Dear Man's Thoughts During A Moment Of Silence For Our Troops,

It's summertime and you know what that means: Mosquitoes are back! They keep me up all night buzzing in my ears, and in the morning I'm covered in bites. If I kill one, it seems like two more pop up! Bug spray doesn't seem to work, and neither do those scented candles. Is there some other way to get rid of them, or am I doomed to a summer of torment?

—Itchy in Ithaca

Dear Itchy,

Okay, moment of silence for our troops. Get serious. Be somber. This is war and death we're talking about here. Closing my eyes, bowing my head. Dear God, I know how lucky I am to be here in America while my countrymen are in the Middle East fighting for my freedom. I can't imagine doing what they do every day, and I am so thankful for their sacrifice. Amen. So. Huh, I guess this is going on a bit longer. Um, there are definitely things I take for granted, and what the troops are going through brings perspective to some of the more trivial—it's colder out here than I expected. Is it drizzling? Like a light drizzle? I knew I shouldn't have left my jacket in the car. I've had that jacket for a long time. Since 2003? No, 2002. Wow. Eight years.

Dear Man's Thoughts During A Moment Of Silence For Our Troops,

Lately I've been thinking about building a covered porch on my back patio and maybe even furnishing it with a nice new wicker set. I figure I'd get more use out of the space that way, plus increase the value of my home. The only problem (as usual) is the money. Should I splurge now and enjoy the fresh air in my backyard, or save up for a rainy day?

—Remodeling in Raleigh

Dear Remodeling,

Come on, Dave, focus. This is the troops we're talking about. If anyone deserves 30 seconds of your undivided attention, it's the troops. All right. Here we go. Traffic is going to be awful leaving the stadium. It's always backed up on Friday nights anyway, and with all these people leaving at the same time, it's going to be hell. War is hell. Did he say a moment of silence or a minute of silence? Pretty sure he said a moment. I wonder what people would do if someone just shouted something at the top of their lungs right now. Anyone could do that. I could do that. But the fact that the troops are over there getting shot at and blown up for my freedom is paper towels. We are out of paper towels. And soap. And Muenster cheese for the Triscuits. Triscuits are better than Wheat Thins, I think. That Bill guy at work doesn't think so but—shit—I forgot the Miller file at the office. People losing their arms and legs and blood squirting. Hot dog and a beer would be nice about now. Bison burgers are weird. They sound good and juicy, but ultimately they're just weird. I don't think I'll ever order a bison burger.

Dear Man's Thoughts During A Moment Of Silence For Our Troops,

The pool opens next week, and I'm worried about my son using the diving board. He really wants to, but I can't stop thinking about him hurting himself. My husband says he'll be just fine, but I'm still not sure. Am I being a cautious parent or an overprotective mom?

—Concerned in Concord

Dear Concerned,

No, first period was English, with Mrs. Pletcher. Then second period was earth science, then chorus. But what was fourth period? History? No, now I'm confusing eighth grade with high school, when I had Mr. Ritenour, with the bad breath. Ugh, that guy was such a fucking—God, the troops. Though if I'm honest with myself, I don't think I actually believe in God. Wouldn't tell my parents that, but it's true. Man, this guy next to me is really into this moment of silence. His eyes are closed, he's nodding and everything. Maybe he knows someone who died over there. Some IED dead guy or something. And then there's me, Big Asshole Dave. Can't-Take-Two-Goddamn-Seconds-to-Think-About-the-War Dave. Best-Crab-Soccer-Player-in-Sixth-Grade Dave.

Dear Man's Thoughts During A Moment Of Silence For Our Troops,

Thank you so much for what you said last week to Listless in Louisiana. It was excellent advice. My husband, Tom, especially liked it. (Of course, he would!) Just wondering, though, what if you were on a budget of $350 a month?

—Scrimping in Scranton

Dear Scrimping,

Civil War was a horrible war. Ton of blood and guts there. Probably have an ancestor who fought in it. Big sideburns. Triscuits. Mr. Ritenour. Vietnam. Now that was a war. Goooooood morning, Vietnam! Lot of good Vietnam movies: Apocalypse Now, Deer Hunter, Jaws wasn't one but I love that movie. Full Metal Jacket, Thin Red Line—different war, but still cool—Platoon. Tom Berenger. Major League. Major League II. Sports movies. Any Given Sunday. Oliver Stone. Major League III: Back To The Minors. Wall Street. Charlie Sheen. Denise Richards. Starship Troopers. Troops! There were go. Think about the troops. Mariel Hemmingway, whatever happened to her?

Confidential to Waiting in Wyoming,

…six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, better stay up late. Nine, 10, never sleep a…Jesus Christ, people are dying in Afghanistan, and this is all you can think about? And former U.S. representative John Murtha. And asthma. Really wheezy asthma. Don't know anyone with asthma. I'm an immature prick. An ungrateful, unappreciative piece of dog shit. Look, troops, even if I can't keep my mind on it for more than 20 seconds, from the bottom of my heart, I sincerely appreciate everything you do for this country. Really, I do. Fried Green Tomatoes.

Dave Spalding is a syndicated advice columnist whose weekly column, Ask A Man's Thoughts During A Moment Of Silence For Our Troops, appears in more than 250 newspapers nationwide.