Muzzle Your Mouse, Doc; Corpsman’s Life After ‘Nam

“Muzzle Your Mouse” is our Vietnam Medic Terrence Plank’s blog in which he fully expresses his creative bent. I can’t imagine anyone in the Vietnam War, especially a young corpsman who was deployed during the Tet Offensive, coming out of such a holocaust unscathed. Thrown from bloodless training into bloody hell for a seeming eternity, must inevitably shatter defenses and wound the man within. Even when his own story was posted here, the veteran Army medic could not watch the corpsman training film I added. In classic understatement, he said:

“Our training at Ft. Sam Houston, TX, was bloodless, which made our first experience with blood and bone and screaming kids pretty rough to handle.” — Terrence Plank

This is life after Vietnam for the battered and seasoned veteran in his own words:

Terrence Plank

“They Called Me Doc” is the title of the book that I am trying
to compile for my family. It will be my legacy . . . My stories are also in the Library of Congress through the Veterans History Project along with a 30-minute interview at the Santa Cruz Main Library. You may want to mention this program to your readers or friends so that other veterans can have their experiences recorded in our American history.

My blog “Muzzle Your Mouse” contains my lighter stories. Where did I get the title? When I first got a computer I kept locking it up with too many open web sites. My son got frustrated with me and told me to “rein” in my mouse. Well I couldn’t picture reins on a “mouthless” computer mouse, but I could picture a muzzle.

The Rest of the Story:

I was discharged from the Army in October of 1968 but returned
in 1969 to be posted to the Radar Army Medical Clinic, Ft. Myer, VA.
The Arlington Cemetery was our backyard. I served as Night NCOIC
(non-commissioned officer in charge) for eight months and then orders came assigning me to the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, NC.

I was granted an early out to attend Arizona State University in 1973
but did not graduate. My wife at the time was from Santa Clara, CA, so that is how I wound up living in California.

My last position was as resident manager for an Independent Senior
Retirement Community working for Holiday Retirement Corporation.

I have 7 wonderful grandchildren but I am a widower now just
enjoying my golf and the ocean breezes in Santa Cruz, CA.


— Terrence Plank and his niece, Sarah Marotti. Sarah lives with his father who is 93, and his younger sister. They live in Spokane, WA where the future corpsman grew up. —

When my wife and I worked in independent retirement facilities we quickly noticed that 75 to 80% of our residents were widowed women. And since it is a fact that men die sooner than women, I think I know the reason.


Think about it. Ever since John Clapper invented the flush commode there has been a battle between the sexes about the damn toilet seat. Heaven forbid the guy forgets to put the seat down and in the middle of the night the wife gets a butt bath. His next day and many days hence are not going to be pleasant for him I can assure you. I speak from experience as you can tell.

Now, really, how ridiculous is this whole argument about whether or not the toilet seat is up or down. Why can’t women learn this life saving procedure of putting the seat down themselves. It worries me (sorta) that women put themselves in danger by not looking to see if the seat is up or down when they hurry into the bathroom, plop down and play waterfall. Heck, don’t they ever worry that there might be a great big, hairy, fangy spider sitting on the edge of the commode just waiting for her?

OK, you’re scratching your head wondering how the heck putting the seat up and down all of the time shortens your guys’ life. Well, think about it. As a young guy he probably raises the seat and puts it down five or six times a day with mom’s constant urging and training. Then let’s say he has a live in girlfriend prior to marriage so now he’s putting the seat up and down eight to ten times a day.

During all the years of marriage with a wife and maybe a daughter or two he’s constantly putting the seat up and down like it’s a piston or something. And if he forgets, god forbid, he has to face the wrath of all the ladies of the house.

As a man ages there comes a time in his life that he’s using the bathroom more often and now the seat-putting-up-and-down chore doubles to eighteen to twenty times a day. Sheesh, no wonder his back gives out not to mention the strain on his heart.

Reminds me of a story I heard about the wife who took her aging husband to the doctor and after the exam the doctor asks to talk to the wife. She goes into his office and sits down. “Now, Mrs. Jones, your husband’s health is not as good as it could be. I have prepared a list of things that you can do to help improve and extend his life and if you follow these suggestions I’m sure Mr. Jones will be doing fine when I see him again in six months.

She takes the list and reads it.

1. He must have three nutritious well balanced meals a day.
2. You must walk with him a minimum of 20 minutes three times a day.
3. He should have sex anytime he wants when he’s able.
4. Help him with his chores so that he doesn’t tire easily.
5. Be sure that the medications I have prescribed are given exactly as the directions indicate.
6. Let’s not worry about the toilet seat at this stage. As you should know the up and down action that men have to go through their whole lives has caused a deterioration of the lumbar spine. It’s a medical fact that this shortens men’s life expectancy and we don’t want that at this stage in your husbands life. As a matter of fact, you might have noticed how red in the face he gets with this little chore and that could mean an elevation in his blood pressure, not to mention an increase in inter-cranial pressure, and this could lead to a stroke or a heart attack.
7. Make an appointment six months from today before you leave the office.

She looks up at the doctor but doesn’t say anything. “So, any questions?” the doctor asks. She looks down at the list and then back up at the doctor and responds, “No, I don’t think so. It’s pretty well decided.”

“Very good,” says the doctor and escorts the lady to the waiting room and bids the couple farewell.

In the car on the way home hubby says, “Well, honey, what did the doctor say?”

Without a moments hesitation the wife says, “You’re going to die.”

Now that’s cold! That’s colder than a copper toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg, if you ask me. I’m sure there were a number contributing factors to the wife’s reaction but I betchya that the clincher was the toilet seat. She’s not going to ever lose this battle no matter the consequences.

I’m convinced that this life long repetitive action and constant stress and emotional pressure on a man shortens his life span. So, if you are a gentleman reading this post you might want to think about how to save yourself. And no, taking the toilet seat off is not the way to go! Already thought of that and that could be certain death no matter what your age.

Now the ladies reading this post shouldn’t be too upset. I am so well trained that the toilet seat is still going up and down even though I live alone.


You may enjoy more of this veteran’s stories on his blog, “Muzzle Your Mouse”.at



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