Monday, January 09, 2006

"Fatigue Makes Cowards of Us All"

I've heard that quote attributed to Vince Lombardi and General George Patton. It's hard to imagine Patton ever admitting a moment of cowardice, but maybe his ego slipped for a minute.

Sleep deprivation is a big part of mind control methods. The exhaustion of near starvation and constant deprivation may be what allowed people to walk meekly by the millions into the Holocaust gas chambers when they had nothing to lose by fighting.

I'll tell you about my moment of cowardice.

It wasn't sleep fatigue. I just get mean when I go without sleep. It was spiritual and mental, a year of funerals and suicides and families and friends falling apart; doing too much and knowing too much and not allowed to speak. It was a year of bloody empty skull and crack baby and far too many days spent in an office where I couldn't do anything real.

A local guy was going out of business. My wife and I had talked to him a week before and he was pretty distraught over it. On the store's last day we dropped in. People were wandering over the lot (it was a nursery) asking if we worked there. We went into the office. The computer, radio and TV were on. A sign on the counter said, "Leave Money Here. Back at 1pm" It was already 2 pm.

I looked at Kami and said, "He probably hung himself in the back."
She nodded. "We should go look."

My first instinct, my first reaction was this thought of fear and frustration- "No! No! It's somebody else's fuckin turn!" It was just an instant, just a shadow across my face that no one except my wife would have noticed. Out loud I said, "Wait here," and I searched.

No body. He came back later.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, both of them said it, and truth be told, I doubt it was original to Patton. From the appendix to Patton's "War As I Knew It", 1947, page 402:


High physical condition is vital to victory. There are more tired corps and division commanders than there are tired corps and divisions. Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Men in condition do not tire.




Two years after Patton's book came out, Vince Lombardi took a job as assistant football coach at US Military Academy at West Point, and at USMA, the administration still posts signs that say things like "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." Lombardi became coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1959, and he used the phrase so frequently during his speeches to players that the phrase soon became more closely associated with Packer football than the US Army.