, it all comes down to “who I had to impress”?

“But beneath his drill-sergeant style was a kernal of humanity that I, for one, never detected in other superior officers.”

Nice that Paul is using a man’s funeral as an opportunity to take a swipe at people.  

“When he recognized that I not only obeyed but also enjoyed every torturous task he dished out…”

So, Paul’s into torture.  Color me shocked.

“…he rewarded me–as he did so many others–with respect and friendship.”

“Why, we were such good friends that I haven’t spoken to him in almost a decade, and I sorta almost remembered that he might possibly have children!” 

“I just want to say that he changed my life.  He made me want to excel and to treat others the way he treated me.”

“Therefore, I honor Andy’s memory by torturing my wife every chance I get by serially cheating on her and treating her like dirt.  Hey, it’s what Andy would have wanted me to do!” 

Oh, and speaking of the serial cheating, just wait until Paul gets to meet Angela face to face. 

Next time.

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Posted on January 8, 2011, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. You know. Reading Fred Clark’s analysis of Left Behind, I thought Tim LaHaye knew a thing or two about making a completely unappealing protagonist. I’m now thinking that he’s been holding Jenkins back from the heights of vileness he was truly capable of.

  2. Ergh… Jesus… where to start?
    Ok, any asshole in the Army who STILL acts like a Drill Sergeant if he isn’t at basic is considered an asshole who needs to calm the hell down.
    No seriously, it’s NOT considered a good thing.
    Soldiers do NOT respond well to people who micro-manage their lives… the fact that captain Dakota Smith here LOVES it says one of two things.
    1. He’s a closet Masochist who LOVED being beaten down by Major McHardass.
    2. Jenkins has NEVER been in the military, known anyone IN the military, or even drove past a military base at high speed.

  3. …excelled as a second lieutenant…

    …reached the level of command sergeant major…

    Uh…maybe this is just my Canadian background showing, but isn’t Sergeant Major a non-commissioned rank? How do you go from being a junior commissioned officer to being a VERY senior NCO?

    • Uh, you don’t. Once again… Jenkins Has obviously NEVER done research on the subject.

    • Redwood Rhiadra

      Hmm – busted back to private (losing his commission) for a *serious* infraction, followed by slowly working his way back up, but not earning a commission again?

      I have no clue if that’s actually possible, and if so, it’s almost certainly not something to boast about.

      • It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but wasn’t that the story behind the abusive Sgt in the movie Beau Geste? He was a Lt who got his entire platoon killed, got busted down to Private (since the foreign legion isn’t in the habit of letting people go) then clawed his way up to Sgt and has been taking his bitterness out on everyone else ever since. I think I remember, on his first day with the recruits at the start of the movie, he received an anonymous death threat from one of the men…
        ….I got to track that movie down again!

        • Well, even if it’s the “Busted Commissioned Officer” story, it would be a HELL of a lot more interesting that what Jenkins is selling us. Seriously, I would READ a story about an officer who screwed up so badly that he was busted down to private but refused to give up because he loved the service and his country SO much…
          I am more of the opinion that Jenkins just fucked up his research, period.

          • Which is particularly odd, since he and LaHaye have such a hankering to have their heroes have a military background (though they are much less often actually in the military during story-time). Let’s see, Rayford Steele was Air Force ROTC, Michael Murphy was in the Army, and Joshua Jordan was in the Air Force. Now Paul Stepola is an Army vet, just like Murphy.

      • I suppose it’s *possible*; but my grandfather, who was a LIeutenant Colonel in the Office of the Inspector General just before he retired, said that it was extremely difficult for any officer who had been demoted to enlisted status (usually for drinking/fraternization/gambling with enlisteds) to go much further than Staff Sergeant even during wartime. (He actually rolled his eyes one time when we were watching “Kelly’s Heroes” together and saw that Kelly was a Master Sergeant — of course, he rolled his eyes through most of the movie considering all the historical and factual liberties that were taken by it…)

        I think that we can safely say that this is something between a Dan Browned* and a Critical Research Failure* on Jenkins’ part.

        *Check out the TV Tropes entries, but be warned: TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life!

    • Yes, that leaped out at me, too.

      Moreover he was an Academy grad. The loss of prestige alone from loosing your commission could be (figuratively) lethal. This is serious Research Fail on Jenkin’s part.

  4. Redwood Rhiadra

    And for my own observation, I’ll just add that the line about a “snake” causing the Dork to “succumb to the lure” sounds like an awfully… *Christian* metaphor for a stand-up atheist like Paul to use.

  5. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure they were kids. Small squeaky things, happened around knee-height. Unless maybe they were dogs of some sort?”

    I think Jenkins may be confusing Major with Sergeant-Major. Wow.

  6. Oh, ick. Even at the guy’s funeral Paul has to make it all about him and how his dead ‘friend’ thought he was awesome.

  7. “When he recognized that I not only obeyed but also enjoyed every torturous task he dished out…”

    Obligatory Brain-Candy reference:

  8. Oh, and speaking of the serial cheating, just wait until Paul gets to meet Angela face to face.

    Oh gods, please say it isn’t so! That’s just… AUGH. The squick is strong in this one.

    Honestly, I really thought the simpering hero-worship of Paula over Mike Murphy was over the top, but compared to this that was actually halfway charming in a stupid bad-writer self-insert student-crush-on-teacher rated-G sort of way. (Albeit still a little squickful.)

    Paul Stepola setting ‘the panther’ on the 17 year old daughter of his deceased Army NCO? warglblargleEW. What is it with these two guys who just spawn awful, stomach-turning situations like this? A part of me is trying to desperately rationalize this by thinking that Jenkins is purposely upping the squick-factor in some misguided way to one-up LaHaye, and to try to make a ‘more adult’ version of LB. Augh.

  9. Hello, I’m a lurker at Slacktivist and I found this blog through it, I enjoyed very much the finished reviews on this site and am enjoying the review of Soon. However I have a question that’s a bit OOC – I’ve also been reading the Edge of Apocalypse blog and have been enjoying the coverage of the screwed-up family dynamics in that book, and from my reading of the comments on this site it seems that a lot of the readers are familiar with that blog as well, so I thought I’d ask if anyone knows when the sequel to Edge of Apocalypse will come out? The book is being billed as the first in a series but I haven’t been able to find anything about a sequel, and I wanted to see if anyone on that blog knew anything but there doesn’t seem to have been much activity since mid-December there. I apologize that my question doesn’t have much to do with this blog.

  10. Sorry for the thread necromancy, but on the main page for Soon, the link to this entry mistakenly goes to the next one instead (Chapter 2: Paul and Angela). Just thought you should know!

  11. @ ^ bentonsancho : Wow! I’m not the only new reader & fan here then. I was going to say the exact same thing and seems its now fixed. Cool. 😉

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