Terminal Lance #180 “The Terp”
February 24, 2012
Terps can be some shady motherfuckers. For those of you that don’t know what a “terp” is, it’s short for “interpreter”. These are the guys that go out on patrol and translate the language of the locals so that we can better communicate with them. Many terps do a great job, providing honest translation and are very helpful. Others are questionable, often times you’ll find the terp screaming at people for no apparent reason; and we’re left wondering whether it’s just a cultural thing we don’t get or if he really says what he’s supposed to say.
During my first deployment to Iraq, our terp was called “Frank”. He was a funny guy, but I heard he turned out to be a Jordanian spy or some such and we lost him. Terps are usually great to have around. I recall Frank often running into the market while we were on patrol and picking up a bunch of bread and drinks for us. I remember biting into the freshly baked bread, months into our deployment, and thinking to myself that this was the best bread I had ever eaten. It may or may not have been, but it was the first time I tasted something so delicious in what felt like a very long time.
Aside from his market antics, Frank was always a lot of fun to talk to. I remember my section leader and some of the other senior Marines at the time would always give him shit back and forth. It became an entertaining game before every mission listening to them converse. Probably my favorite bit of dialog was:
“Hey Frank, what were the first English words you ever learned?”
“My first words? My first English words were FUCK YOU.”
In other news, it looks like I probably won’t make it to ImageCon. If I do go, I won’t have a booth and may just attend for the fun of it. Keep up with my Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook fan page for updates if I do attend. The whole week of pneumonia really set me back on my work of every level, so I’m finding myself struggling to catch up this weekend. I will, however, let you all know if I end up dropping by ImageCon.