The first time I ever heard the term "FUBAR" was at the movies.

It was 1998, the summer of Saving Private Ryan. A WWII epic that is (in my opinion) the best modern traditional warfare movie of our time.
We got there early still the theatre was packed. As soon as the previews were over all became perfectly still, no noise whatsoever. As if the crunching of buttery popcorn during the hallowed presentation was a cardinal sin among patriots. Ditto for looking away, although I did try. My eyes weren’t dry from the first few frames on.
The initial battlefield sequence intimately studies a wounded soldier stumbling over the blood-soaked, death-covered beach looking for his detached arm. That very brief interval had a profound effect on me. Because despite the bombs from above, the granades from behind the dunes, and bullets slicing through his soft body, a part of him was missing, and he didn’t want to leave it behind with the enemy.
Saving Private Ryan was effective in presenting the carnage of war, the fear, the smells, and the sounds of human pain. That film forced me to take responsibility for the price of my freedom, acknowledging those who died and exactly what they endured on my behalf.
A few weeks ago I noticed an elderly man sitting at a bench by the checkout in our local grocery store. He was waiting on a prescription. Well kept, clean shaven, pressed shirt neatly tucked into spotless khakis. He sat quietly, holding his cane, patiently awaiting his meds.
It was my turn at the register. The cheerful cashier, a familiar young gal, was making small talk when I noticed the gentleman sitting across from me. He wore a black baseball cap with "World War II Vet" embroidered over a familiar coat of arms.
I smiled. "Were you in the 82nd?" I asked respectfully.
He smiled back. "Yes, the 505th. Normandy." He shared pridefully.
"Thank you" I replied. He began to nod his head and take a deep breath as if memories were flooding his mind. I continued, "I went there a few years back. I saw the Airborne Museum and the paratrooper. He’s still hanging from that tower on the church in St. Mere Eglise…"
"Really?" He seemed surprised that it hadn’t been taken down.
"They haven’t forgotten." I disclosed. "They remember what you did."
The older gentleman choked back tears. I continued to smile, hoping what I said didn’t upset him too much. I just wanted him to know that his sacrifice still matters. A smile returned to his face. A forced one, but he was a strong man even in his infirmity. We exchanged goodbyes as I pushed my cart away.
Saving Private Ryan was his story, too. The film put faces on the great names and numbers of our dead, our wounded and our survivors. Cinematography that begged Americans to glorify not the war, but the boots on the ground.
The film word usage was authentically military…an entirely different language made of acronyms and various hybrids of common four letter words. But the one word that probably stuck with civilian movie goers the most was the term "FUBAR". People like my mom (God bless her) who saw Saving Private Ryan became rather attached to the word, using it often, without knowing it’s origins or meaning.
Six months or so later, my mom was telling me that she said FUBAR at church during a leadership meeting. Apparently, the elders dropped their jaws, as if she said something offensive. Poor Mom. I explained that FUBAR is an acronym, not an actual word. She nearly died right there.
Anyhow…the term FUBAR is funny. And this holiday season, the fine folks at Stanley Tools decided to launch a product for fellas (and gals?) who can appreciate the term. Folks who use their hands.
"FuBar" is a "Functional Utility Bar" in the products description and can be used for anything from opening a fire hydrant (it’s a popular tool among firemen) to demolition projects. It comes in two lengths, 18" and 30" and makes a perfect holiday gift. It doesn’t matter how many tools you already have. If you like to break things, you need this.
Mine just arrived from Amazon.com, where it was half off and I had an additional coupon good through December 22nd. It was on the hubby’s Christmas list…probably just because it’s called FuBar.
I’ll also be ordering one for my mother to commemorate her SNAFU at church.
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