The horrors of war are endless. That is why they are numbed. Because they are endless. Because they go on and on. In the beginning, it's fresh and murderous and painful. After a while, it becomes unbearable. And then... Well, as soon as you get relief, it starts to fade. It begins to go away. As soon as you can hide for the first time, the effect softens and there's this bond created between you and your fellow men. You become indebted to one another for life. For everything. For God and country. For yourselves.
It's like... water. One minute terrifying, the next simply around you, surrounding you, almost drowning you, but you're okay. You're alive. Your father's there to take your hand. War is like that. It's like watching your own writhing on the ground in agony. And then someone takes your hand and it's all better. Oh sure, you'll spike now and again, but that will be the end of it.
You start laughing and making jokes and acting all air headed. Suddenly, everything's funny. And then others from the outside world come in and they don't understand. They criticise you even. They drug you and restrain you and call you crazy. They lock you up in some asylum. That's war for you. And that asylum? It is war. They lock you up on the frontlines. With the guns and the bombs and the tanks and the fighter planes overhead. Always worried someone's going to sweep down and get you. Always worried someone's going to bust in and grab you. Always worried someone that isn't on your team is going to come for you.
Who said that a MASH unit wasn't the front lines? Who said that you were truly safe? You always think you are, and then there's this rush of fresh blood, this rush of fresh injured. All the doctors start flying around, trying to save people, and the reporters come in and they film everything and send it all home and it never accurately reflects what's going on. It never really shows what hell is like.
The fear, the pain, the anguish. And, most of all, the numbness afterwards. The part you remember. The part that stands out in the fog of memory. Once upon a time, your comrades were like a blur, merely around you like the branch of a story, and then after it's all said and done, they return like leaves on the same tree. And you're okay again. And you all love each other again. And there's no loneliness any more. It's over. You're no longer afraid and hate everything that moves any more. You're happy and the world is wonderful and the smell of things is sweet again.
Your father isn't lying there on the ground any more. Your brother isn't in the corner bleeding to death. Your cousin isn't holding on for dear life. Your uncle over there isn't trying to escape. Everyone's together again, and they're laughing and they're playing and they're drinking and they're partying. You're all together again. Life is great. Life is fine.
What is a drug? A drug is everything that makes you smile. They provide you with smiles and you give them doctors, doctors to work on the sick, doctors to make the world go round. They give you glee and you give them damn good care, life saving care, you give them masters of medicine, men in white coats, leaders in science and healing. You bring the boys back, all the little boys that men become when we suffer. All crying for our mothers and fathers and begging for mercy. Even doctors beg. Not just the soldiers. And the doctors don't just beg for the soldiers. They beg for themselves. Even we cry and scream and suffer. Even we regress.
We bring the life back, the fight back, the warriors back. We bring the desire to battle back into the minds of the masses, the crave to win back into the cast of necessity, the blood back into the flow of war. We are the champions of survival, the ones that make it possible to keep going, to return to the mess. We are the doctors. We are the medicine men of the tribe.
There's no one like us. There's no one that can keep the cogs greased and the guns firing and the screaming at its peak, and there's no one that can keep the sky blue and the clouds white and the birds in flight. There's no one that can sing like us, dance like us, make poetry like us, wish like us, dream like us, feel like us. There's no one that can live like us.
We are the doctors. We are the MASH 4077.
And the men will keep coming in, and the reporters will keep getting it wrong, and, don't worry, we'll keep drinking and looking bad and every once in a while, someone will die and we'll get blamed for it. Don't worry, nothing will stop the world from laughing at us when it's really the fault of the world. Don't worry, we'll be on TV, and there will be clips of us from every angle, and there will be some weird interview that doesn't make any sense and is totally out of context and, don't worry, someone will bend it completely to their will.
Because we are the MASH 4077. And this is our tribe. This is our little village. This is our asylum.
Life will go on in the outside world way out there where none of us are recognizable any more, and the men and women live in relative peace. The chickens will dance in our place, and the cats will yowl at the moon while we yowl in the pubs. The hospitals of civilization will praise their sanity and the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals in the land of Korea will sing some drunken song instead, but, don't worry, it'll still be praise.
Because we are the doctors. And this is our tribe. This is the MASH 4077. This is our village.